Songwriting

Writing is a Siphon

When Soph’s school closed down, we adopted Kevin, the class fish.  Every week or two he needs his water changed.  This is a job we have a siphon for. Siphons seem magical. Once a siphon starts flowing, it will move the entire liquid contents of a higher container to a lower one.  The issue is to get it going.   

As a kid with a tube and a fish tank that needed a water change, the answer was to suck on the tube like a big straw until the water came out.  Anyone who’s emptied a gas tank of its contents this way admit that is an inelegant process. Soph, who’s wiser than me, bought a siphon with hand pump. Once the water is primed through the siphon it just works. It gets bonus points because it resembles a ray gun.   

Writing is a siphon. When writing, a person moves words and ideas from a higher container, (our subconscious, the muse, the ether), to a lower one, the page. There’s no magic to it, but it seems magical. The contents of the vessel just need to be primed to start flowing.  Once it’s flowing, it keeps going. We’ve all got pretty big writing vessels to draw from.  It’s hard to empty them.  

A siphon only works if the tube stays submerged in liquid it’s moving. Pull the siphon out of the water and it sputters and stops. When I’m in flow and stop to judge what I write, it’s the same as yanking the siphon from the water. To keep the flow going, I have to keep the siphon submerged.

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