Although I started my blog endeavor at WordPress as an effort to post a poem a day during the month of April, I did say, in Post NaPoWriMo2014, that I would try to continue with an occasional blog, in addition to the occasional poem… so now… the occasional blog…
Eight weeks have passed since I posted my last blog, a poem on May 5th. For a week or so following that poem, I made a point to keep up with poets I had been following during NaPoWriMo. Outside distractions kept me from making time to write, progressing until I couldn’t make time to follow – my mind going off in all directions, as it is wont to do. They have been legitimate distractions, but distractions, nonetheless.
After sixteen months of renting, following my move from New York to Missouri, I bought a house in November. Small projects in the first six months kept me busy enough, but once warm weather arrived I tackled outdoor projects that have taken most of my time. A trip back to Buffalo for my daughter’s college graduation in May, followed by a visit to Missouri by my son and his family, provided a couple of nice breaks. Otherwise, I’ve been plugging away in the yard.
Over the years, poor soil retention on the hillside alongside the back of the house has resulted in erosion, leaving more dirt and gravel than grass. I’ve stripped that grass and watched increased erosion as a result, fingers crossed in hope for three rain-free days that will allow me to spread the many cubic yards of soil I will need to cover such a major area before reseeding. Meanwhile, severely overgrown gardens (thirty, count them thirty, tree saplings pulled), digging out a half-cord of rotten firewood from one garden (fuel for a fireplace that hadn’t been used in eleven years) and extending a retaining wall have occupied my time. If the four rain-free days predicted for later this week materialize, I may be that much closer to correcting the years of neglect this yard has suffered.
With these distractions, writing hasn’t found a way into my routine. When I tell myself I should just set aside time to write each day, I remind myself of a conversation I once had with a friend, a musician and artist in her eighties living in San Francisco, who said, “I don’t know why you think you have to make a project out of it. Just have a pen and paper handy to write when inspiration finds you.” She has since given me similar advice about learning to play guitar. “You talk about wanting to learn to play the guitar you received as a gift a few years ago, and committing to thirty minutes every morning to do that. That’s just turning it into a project, rather than an exploration or an adventure. Instead, hold the guitar… before you even touch the strings, you might feel a resonance as you touch the wood. Discover it, first, then find a way to get yourself into a receptive state. Think about your experiences – conversations, things you enjoy doing, like kayaking – something to get you into that receptive state of adventure – rather than making it a project.”
Again, as she said earlier, making it a project. Setting aside time to write may work for some, but she recognized that my mind sees writing as a project if I try the same. Not always, but oftentimes holding a pen with no direction tends to create a block for me. I’ve already felt the resonance of writing, but I have to take my receptive state as it comes. Sometimes it comes while holding that pen, or sitting at the keyboard, searching for ideas, but most often it arrives unexpected.
These thoughts came to me as worked in the yard today, along with the inspiration to take a moment to write these thoughts down. Now to post the poem I wrote a few weeks ago, when I couldn’t make the time for the few minutes needed to put it in a blog.