I’ve never been much of a poet. I thought I was, until I took a poetry class in college, taught by a Vietnam Vet who was never any less than 20 minutes late to class and realized, “Nope, I suck at this.” I have since burned/recycled every poem I have ever written. No need to thank me.
But after I finished the first draft of The Big Rewind, I woke up one morning with curious sentences bouncing around in my skull. I had been reading But Our Princess is in Another Castle, by B.J. Best, which restructured the way I was creating narrative as I functioned throughout the day. Even as I processed simple tasks, I was filtering them through winding, vivid poetics. And when I sat down to write, I would come back an hour later and have no recollection of constructing a sentence, a whole paragraph.
(It was fucking AWESOME.)
Ian and I are getting married in just over a month. Part of our planning process has been, of course, the magic that is the gift registry and all the possibilities therein. A stand mixer! Matching towels! Pots with lids that fit! I have become a living version of Once Upon a Honeymoon.
But with the very real possibility of acquiring these awesome shiny things, we’ve been doing a lot of soul/box searching and figuring out what to get rid of to make room for the new. We’ve taken the time to assess what we want out of the next phase of our life and are getting rid of stuff that doesn’t suit the lifestyle we want to have. Sure, that black Hot Topic dress with the vinyl buckles across the front is goth-cute, but it’s not exactly something I can — or want — to wear while I’m trying to get a quote from the mayor.
And all this cleaning has been great.
My biggest pet peeve is when writers tell me, “I don’t have time to write.” It’s a lament I hear all the time, oh, how do you find the time? I wish I had some free time to write, I just really want to write a book but I’m so busy. . . and then, inevitably, the conversation turns to whatever video game or TV show they’re binging on. No time for writing, but six hours to spare for House of Cards. I see.
Here’s a thought — that time you’re spending passively slack-jawed in front of someone else’s creative output? That’s time you could be writing!
Look, I love TV, but it’s the first thing to go when there’s writing to be done. And I’m not saying all pleasures must be sacrificed to the mighty altar of work, but a book or a story or an essay isn’t going to write itself.