stray thoughts, writing
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As if your life depended on it

Viburnum | edge of evening

You must write and read as if your life depended on it. That is not generally taught in school. […]

To read as if your life depended on it would mean to let into your reading your beliefs, the swirl of your dreamlife, the physical sensations of your ordinary carnal life; and, simultaneously, to allow what you’re reading to pierce the routines, safe and impermeable, in which ordinary carnal life is tracked, charted, channeled. […]

To write as if your life depended on it: to write across the chalkboard, putting up there in public words you have dredged, sieved up from dreams, from behind screen memories, out of silence — words you have dreaded and needed in order to know you exist.
from ‘As if your life depended on it’ by Adrienne Rich, in ‘What Is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics’

It comes back to this then: starting over. Slowly, intentionally. Choosing what to set aside and what to do. Stacking up the days, each the same as the last. I’ve found that repetition and ritual work the best. No questioning how to spend this hour or that, because then I’m lead to indecision and panic, and always the regret for the thing I haven’t chosen to do rather than commitment to the thing I have. Slow, steady, day by day. Remembering that even ten minutes can be used. Here are the things I’ve chosen for now.

// starting early, with rereading Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook, reading a poem, meditating (an hour alone before it’s time to dress & wake the little ones is worth getting out of bed for, every time) // reading a short story a day (you can follow along here) & making some quick notes (more on this soon) // writing — something small, every day + a commitment to finishing something (an exercise, an essay, a story, a something) every fortnight //

Oh the fresh promise of a new year!

1 Comment

  1. The thing is, one’s life does depend on it — the order, the way a multitude of ideas and input and chaotic beauty become, well, evidence of potential, of possibility. So good to read this tonight.

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