Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe: About writing... and not writing

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Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe

About writing... and not writing

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Writing poetry is something I love to do. I just keep not doing it. I put a picture on my computer desktop that was supposed to inspire me. To write, I hoped, wonderful poems, but most of all just to write. It’s a photograph of the view from the window of the studio I worked in last spring on a residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. I wrote some poems that I was happy with there, looking out at that view, the pasture stretching beyond an old wire fence, the trees beginning to green faintly and cows just out of sight. I thought I would be transported into creativity whenever I looked at that picture.

Well, it hasn’t worked out that way. I always mean to start working the minute I get to my desk. I make resolutions about how I’m going to do that. Instead, I look past the view on my desktop, check my e-mail and what’s on Poetry Daily, peek at a couple of newspaper and blog headlines and follow some interesting links to wherever they lead. When I emerge from Internet quicksand I find--surprise!--it’s an hour later and I’ve accomplished not one thing. Time suck is such a perfect, if inelegant, description. You can just hear that down-the-drain sound. Shlooop. Time gone. It’s not writer’s block--it’s just not writing.

I have a great quote by poet Jane Hirshfield tacked up above my desk: “If I don’t create the time to write, day after day will just slip by. The poems won’t get written and I won’t have lived the life I most want to live.”

The life I most want to live. That’s exactly the point for me. I suspect the world is not holding its breath waiting for my poems. But writing them is how I most want to live my life. So why don’t I get to it? Why don’t I do what I most want to do, what I feel exhilarated having done? What holds me back? And, since I’m guessing I’m not alone here, what holds you back? Besides reading this blog, which I’m glad you’re doing. A question to think about.

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Anonymous JJ said...

I look forward to reading your poetry as an inspiration for my own writing. Please keep on writing your poems and publishing them. Meanwhile the blog keeps us all going

April 10, 2009 at 1:09 PM  

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