On space, time & ‘The Writing’
Posted on November 18th, 2013
“So now that you’re working some, how’s it going with ‘The Writing?’” a friend asked recently.
It was kind of her to ask and I always appreciate it when someone refers to what I do as ‘The Writing.’ There’s nothing like putting an article in front of any verb to make it instantly and comedically smaller—something that might fit in your pocket or that’s suitable for dressing up in a tiny dog sweater. And shrinking any concept in that kind of ruthlessly efficient manner has the added benefit of creating a sense of sudden remove from it and, along with it, the perspective one can enjoy only when regarding something from a distance.
My knee-jerk response to her question was, “Not so well, thanks.” Working in a more traditional way has meant a separation of sorts from the component essential to my ability to produce decent writing: time. After a day spent nothing more or less demanding than art class for five-year-olds (I’m only supervising kindergarteners’ work with craft scissors and creating Play-Doh self-portraits God’s sake; when did I become so soft?), I can hardly be bothered to make meaningful eye contact with my computer, much less to create something coherent for you, my beloved five readers.
In short, I am writing significantly less than I have at any point in the last 24 months; for this reason alone, I wanted to answer my friend’s question in the negative.
But then I thought about what the time away was affording me—insights and experiences that, when I worked out the kinks in my new, semi-working life, would themselves be things worth writing about. In its own weird way, working has created space around ‘The Writing’ that could allow it to grow up, green and wild, in ways I hadn’t anticipated. My posts may be less frequent but they also feel less forced to me, ‘The Writing’ more a product of desire than anything else.
And there’s this: last November, I participated in NaBloPoMo, the writing challenge that invites bloggers to write something new on each day in November. I never seriously entertained the idea of trying to complete this year’s challenge what with the Play-Doh and the craft scissors and all, but now that we’ve reached the half-way point in the month, I can tell you that I’ve been able to enjoy the month’s writing challenges as a happy spectator while watching Marcel work complete one of his own.
It’s more than a little suspenseful wondering if Marcel is going to write more each day toward his 30,000–word goal. I’m proud of him but, truth: it’s just plain exciting to see where ‘The Writing’ has taken root in people and places with whom I share my life. I can’t wait to see where it might flower next.∗