Sunday, February 25, 2018

on mini-retreats & revisiting older work

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Today. I am doomed to the library and working on some press business and maybe some artwork preparations.   In recent years,  I've gotten super proprietary over Sat/Sun time and outside commitments. I'll do occasional readings or social engagements if I must, but I like keeping them free (unless I'm required to be at work--my department switches off weekend shifts among the 5 of us.)  The re-set part is important, being free to sleep in, to stay up as late as I desire, catch up on some apartment projects, or just completely tune out.  But also the creative time it allows space--space for painting, or writing, or hatching new projects. Weekdays usually have me leaving the house in the late morning, spending a few hours at the studio, then library-bound until 10. By the time I get home after 11, there's not much energy (mental or physical) to really delve in to anything before I go to bed around 2am.

Weekends, however, boast large swathes of time, maybe punctuated by cooking meals or occasional naps, but the rest of it is mine. I'm always a little jealous of writing retreats and drool over facebook posts and blog -ntries when other writers manage to land one.   Given my work schedule, such retreats are not really and  option, and I always wonder how useful they might actually be.  Would I just waste time when I'm given it so freely?  Does it, like when on a vacation, take some time to unwind into the calm of a creative space?  To shed off the outside world and take up residence in the inner? So much of the work I do happens in the in-betweens, the spare second, the tight little sliver of time between this and that.

Also, admittedly, I'm lucky to have the studio in the Fine Arts, and be living in the midst of an amazing colony of artists that I get to go to work in every day, but my work here is usually making books and filling orders and doing layouts, moreso than writing or working on things of my own in my limited time there. So weekends are a luxury I enjoy greatly, even if it's just a one-day deal. Yesterday, for example I got to spend some time checking out some new journals found in my twitter explorations, as well as work on a blurb for another poet's book. I was also able to make notes for a couple of new additions to  a couple projects, write my weekly wrap-up blog entry, and work on some more of the little floral pattern accordian books.

I also re-read the entirety of SALVAGE, some of the poems I hadn't looked at in a long while, and began thinking about what I wanted to read at a reading I am doing mid-March.  While I was at it, I also re-read Kristina Marie Darling's review in The Literary Review and the interview I did with Cynthia Manick around the time the book came out. I sometimes feel like I rarely revisit poems after they are published in book form unless I'm reading them publicly.  And sometimes indeed, after a while, they barely seem like my own--strange little children that go on to have their own lives. I was thinking I should do this more, get are-aquainted with my work sometimes even though I've moved on to other things. It also helps me see where I've been in order to see where I'm going. Plus it's an ego boost when I stumble across a rare moment of writerly

Even though it was only one day, I felt much less ragged and scattered this morning than I did at the end of the week and less frazzled by my mounting to-do list when it comes to writing things.

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