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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Revisiting the Struggle to Write

Friday, March 7, 2008

A two week break
Heading outside

As we came back from our trip, too much else to catch up on...taxes, gardening, planting vegetables, attempting to order my life, spring cleaning, and fitting in some music, art and reading.

I reread Billy Collins poem "Advice to Writers" again.

"Even if it keeps you up all night,
wash down the walls and scrub the floor
of your study before composing a syllable.

Clean the place as if the Pope were on his way.
Spotlessness is the niece of inspiration.
The more you clean, the more brilliant
your writing will be, so do not hesitate to take
to the open fields to scour the undersides
of rocks to swab in the dark forest upper branches,
nests full of eggs.
When you find your way back home
and stow the sponges and the brushes under the sink,
you will behold in the light of dawn
the immaculate altar of your desk,
a clean surface in the middle of clean world.
From a small vase... sparkling blue, lift
a yellow pencil, the sharpest of the bouquet,
and cover pages with tiny sentences
like long rows of devoted ants
that followed you in from the woods."

from Sailing alone around the room: New and Selected Poems.

I took Billy’s advise. The reason for my increasingly poor writing is the clutter and surrounding disorder. These weeks ahead I'm starting in one corner floor to ceiling with brush and pail and vaccuum and rag. The loose wandering papers will be gathered and teathered or placed in caged files. Away with the cobwebs, away with the piles. If I happen to head out the door it might be two years* before I fnd my way back to the desk and talk to you, just so you know.

*Four years later I encounter the same problem, taking too long a break from writing, and catching up with anything except writing. I made the mistake of looking out the back door this morning, where the picture below was taken, reminding me of this post from 2008.

"For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out..." Romans 7:18

Praise be to God who gives us all we need to do His work for His glory. Here is good advise on writing found this week.

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