It’s that time of year in Texas when my Charlie and I leave the windows open. As transplants we go as far into the late spring (Note: it’s spring in our minds and our calender yet it feels like the summer of New England). This morning it feels like spring.
A sweet cool breeze lofts my curtains and has blown a stack of papers off the ‘temporary’ card table on to the floor as I was making the morning coffee. I heard the leaves outside and within. I kind of laughed when I saw the scatterings and in my own way thanked the curtains and the breeze for help with my work. I’ve been meaning to get to it. . .guess I will now. In fact I’ll take any help at all getting my office into a more pleasant order. . .it’s become a repository for things I don’t know where to put. I will not bore you about the closet.
Yesterday for the first time in months I forced my butt in the chair to write. Well to work on my poetry. I shut to door to my office space (new step), put on Benedictine nuns chanting. I then opened my notebooks to copy out poems into the computer. It has never felt like such work. I actually found myself holding my breath. I had to relax my shoulder, stretch my skalene muscles. I’d save one poem and then push on to another and then another. It was work.
In physics work is defined this way: the amount of energy transferred by a force acting through a distance. (Wikipedia) In my case the energy was my fingers and mind forced into work. But it was spirit – my soul – my essence – that I am working to reclaim. Through reflection and time, I come to understand that I have missed having a disciplined mind and while I have been without it and been creative, done other work, it has not been satisfying.
In lectures on Bob Dylan, my friend and mentor, Christopher Ricks, equates a great artist’s mind is much like a great athlete’s body. Another mentor, the poet Bruce Weigl once emailed me a note “You never want it to be easy.” This was after I had whined after a workshop on revision. These were two of my guiding cheerleaders as I wrote yesterday.
The other was my therapist who said to me, “It’s like you’ve been given wings but refuse to fly.” It’s work, to learn to fly again. But underneath this is I need to value myself in all the work I do. I am not employed. I am a long-distance mother and grandmother, there is little on the exterior to give me recognition. So I work to recreate it within myself.
Right now in this beautiful weather, with puffs of white curtains, I’ll pick up the scattered papers. Will keep or toss as needed. Then perch on the edge again and attempt to fly.