Well, today was going to be the First Official Day Back at My Desk After Summer Vacation, Upon Which All Charges Under My Care Are Back In School.
This morning over tea/coffee, Husband said, “Enjoy your first day of freedom today.” “Shhh,” I said, “don’t tempt the Universe.”
Then Sister woke up with her eye crusted shut.
So I’ve not been at my desk. I’ve been at the pediatrician’s office and the pharmacy. Drops have been instilled, Sister is watching TV and eating Kraft mac-n-cheese, and I am sneaking in a moment here to say go read this article, which a poet-friend linked to on Facebook yesterday, and which reminded me of the Most Important Things.
They are contained in this list of instructions from Jane Kenyon (of blessed memory), which is quoted in the article:
“Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours.”
I can’t always protect my time, work regular hours, or be by myself. But I can and will do these things whenever possible.
I can walk. I can read good books. I can turn the ringer off on my phone (“take the phone off the hook” — seems so quaint now, doesn’t it? 😉 ).
As for avoiding too much noise, I think we all have to decide what the “noise” is for ourselves. For me, social media, volunteer requests from school, and my inner critic are the noise that can become too much. I’ll be working on limiting the first and third items on that list, and on being liberal with the NO for the second.
If I could add one thing to the list, it would be: Yes, do all these things, but don’t wait for ideal conditions; just write. This approach is what has made it possible for me to do so much of my work through moves and illnesses and ballet rehearsals and allergy clinic visits and dry spells and All the F-ing Half Days of school and hospital stays and basketball games and feeding people and laundry piled on my desk… you get the idea.
Ideal conditions happen sometimes, and we can and must do things to help facilitate them. But writing can happen during All The Times (reading counts), even if it’s just in tiny cracks of time in less-than-ideal conditions.