"In such a hectic life no large work can be conceived." Robert Bly
Oh how heartening a sentiment happened upon today while reading an interesting essay by Robert Bly about his time in Iowa City at the Writer's Workshop. I have so often maintained, if only to myself, that I need space and time to write poetry. It is really an excuse, however, for not sitting down to the practice of writing; failing to show up. And so, in the midst of the hectic of having a small baby, I decided to make an appointment with myself to show up each Wednesday morning for a few hours. I will write whatever is on my mind that day. This doesn't mean that I won't tinker with the poem days or weeks down the line. I will, however, leave the heart of the poem in the state in which it emerged during my Wednesday morning appointment.
I once dated a poet, Michael, who I now affectionately refer to as "the vegan, anarchist, poet" (all of my past loves now have been reduced to similar descriptive titles). He once distributed a chapbook of poetry composed strictly within a 48-hour period. I still have that chapbook tucked away somewhere. Perhaps it is poetry under pressure, but maybe that is only when most poetry emerges. Indeed, there are hundreds of my own poems that have failed to survive because I was unwilling to take the time (when they poked through the first tender hands and feet) to birth these poems.
And so, perhaps it is like scheduling intimacy. Even if it is scheduled, its still better than being lost all together from the roster of life's activities. Half of life is about showing up; and I'd argue that at least 90% of all writing is also about showing up, which is why I love Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones so much. I'm just showing up in my hectic life. When someone reads what I write after I show up, it makes the circle complete. That is enough in the largest sense of enough. I am full. I am alive.