The Hammer and the Fall

In creative life, many do not appreciate the time taken between the hammer and the fall. Now I’m going to be all metal and talk about hammers and striking and forging, but the metaphor could just as easily be the time taken between the seed and the flower, and be about soil and water and nurturing, but I like the hammer metaphor better, while recognizing (I hope!) that not everything is indeed a nail.

So with that caveat made, what am I talking about, the hammer and the fall?

The time taken between the having of an idea, and the forging of it into shape.

For some this is short, the hammer falls quickly, repeatedly, and the idea is forged and tempered at speed, the artist in tune with their vision, the art ready to be produced. But for others, for many creative people, the hammer can sit on the ground, seen, waiting, and not picked up – but it is there. You have the idea, but you’re not yet ready to work on it. The reaching for the hammer can take a long time too, that’s when you toy with the idea, think it through, daydream about it, argue with it, whatever your process is: but the hammer is not yet in hand, the idea not yet pinned in place on the anvil, ready to be made into something new.

Even once you have a strong sense of an idea, and the hammer in hand, it may take a long time before you raise the hammer, get it ready to drop – you are waiting for the idea to be ready, or more likely (at least in my case) for you yourself to be ready to express it and then, only then, after potentially years of waiting, are you finally ready to drop the hammer on the idea, to start forging it into the thing you have so long dreamed of.

That is the time taken between the hammer and the fall. Sometimes everything fits and you can strike immediately, in other cases you or the idea or a combination of the two need time to get to a place where you can commit to the act of creation, and are ready to make something new. It cannot be rushed, but also should not be ignored.

And that is why the hammer waits to fall, it waits for the right time, the right moment, the right mode of expression. For magic to be made, the hammer must strike truly, and it is something that waits within us as writers or artists, gathering weight and momentum, life experience and time served, until its moment comes to fall, and strike.

And then it is glorious.

The hammer and the fall. Potential energy and kinetic. Harness both in your writing or art and you are, at that moment, become so much more. It does not matter if the heavens or the masses sing your name, in that moment you are realized. In that moment you are whole, as an artist. In that moment you are real.

And that is glorious.

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