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Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Missing the Spark: distractions and inspirations
Missing the Spark
I know I sometimes can be hard on myself. I think that’s true of everyone, at least everyone I know. We all have lists of things to do – some are kept in our heads, some, like mine, jotted down on paper, sheet after sheet in sub-divisions according to task and priority. My lists run like a budget ledger: when to pay this bill with that money; when to call the propane guy; when the next doctor appointment is scheduled; when, where and what to buy on payday. I have lists to tell me where my lists are. I also have notes. I have notes that are suggestions for plot lines or essay subjects. I have notes that are actually completed poems awaiting a rewrite with an editor’s view. I have lists to tell me what notes to prioritize, and how to go about it. I do refer to the notes and the lists on a daily basis. Right now, what I don’t have is a great deal of motivation.
The spark is missing. I can accept that. I have been through quite a bit over the last two months, and the Muse has slipped quietly into the guest room, minding her own business. My calendar is filled with appointments and therapy sessions that rapidly eat up my day while I search for that elusive companion to the Muse – a solid block of time. I have gotten into the habit of watching the sometimes hilarious and sometimes depressing analysts for the day’s news stories, who serve as an illuminating distraction eagerly sought. The overwhelming desire to write, and writing is my life’s blood, seems to be on hold. I am not merely putting it off (procrastinating). I just don’t feel the spark. In the last two months I have composed half a dozen poems and a handful of blogs, and that’s it. Normally, I write every day and cannot stop myself. I carry a notebook with me just in case and invariably use it, even in the middle of a conversation. It can be annoying, really, to the other person. William Goldman once said that, if it’s going badly, you can be in the most idyllic, quiet, uninterrupted setting in the world and nothing will come; when it’s going well you can write in an elevator. I am on vacation. There’s not a single lift in sight. But I have hope. I hear the Muse stirring in the south forty, whistling softly as she makes her bed and prepares to lumber out for coffee. I keep waiting for her to finish what she is doing, and pay some attention to me.
I know the world awaits. I know the world is a little busy at the moment, but she still must be eager to hear from me. I know the world has deadlines, and I work well under the pressure to produce. It’s just that the world has not specified what the deadlines are, and it keeps throwing me more curves and more distractions. Vera Brittain: profound. Doctor Who: when? Ted Cruz: really? Distractions abound, but now and then one becomes an inspiration to think, and then write. Coffee anyone?
I was born in Holland in 1950. My parents immigrated to the US when I was two. I have many close friends and family on both continents. My wife Diane and I have been happily married since 1974. I have four children and one grandchild (two more are on the way). I love writing and sharing what I wrote most of all..