Musing first, or poem? Let’s muse.
I spent yesterday believing it was Sunday. The real Sunday was buried under another foot of snow, so I think my mind just substituted one day for the next. We were home, relaxing, watching documentaries all afternoon. It felt like Sunday. I didn’t once think about writing.
I had planned to post yesterday, but I hadn’t planned a post, so when I realized my mistake, I had a choice: stop what I was doing (watching TV with the family) and go write, or relax and not beat myself up about it.
No secret what I chose, but it wasn’t as easy as it sounds. I could only relax if I also chose not to beat myself up about it. I made my own rules about writing this blog, with number one being write every day, Monday through Friday. If I don’t hold myself to that, I know I’ll stop altogether. The truth is, I didn’t want to go off and write last night just to satisfy that rule. The only question was what I would being saying to myself about myself for the rest of the evening.
Do I have to be mean to myself to keep myself working? Is that the only way I’ll stick with something? That’s not how I want to live. Writer’s write. That’s the main advice we always hear. Write every day. Don’t take weekends and holidays off. If you do, you’re not a real writer. Writer’s write.
Okay. But writer’s also live. And I happen to live with people who enjoy watching documentaries and hanging out together when we’re not shoveling snow. Yes, I’m trying to establish a more consistent writing practice, but I don’t want to sacrifice those moments together. I know which choice I’d regret more. It’s a choice I’ve often struggled with, but I’ve chosen consistently. I went back to school when the kids were little, so much of their childhood involved my doing homework around campfires or on car rides. Sometimes they came to classes with me or hung out on campus when I had to be there for meetings. They were the counterweight that helped me balance my life and not lose all connections to the real world. I could have easily immersed myself in study or in work that kept me secluded, too busy to interact with others in any meaningful way, too wrapped up in myself to get to know anyone else.
Yesterday, I lost a day, but I gained moments. Good for me. Now a poem, written during those college years.
Bridge spanning great divide be strong.
The weight of worlds trundles ‘cross you
and you groan.
Beneath, the raging river rushes swiftly,
And all caught within are tossed and thrown
to depths unknown,
For none returns to warn the rest.
The child on the green bank cries
Don’t cross, come back to me
From brick and ivy banks,
Leaving there the ancient load you strain
Come back to me lightly and free,
To run in the green meadow,
To roll in the warm grass,
And lie sparkling in the sun
With shining face and breathless wonder.
The bridge, once strong, trembles beneath
Shed your load and come lightly to my side,
For here is laughter, light, and loving arms
eager to embrace you.
Leave the dead and dusty worlds
That take your measure and find you wanting.
They can package you for sale
At market places far and wide,
But I, too wise and young to care of scales and
Will love you without measure for all time.