Thursday, December 9, 2010

Reverb 10, the one about writing

Ha! Look at me, trying to catch up on the Reverb 10 project. While I was writing on five prompts in a row, my annoyed, critical side (critical of the project this time, not of me. This is progress!) was saying, "Oh, come on! This is a waste of your time! What the fuck are you doing? And why do you insist on writing the word "fuck" every day?"

It was good for me, the writing I did this morning. Instead of doing a regular undisciplined free write (which I do daily anyway whether I mean to or not since writing is like breathing for me and if I don't do it, I die a little bit), I focused on specific topics, like a school girl. This made me feel grumpy, but young. It's always good to feel young.

(on a random note having nothing to do with writing, which the Dec. 2 prompt covers, the pink streak my daughter put in my hair yesterday has already faded. I forgot about it and washed my hair this morning. Oh well. A stronger dye next time?)

I've drafted responses to five of the Reverb 10 prompts. They are dull responses, too long, uninteresting even to me. Well, that's a lie. I just think I'm uninteresting from the outside looking in. Must remember something my lovely friend and poetry teacher Diane Frank insisted to those of us who attended her first in-person Bluelight Press workshop in 2009 (talk about wonder and feeling alive!). We're all unique to other people. The way we view the world and experience our lives is unlike anything any of us has ever seen (hahahaha! Laughing at myself. That is NOT the kind of thing I usually say).

I'll just post Day 2 for now and add the others later when I have time, after I've gone to the store (the bread is stale), picked up my girl from school, gone to her dad's to get the toiletries left behind (including her contacts), taken her to the mall for warm boots.... Um. It's possible this paragraph answers Leo Babauta's question, but I suppose I'll include the babble I did earlier just because.

December 2 – Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)

I wish I could say that everything I do contributes to my writing, but that's impossible and not true and shouldn't be true.

I'll start with the bad, "shameful" stuff that's really no more than procrastination:

I spend way too much time online. I have a space at a "diary" site where I've been writing for nearly eleven years. I spend too much time reading other people's "diaries," writing notes to them, writing my own entries about absolutely nothing.

(Will say, however, that much of the writing I do there, more of it private than not, leads to publishable poems, essays, fiction, so it's not a complete waste; it's just a little bit of a waste. Plus, I've made some amazing friends through that site.)

I watch too much bad television. I really don't watch much television, but even an hour of bad television a week is an hour too much.

I'm not addicted to Facebook, but it's kind of like reality TV, and unless I'm simply connecting with people I love, it feels like any time spent there is too much time.

I read too many blogs and find other blogs to read by following the links on comments. I follow too many links on Twitter and end up finding stories that make me want to find more information about the topic of the links. Read too many news sites that make me crazy and cranky and inclined to want to do more and more research either to find support for my gut feelings...... All these things take away time from writing.

I probably sleep more than I need to during the weeks when my daughter is at her dad's and I have more freedom to focus. I waste the freedom sleeping.

During those (sad) weeks when my daughter is not with me, I rent too many DVDs and spend too much time watching movies that are sometimes not worth my time, though like reading, for me, watching movies does sometimes give me writing ideas. I love movies. Maybe I'll leave this off my list.

During the happy weeks when my daughter is with me, when it appears I am in more danger of losing writing time, I do a lot of things that appear to have nothing to do with writing. I will not give up the things I do with my daughter, none of those things, not letting her color my hair, not sitting next to her on the sofa while she does homework or chats online with her friends with her music playing on her laptop or Family Guy on the TV even though it would be easier for me to work if I escaped to my study. I won't give up the spontaneous teen gatherings we have in my basement rec room or the occasional "GNG" (Girls Night Gang) sleepovers we have. I won't stop giving her friends rides home after school.

Aside from the fact that I'd rather spend time with my daughter than write (and I love writing), everything I do with her and her friends somehow ends up in my work, sometimes accidentally or unconsciously, sometimes more deliberately. Maybe I shouldn't have listed any of this "daughter stuff" as not contributing to my writing, though I have to admit, Family Guy is not much of an inspiration to the kind of poet I am or for the kinds of fictional pieces I write.

The things that I do that don't contribute to my writing that don't involve my daughter or my family are small and insidious enough that I don't always realize how much time I've spent on them. I could keep track, maybe set a timer for myself, limit how long I am online or how many hours of bad TV I watch. Maybe I'll try that.

Oh. I think I really lost track of the point of this question.

1 comment:

  1. While my children are all married and moved on to their own homes, it is my greatest joy to spend time with them. I can understand completely how you feel about your daughter. It's a wonderful thing.
    I enjoyed reading several of your posts. Found you through Julie Jordan Scott's site.
    I expect I'll be back.