6/25/11: time to write

Every day, I wonder if I’m making the best use of the time loaned to me for this life. 

Why do I always start writing with trepidation?

The hardest part is waking, would facing East make it easier?

Why do I think that today, I will have nothing to say?

There are plenty of starting points.

Why do I bump up against the thought that I have no right to write?

Foolishly, I pray every day that I will still have my mind and my fingers when that time comes, as if I could forestall, much less count on, the writing that I hope to do before I die. 

Why do I do it anyway?

It’s hard to say why, hard to stay on task, even now, right now.

Why do I dread losing this time? Oh yeah, because I have to find a job, that’s right. Almost forgot that I need to work.

I am far from young, but I am not quite old. I will likely need to work for another decade before I can “retire”. (Because I need health insurance? For a health care system that I deplore?)

Why can’t I have these last one or two decades to do my own work instead of working for the man?

It is painful to think of each moment of living, the repetitive, necessary acts that must recur: the meals, the sleeping, the dreams, the showers, the driving, the conversations (meaningful and insipid), the phone calls, dressing, creaming the rashes, washing the dishes, pressing the coffee, buying the milk, buttering the toast, turning on the computer, turning off the computer, listening to the radio, swallowing the pills in the morning, the pills in the evening, comforting the sick, reassuring the anxious, the daily-ness that finally is not a life at all but a pantomime of a life. 

Why is there so little support for artists to do the work we are meant to do?

I sometimes ask myself, what happens after we die? But not knowing is perfectly fine.   

Ok, kids, time to write. Don’t think. Just write. That’s right. Now get to it.

There will never be a moment’s peace because there is so much that must be done. The undone is a major source of life’s tension and misery. Uncompleted tasks fall off the list proving that were not really so important. They are immediately replaced with urgent new things that must be done. And so on, until you die. 

And why do I leave the refrigerator door open while I’m cooking?

To save energy.

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4 Responses to 6/25/11: time to write

  1. Holt Maness says:

    I write to leave a trail of word crumbs on the way into the forest hoping that someone will come looking for me when I don’t return.

  2. Joyce G says:

    There are tons of residencies for poets and writers that are in beautiful, supportive environments. For me, trying to write at home brings all my resistance and doubts to the surface and I am easily distracted by routine concerns but when I am in a sanctioned place for writing I seem to be able to connect with the importance of the art.

    • Thank you Joyce. I’m actually going to the Fort Townsend writers conference next month, which I’m very excited about. Right now, my dilemma is the way work gets in the way of writing. I always have a large output of writing when I’m between jobs (as I am now, alas, again), particularly since I live alone and don’t have the other responsibilities that most people (thinking of you in particular) do. I feel that artists are so poorly supported in this country, it’s a shame.

  3. Joyce G says:

    We went to PT Writing Conference 2 years ago and felt very charged by it. I think you will love it too and hopefully the charge will last until your next job and beyond. The week can also feel exhausting because of too much stimulation so pace yourself. Oh, if your next job could only involve writing, eh?

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