Books, Encouragement, Health, Wisdom, Writing

Is Your Well Dry?

Dry Bucket-Marco Vacca
Dry Bucket-Marco Vacca

Feeling a little dry today?

Burnt out, used up?

I am. It’s been a full week.

Maybe you feel like this, too.

This morning I woke up too early, barely four o’clock. I fumbled for a book from the eight on my nightstand. I didn’t particularly care which one, I just wanted to fall asleep again.

My fingers chose Julia Cameron’s book “The Right Way to Write.” I hadn’t read this book for a few days. I had used the book cover as a marker, so I opened it to the last place I had read.

The title of the chapter was “The Well.”

“As writers (insert your word choice: mom, dad, student…)we draw on an inner fund of images that I call ‘the well’…an inner pond, one that must be kept both stocked and free flowing. We have simply overfished our inner reservoir…”


“YES,” I blurted out, there in my bed, and waited for a second wondering if I had awakened my son in the next bedroom.

“Yes, I’ve overfished,” my words now in a murmur.

There is no more fish, and the water has evaporated much like that in my beautiful terracotta fountain in the patio, neglected during this cold season.

Imagine your mind, body or soul emptied. Not a healthy picture.

To restock the pond, Cameron suggests an “Artist Date.” You can name it a “Mom Date, Me Date, Dad Date,” but whatever you call it, it’s for you alone. It’s a once a week date for one hour. Your AD or MD must be a solitary expedition to some event or place that interests you: a museum, the garden nursery, a movie, etc.

Go alone, that’s the deal.

You are to romance, flirt, court, woo your creative consciousness. Allow yourself to soak up the images, aromas, colors, textures, sounds. This is self-care, nothing to feel guilty about.

You don’t have to document anything on paper. Just BE THERE. 

You are there to fill up your well, not fish from it.

Makes sense to me. I fell back asleep for 90 minutes.

In the early morning I peeked into my backyard filled with shadows of slate grey sky and flicked on the patio light. The wet flagstone surrounding my triple fountain brightened up.

After an hour, with hot coffee in a gloved hand, bundled in a bathrobe with my tennis shoes on I visited my fountain. Rainwater filled the smaller bowls up with some in the largest bowl.

I hit the switch, sat down and listened to the water move up the center, over the top spout, trickle to the mid bowl, spill into the last. I sat for half hour, just listening to my well filling up. The air chilly, but it was worth it to be out there. (I’ll go back for another half hour later on today).

Right now I’m reflecting on the sound and image of one of those old-fashioned wooden waterwheels, its baskets dipping into a slow running river, scooping up water on a bright blue skied day. When the basket moves to the top it sprays cool water over me. My dry skin turns moist. My emptiness fills. I feel replenished. So much so that I’m now a mermaid.

Mermaid-Maria Bell
Mermaid-Maria Bell

Now go find some place to fill up your well and have a delightful weekend.