Thursday, September 1, 2011

Carpe Diem Dates

Last week, my spouse and I found ourselves with a few hours of free time in the middle of the day.  How strange is that?  We debated how to spend that time:  run errands, do housework, rearrange the bookshelves, attack to overgrown yard?

We still weren't sure whether or not we'd be dealing with a hurricane by the end of the week, so we decided to go to the library and get some DVDs, just in case we were stuck inside for awhile (hopefully with electricity!).

We got our books and DVDs and still had time on the meter.  What to do?

We were at the library at the beach, so we decided to wander around a bit.  We ate at a Mexican restaurant with an east wall open to the beach.  We got special prices because it was lunch time.  The restaurant played a mix of traditional Mexican music and techno dance music.  We watched the wind whip the sand and waves, but overall, the weather was beautiful, as it usually is before a hurricane.

As we drove home, my spouse said, "We had a carpe date!" (imagine an accent mark over the carpe, a la carpe diem).

I knew exactly what he meant.  We had seized the day and had a spontaneous date!  Usually we have to plan at least a week ahead to be spontaneous.  Unfortunately, that habit leaves us unprepared when we find ourselves with unexpected free time.  We often waste a good chunk of time trying to figure out what to do, so much time that we spend most of our time trying to figure out how to best use that time.

How many of us do that with our writing lives too?  Or we overlook free chunks of time, because we're committed to the idea that we need to be at a certain desk, with a certain computer, at a certain time of day.

I admire those writers who have carpe dates with their muses, the writers who carry notebooks with them, the writers who spend time thinking about the poems they will write, so that they're ready to seize whatever free moments fall into their days.

I've been trying to do the same thing with my submission process.  Instead of wondering where to send submissions and wasting lots of time looking up journals, I have a list.  If I have 15 minutes, I could get a poetry packet or two in the mail.

I need to do the same thing with typing revised poems into the computer.  I have lots of poems waiting to be sent out into the world, but first I need to type them up.  I've gone through my notebooks and flagged the ones I think would make good additions to book manuscripts I'm assembling and revising.  I'll type those first.

Carpe Diem dates with my muse--I like this idea!  Let the planning for spontaneity begin!

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