Plans, New Projects, and Ignoring Henry Miller

Grainy shot of my neighbor's zinnia. And butterfly.
Grainy shot of my neighbor's zinnia. And butterfly.
In the wake of Micro-Sabbatical Summer 2018, I've kept writing and done some small fine-tooth-comb type edits to poems that I've written this summer -- which happen to number FOURTEEN, if you're curious. 

I know, I know, I'm just as shocked as you are. 

My workspace in August, feat. coffee, sprinklers, bug spray.
My workspace in August, feat. coffee, sprinklers, bug spray, knee.
I know that for other writers this isn't really a big deal, but I know also that there are some of you who understand this feeling -- this feeling of having been treading water for a really, really, really long time and then finally venturing toward some distant shore. The shore may be really far off in the fucking distance, but you're finally able to swim toward it. Maybe that's a lame and expected metaphor.  But I warned you -- I'm still rusty.

Yesterday I met with M.S. and we shared with each other the work we've been attempting to eke out this summer, something especially challenging for her, because she's been teaching art at a camp for the past month and a half. We talked also about our Repeat Pattern project and finally came up with some good working guidelines -- not exactly restrictions or obstructions, but our expectations/desires as far as our method(s). We decided to use the sketchbook method again -- it won't be the Brooklyn Art Library's sketchbook, but something a little larger and sturdier that we'll use to archive our ideas and drafts -- or for M.S., maybe actual art. We gave ourselves a year, too -- we'll exchange the book back and forth throughout the next few months and I'll respond to her art and she'll respond to my writing -- albeit in an associative, not literal or direct, way.

Typically, I'm really good at making plans and terrible at execution. Maybe it's the early morning sunshine and the fact that the humidity has lifted, but I'm feeling optimistic. Also, I realize it's a kind of foolhardy optimism considering that school and its usual time-sucking nonsense hasn't even begun yet -- but I'm looking at a year where I won't be doing the things that I usually did (going to meetings, keeping and sending notes ((ugh)), responding to emails about meetings ((double ugghh)), doing a gazillion tasks I don't have time for, etc. 

But the MOST important difference, I think, the one that is so crucial, is that I have this summer momentum on three different writing projects. There's a Henry Miller dictum somewhere that goes, 'Work on one thing at a time until you finish' that I always have in the back of my head and yet cheerfully ignore, perhaps to my detriment. But going into the academic year with these fourteen poems and 20 new pages of my play makes a world of difference from the past three summers -- where I did some kind of work for the college, or some kind of professional development bullshit, that seriously sidetracked me.

The ability to do the micro-sabbatical was paramount, too. Stretches of focused, uninterrupted time are so, so important! (Again, summer camp for my circus act was a godsend. All writer-parents or artist-parents should have this opportunity. Fo' real.) If I could manage to do one or two of these a year, I think I might actually be able to call myself a writer and not feel like a major hypocrite.

Also, apropros of absolutely nothing, I'm thinking seriously about getting another tattoo. On my shoulder. Because if there's one thing this nearly-42 year old body needs, it's more ink.

So there's that.

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