Thursday, January 22, 2009

Unplugged and Unblocked

Quite a few blogs ago I reported on my discovery that I work best in quiet. Now I have to recognize another need: a clear calendar. Once I break the spell, I'm done for the day. Because I have the luxury of scheduling my own time, rather than reporting for duty every day, I should be cheering. Long stretches of time are mine for the taking. But along with that luxury comes our old friend guilt. There is so much to be done in this world, so many other creatures deserving of attention and care that I have to remind myself that my work is my work. Writing poems--so far--is not illegal or immoral, at least mine are not, I think. So why not stay at the desk for hours  and hours? Why put the computer to sleep and close the notebook?

The dog. He wants out, he wants in, he wants to play, he wants to sleep where my feet should be. He barks at pedestrians passing our front door, seriously interrupting the solitude. He's a small dog with a big voice. Right now he's trying to yak up some bit of string or lint that he got tearing apart his toys. At least if he yaks it up I won't have to rush off to the pet hospital with him. He's a darling distraction. But my writus interruptus is not all his fault. Like everyone I know, I need food and clean clothes. Today I need to go buy fish-oil capsules, milk, and baby aspirin. And I want to be responsible about the volunteer jobs I do: teaching, serving on a community council, shoveling horse manure at the rescue league. Sometimes, I just fall short, ditch the jobs and write. Sometimes I ditch the writing and do the jobs. Truth, I can't write all the time. I don't quite believe in writer's block, but I recognize the ebb and flow of energy and imagination. So I balance the guilt of leaving anything undone against the impossibility of perfection. Most of the time it works.

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