Monday, June 20, 2005

Procrastina-a-ation... making me late, is keeping me blo-o-o-ogging... (ok, sorry!)

My reliable, faithful cat sitter sold her business & the new guy is coming over tomorrow to meet the cats, see what's up with the insulin shots, and so on. Originally this was supposed to happen Wednesday evening, so I had one more day to prepare. This means I need to be frantically cleaning house right about now. Obviously, I am not.

One of the problems with having a diabetic cat is that the trustworthiness of one's cat sitter becomes vitally important. My old cat sitter had been visiting the boys since 1996. I'm a bit scared about having to change. I suspect this will be the last time I feel comfortable leaving Mudpuppy (the nearly 18 year old diabetic) for any length of time. I am so nervous about leaving him with somebody new. Sigh.

I'm thinking about this whole blogging-as-writing-genre thing. In my paper journal, I don't come up with a lot of what I would call "good writing" -- a lot of it is just whining and muttering that I need to get out of my system, working things out, processing, and the endless urge just to record one's life. Sometimes (usually with lots of caffeine) I go off on tangents and write something that might be worth coming back to -- but usually, no. But blogging, I'm aware of an audience -- that sometimes if I write something more or less worth reading, I'll actually get a comment, know that someone has enjoyed my work. It is our writing that connects us, here.

I have a bad habit of wanting to save the "good writing" for poems or maybe fiction -- to make something with it, something that's out there, crafted, separate from "me" somehow. As if good writing were somehow in limited supply. (well, mine might be in short supply, who knows?) When I write a bit of something here that I think might be worth something, my tendency is to want to dig at it, poke and tug and squeeze it and somehow extract the poem of it. As if having it on one page and pointing at it and saying "this is a poem" makes it more legitimate somehow. When I was young, in high school and early in undergrad, poetry was just how I experienced the world. It was not unusual for me to write three, four, half a dozen poems in a night. It was my way of engaging, of experiencing, of understanding. Why don't I do that anymore? Why do I now squeeze out a poem a week, if I'm lucky, constipated little turds of poems? (I'm not saying they are crappy -- heh -- poems. Just that they don't exactly flow freely, these days.)

I find myself thinking it's because I don't have much to say, but god/dess knows the poems I wrote and wrote and wrote in high school weren't exactly blazing foundries of deep wisdom. (I probably thought they were, but that's what being that age is all about.) (Do foundries blaze? Fuckit, I'm second-guessing myself again.) Is it because I've spent so much time in workshops, thinking to myself oh I have to have a poem to bring in for the next workshop? Is it because I like publishing, and random blog-blatherings aren't exactly what you send out to editors? (Except random blog-blatherings probably get more readership than most of my actual published poems.) Should I take a break from workshopping, publishing, thoughts of MFA-ing, and try to get back to that "beginner's mind" way of writing?

This may be one of the questions I want to answer for myself in P-town.

Crafting a poem, having this discrete artifact I can point to and name, is surely satisfying. It feels damn good, in fact. But blathering somewhat randomly (but not completely randomly, as I'm always aware that someone may read this, and that the someones who mostly read this are someones who care about & are sensitive to writing & language & poetry) and suddenly finding myself writing something (for lack of a better word) nice -- well, that's satisfying too. If I don't take that and use it somehow, is it worth less?

Whenever I'm about to embark on a summer workshop I try to think, before I go, about what I want to learn from it. If I can articulate this particular blathering a little better, this might be part of what I'm looking for. (Part of it, I think, is "how do I make it easier for myself to write?") That, and "should I try to put together a damn book ms." and "how the hell does one revise." And "should I try to do an MFA and if so how the hell do I expect to pay for it." (And "can I possibly write at least one damn sentence without a damn curse word in it?" Sheesh.)

And, if nothing else, some lovely beach time, the sweet salt air, and if I'm really, really lucky, a bit of a connection with some fellow writers for a few days. And maybe a new little pile of words -- whether they fall into place as poems, or not.


Laine said...

Hi, Anne. Wish I had something helpful to say about writing, cat sitters, and the metacommunication blogging can lead you through. I just get stuck on the idea that the creative process is a freakin great bitch. (Or maybe it's just procrastination season? I've been over-intellectualizing a simple art show submission for a week now. That's my favorite way to procrastinate.) Good luck with the new sitter. Keep looking forward to deep breaths of salty air.

And yes, foundries do indeed blaze.

Anne said...

Laine, over-intellectualizing is one way to bring procrastination to an art form, if you ask me. I may know a thing or two about this. :) I certainly do have a love-hate relationship with the Muse....

David Vincenti said...

"But blogging, I'm aware of an audience -- that sometimes if I write something more or less worth reading, I'll actually get a comment, know that someone has enjoyed my work. It is our writing that connects us, here."

So if you wanted to infuse that energy back into your poems, take the commented points and explore them offline. Take an idea you know has an audience because the blog told you so, and kick it around with whatever muse-accelerator you like. I like the Bradburian approach: I fill my head with words (I research ideas that interest me) and see what spills out first (I just start writing).

And as far as writing 3,4,6 poems in a night in high school, I'd bet your subconscious editor hadn't developed far enough to interfere yet. I find working with kids (teaching 3rd-8th grade workshops) invigorating in this regard. They remind me that there's joy in creation. Sometimes we forget that, don't we?

Foundries of wisdom? I like it: Foundries take in whatever you give them, permit processing and shaping, and return something in useful form to you. So get that piece out for the workshop already.

junebee said...

So how was the cat-sitter?

Anne said...

David -- some good thoughts, thanks!

Junebee -- it went OK. I don't think I'll ever find someone I trust as much as I trusted my old cat sitter, but she was just special. I think this one will be fine though.