The summer is well underway and so is all the writing angst/excitement/frustration/pleasure that comes with it. I've begun reading some fantastic books and 'filling the well' always feeds my own work.
Writing is often the most difficult task, actually getting to the page and staying there until some spark pushes you to fill the waiting space. With new family obligations and more demands on my time, I've been finding it especially tough to find that quiet resonance I need to make sense of things I don't understand. I've been flirting with so many themes ideas, some of which have been:
- Myth and myth-making
- The southern milieu
- WPA projects
- Michael Jackson
- Prodigal sons
- Mental institutions
The list goes on and on. The problem is finding a way to settle on one or two (or, really, three) and writing my way into them. I usually start with one poem and that poem grows into sections or a sequence, then that sequence grows into a group of poems connected by theme, then that group flourishes to become part of a larger body of work (Chapbook? Manuscript? Does it matter as long as the work is coming???)
Over the last few days, though, (after a bit of a self-pitying slump about inspiration/ambition and everything else writers find to complain about) I've hit a nice groove. I decided to stop agonizing over a manuscript I've been working to death and seeking publication for and start looking at the work I've completed outside of the manuscript over the past few years. Just as an exercise and as a way of reminding myself that the work is coming and will (try as I might to stifle it) continue to come, I went to the computer and printed out every new usable poem I'd written and hadn't included in any larger body of work. To my surprise, by the end of the day, I'd "discovered" at least one hundred poems and even started piecing together another manuscript (or two). All this tangible work sitting in my hands gave me some hope. This morning, I woke up exciting about researching, discovering, putting together pieces of new puzzles and heading back to the page, which is all I could ever really ask for.
I'm sure most writers would attest to that fact that living this writing life is mostly about resolve. The rejections arrive but as long as the writing continues, there's a reason to keep going. This--this questioning, this need to make sense of the havoc around us each day--is what you do; it's how you live.