All Poetry, All the Time…

Well, maybe not all the time.

Despite–or perhaps because of the nightmare of our country falling in half and over the edge of the possible–I decided yesterday morning that I would 1) draft the final chapter of my second mystery novel (working title: Piano for Beginners), and 2) finish printing out…the…whole…damn…thing.

Early that morning I had told my husband that I was going to. I felt confident that it was all under my control. Then, distractions.

Some of these, I manufactured for myself. (YouTube videos about impeachment. A very important article on the New Yorker website. I suddenly HAD TO HAVE a new lamp. Also, I read an entire–short–novel by Ann Cleeves.) Some distractions, I argued, were actually “on task”: I found myself going back to early chapters and making notes for what has to be added, what might be changed, the cool epigraph that I really must look up and add to the others.

Some distractions dropped in out of the clear blue sky. (My daughter Emma, switched to day shift, dropped by at 3:00 to … just hang out, I guess. A phone call with an old friend. A phone call with a poet friend.)

It’s all good. I can finish tomorrow, I told myself.

After dinner, my husband said, “Did you print it out?”

I explained.

Then, I went to my desk, drafted the final chapter (a shitty first draft, but even so) and printed out the remaining pages.

It felt great.

Today I have choices to make.

  • Do I take a few days off?
  • Should I take a whole month off?
  • What should I do instead while I’m taking this break?

Meanwhile, I started today by reading this great post by Stephen Pressfield. As he always, uncannily, seems to do, he taught me something about my own resistance (I mean, really, I read a whole novel?), alongside offering a major lesson on the world “out there.” I think you should read it, too.

So, after thinking about my own resistance, I decided, yes, take time off (a week).

For a week my morning writing time (at least) will be all poetry, all the time. And instead of continuing my mystery-novel reading binge, I admit, I’m also planning to reread Sandra Scofield’s The Last Draft.  

But you can expect a poetry blogpost here in the next few days. I promise.


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