Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tropical Storms, Fictional Characters, Computer Viruses and Poetry Disruptions

All things considered, I'm considering this past week to be a good creative one. I've solved some issues around a possible linked short story collection, made changes to my book length poetry manuscript (I have several; I've been revising "Ash Wednesday at the Trinity Test Site"), sent out a chapbook manuscript to Cooper Dillon Books, and written blog posts.

However, I haven't written any new poems.

Of course, the week before, I wrote a poem almost every day. And as I always do, during weeks where I write more poems, I thought, Cool, maybe I can keep up this pace.

My creative life is always a balancing act. If I'm writing a lot of new poems, I'm not sending out as many. If I'm working in one genre, other genres take a back seat.

However, in any week where I'm creating, I'm happy. I can always tell when I'm not spending enough time in creative pursuits; I get very snappy with people. When I start to feel cranky and irritable, I try to get back to my desk (or quilt closet or easel or kitchen) as quickly as possible.

I'm especially happy still to be creating in a week like this one. I've had an eye doctor's appointment (healthy--hurrah!), computer disruptions, and a tropical storm. Happily, while my computer is still more sluggish than I'd like, it's usable. The tropical storm whizzed right through; I got to work just before the first band came, and since I knew I had a long work day, I enjoyed the weather, knowing it was likely to improve before I had to drive home. It would have been cozier enjoying it at home, where I could have made scones and watched the wind whipped rain, but my office is pleasant enough. Happily, it was a quiet morning in the office, so I didn't feel trapped.

But in the coming week, I'd like to write a poem or two. I always feel a bit anxious when a week goes by without a poem. I'd hate for my muse to leave forever.

I remember a poem that I wrote long ago, a poem published in Emrys:

The Muse to Her Poet

You worry that I am some Ulysses,
headed off to distant lands the moment you turn
your back, easily seduced by goddesses,
and ever needful of new adventures.

You are the one who sets sail
for the distant island of your novel, sidetracked
from your true vocation by thoughts of the fruits
of fame, the warmth of characters
to put through their paces.
You are the one who often strands
herself on the dry, dusty shores
of academic writing, pursuing the metaphors
and symbols of other poets
while neglecting your own.

I am your muse, your Penelope, waiting
ever, always patient. I weave
even when you’re unaware, distracted
by those undeterred suitors of easier pleasures than mine.
I pluck out the threads that don’t match,
keep the tapestries safe,
keep my faith in your return.


Sherry O'Keefe said...

after reading this post, i feel more understood. ah, now i know why i've been a bit testy (some may say: grouchy). i had forgotten about a study i read about a year ago involving jazz musicians. when they improvise or create new music, a certain section of their brain fires, resulting in a flood of feel-good chemicals firing up as well. creativity is a must and i thank you for sharing that.

oh, love this poem s well. "i weave even when you are unaware."

Kristin said...

I've been missing those feel-good chemicals!

Thanks for your kind comments about my poem and for stopping by and commenting!