It's kind of amazing how a couple of hours, or a stretch of them, can change one's perspective. This is probably a good concept to remember in my everyday interactions with people, and particularly when I'm having a bad day, but most especially when I'm writing.

I was having a bad writing day on Friday. I ended my morning writing session in a funk because I spent the bulk of the time revising my fairytale poem -- the one paltry strophe of it. I wish I could recognize my uphill battles when I'm engaged in them -- while the three lines I finally settled on are keepers (for now), the rest of my scribbling felt less necessary and more like a waste of time.

But then on Monday I tried again -- and purposely ignored the "finished" strophe. I went immediately to the second strophe and tried to remember that, at this point, I just have to tell the story. I have to get this out. The goal of this sabbatical is to produce work. I can't spend days agonizing over the best word choice -- not at this point. When the spring semester begins, and I have less time to myself and fewer quiet moments, I can work on editing.

I took that attitude this morning, too, and managed to push out (sounds a lot like birth, doesn't it?) another stanza. So there's some progress.

Last night I began reading "Blank Verse: A Guide to Its History and Use" by Robert B. Shaw, which sounds like a magnificently dry read, I know, but he's actually one of the most readable authors I've come across on this subject.

Last week, during my lovely hurricane evacuation to Virginia (it really was lovely -- after the storm left the area, the weather was gorgeous), I finished Robert Hass's "Time and Materials," which is fabulous. Such good writing. He may have been partially responsible for my bad writing fit, during which I despaired of ever writing anything like what I found in that book -- but, you know, I'll forgive him because I *heart* his poems. This week he has a book of essays coming out. If I didn't have such a backlog of books filled with essays to read, I'd probably order it.

Tomorrow is the first day of school, and then, hopefully, my sabbatical will TRULY begin -- although honestly, I feel like next week will be the time it really sinks in. There's been so much going on this summer, and especially over the past two weeks, and I think that once we settle into some kind of schedule, (we = the kids, me, and my husband, who's been working 16 hour days doing storm repair for over a week now) I'll feel more like I'm on sabbatical and less like a distracted housewife.


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