Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Midnight Swims: A Legacy

I am writing, I am writing. For the past few months I have been teaching, and slipping in a little writing now and then, but now I am reversing the schedule.
Writing loosely, freely. I was talking to a friend the other day about the blocks that come up, and how many of them have to do with the lack of time--wanton, wastable time. When I was young I never felt blocked at all. I had every night after the house went to bed to sit in my room with my black candles and my records and write poem after poem, then copy them with my quill pen, burn the edges of the paper and drip wax on them to make them look like ancient artifacts.  This took a lot of time, but it was time that passed without notice. 4 a.m., 5 a.m. Then the dawn, mine alone, the way any poet feels.
It was a deeply pleasurable way to be, and it is a muscle memory. After all these many years I have finally reproduced a scenario where I might feel like that again--a room of my own. I am not the first to point out the advantages of such a place for a writer. For the last 25 years I have longed for it. Now--it's here. A bed, a desk, a window. This has taken me back to my old ways.
Not burning parchment or using sealing wax--but writing in messy letters without my glasses on so I can't read or judge. Pressing into a story, then tossing all the crabbed pages aside and writing into it more truly and deeply. Wasted pages, wasted time. Daydreaming indolently. It takes this, to get down to it. It is the fun, the pleasure, when there is the time for it. The nervousness about not getting another chance lifts, and the notion of a writing block is as odd and quaint as it sounded to me when I was a teenager. How could that be? Words were a lazy river, plentiful, mine to dip into and walk away from, dripping. Completely natural.

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