Saturday, July 31, 2021

writing enough

Most of July I have not been writing new work and mostly been tending to DARK COUNTRY editing and promo business during the mornings over breakfast and whatever other odd things I don't have time to get to on my weekly writing day. The spells project is about half done, but I was waffling over the direction it was going, so tabled it for the month and will get back to it in August. I was not always someone who wrote daily, but now when I don't do it, I get itchy and feel unproductive--esp with so many things hatching in my head in regard to projects, unfinished or unstarted. 

Today I woke up pretty late and thought about writing, but then thought about some household projects--caulking the shower, cleaning the fridge--Saturday sort of things that were better uses of my time, but then felt guilty that the best use of my time should be writing--what I feel most passionate about.  So much gets in the way--day jobs, the press doings, commutes, laundry, dishes, and yet these things need to be done lest everything fall apart. 

I was mopping the floor (which kind of has to be done weekly to stem living with so many cats and their floofiness) and caught sight of my book shelf--arranged the other day to make room for the copies of DARK COUNTRY that will be dropping in the next couple of weeks. ) Sometimes, I am flabbergasted that I have, in the span of the past 20 years, written enough poems to fill the pages of all these books.  Despite day jobs, commutes, dishes. Despite the sort of things that take you away from writing or make it hard. I feel like it's balance. (and I can't even imagine what it's like to live with other people or raise children, even just keeping them fed and entertained, which also impede on that time.)

True, I don't have much of a social then again, none of us do during Covid.)  I save time where I can (getting groceries delivered to save trips and energy. Much takeout, microwave meals, and big salads to stave off cooking. Not running errands unless I have to. I see my boyfriend maybe once a week (he too has a couple different jobs and acting/film related things happening.) I have had larger and smaller groups of friends--writing or library folks, , but during the pandemic, most of us have retreated into our cocoons and wave to each other once in a while. I see my best friend at work mostly.  My family is a couple hours away, so I see them infrequently.  My downtime is mostly me watching movies in my apartment--those rare moments when I'm not working-- and I treasure it immensely. 

I think as writers, or maybe all artists, we feel like we should be doing more--especially if our time and attentions are pulled in so many dizzying directions. The more directions, the more helpless we feel.  But really, even one poem a year is enough and so much more than most people--non artists--will ever write.  Even if it never gets published. Even if we never share it.  I think as Americans we think in terms of excess, always. Quantity or quality. I am no different. I do think in writing more, I get better.  It[s not all great and some gets chaffed and never shown to anyone. The more you write, the more you mine, the more likely you'll find gold. But I need to retrain my brain on what productivity is, what enough is to get me through the moments where I feel lazy and uninspired.  Or worse, inspired, but too busy to put down what you have to do to pay the rent, which feels even more frustrating sometimes. 

1 comment:

WH said...

I have thousands of pages on legal pads with notes for poems, short stories, novels, etc. I feel guilty for not getting to them. Maybe 5% gets written. The more I read and write, the more I seem to lubricate the creative gears in my head. It starts to flow. But on most days I have to drop what I'm doing a dozen times because I need to go to the grocery, pharmacy, bank, and a hundred other places during the year. I need to pay bills and earn the money to do so. The older I get, the more my occupation becomes "living." I used to have a writing regimen. It is now mostly fractured. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Maybe I won't be so hard on myself now.