Get your mojo working: Finding your lost writing


[Feature photo: S. Awan]

I lost my mojo 10 years and 360 days ago. I found it this last weekend by the apricot light of the Honey Moon. Maybe you know how losing your mojo feels. At first — if you are a writer or want to be a writer — you live with a thousand (ten thousand) images and thoughts and words in your mind. You tell yourself that it isn’t that you’re not writing. You’re just getting ready to write. You’ve been getting ready to write for a few months, a year, ten years, damn near a life-time.

After a while, the brilliant flashes of words begin to dim. You find yourself too busy to think about the loss — much less to write. You surround yourself with the demands of other people, of the job that eats your brain, of some hidden memory of being told that no matter what you do, you’re not good enough. You tell yourself that you don’t need lightning, you can live in the gray weather of busyness, in the dead glow of your computer screen.

I didn’t lose my mojo to compulsive busyness nor frantically trying to make other people happy. I lost my mojo to a man I believed was THE lightning strike. By the time we were nearly parted, I hadn’t written a word for three months. I’d made him my world. There was no room left for my mojo. There was no room in my skin for me.

It’s taken a long time for me to step back into my skin. I’ve written during that time, but not in lightning’s ice-white spotlight. I’ve lived during those years, but not danced on the razor blade between the banal and the deadly. On June 13, the Honey Moon — no pun intended — pulled me out into its softer light. I sat on the hood of my car on the Mormon Lake overlook south of Flagstaff. I watched the eastern sky. There was almost complete silence. There were the tiny lights of the few cars moving north on the highway.

The sky darkened. I wanted to go home. I wanted to lose myself in the familiar. I remembered eleven years earlier when I had solo camped, solo road-tripped, climbed trails I wasn’t sure I would be able to descend, chased a desert wash around curve after curve long after there was no more water in my canteen. Sitting on the hood of a car perhaps twenty miles from home felt far more dangerous. Sitting with my mind felt like death.

I sat tight. A night breeze swirled around me. Just above the silhouette of a low mountain, the eastern dark began to go pale pink. I smiled and knew it had been a long long time since I had smiled in just that way. It was the smile of a woman finally coming home. The pink became pale rose-gold. A tiny spark burned at the top of the glow and in a few of my breaths, the top of the Honey Moon cleared the little mountain. I stood and murmured, “Thank you.”

No fierce light razored open the night sky. And my mojo rose up in me. You may know where it came from.

The Honey Moon game: if you have lost your mojo, if you finally cannot bear the emptiness it left behind, if you realize that you didn’t so much lose your mojo as gave it away, go this month to see the rising of the full moon. Go alone.

I’d love to read what you find. You can contact me here. And if you don’t know what mojo is, meet Paul Butterfield, the late and genius Crown Prince of mojo.

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