Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Essential Questions of All Saints

I have noticed in the past few years that I have more trouble adapting to the fall time change than the spring one.  Something about the darkness invading the late afternoon really throws me off.
 
My grandmother was the same way--she hated this time change, and I thought it was about safety.  Now I wonder.
 
This year my mood is further impacted by the gloom of needed hurricane repairs and the slow pace of it all.  Plus, my spouse is feeling similarly gloomy.  We are often not in gloomy moods at the same time.  In fact, I've often joked that we're two halves of a bipolar personality (I'm manic; he's depressed).
 
The hurricane has made many of us down here re-evaluate our 5 and 10 year plans.  I'm re-evaluating to be sure, but I have no idea where it will all end.  I've never been good at being content to live in the mystery, to live in and through the questions.  I want a 5 year plan and a plan B and several back-up plans.
 
Complicating it all is the slow pace of my creative work--and I live in a house where I'm surrounded by reminders that I was once more prolific:  quilts that I made completely by hand on our beds, boxes of drafts, a shelf of chapbooks, several boxes of journals that contain my poems.
 
My Create in Me friend, Mitzie Spencer Schafer, has written a wonderful blog post that connects All Saints Sunday with essential questions for artists: "I guess it is only natural, but I couldn’t help thinking, 'What if I could learn from this? How might I apply this slowing down and intentionality to my own art and creativity?' What would I be making? What would I be designing? How much time would I really want to spend on it? What would it do for my emotional health? 
Would it even matter?"
Read the whole post here.
 
I will warn you that Mitzie's post doesn't give us any answers--and that makes sense to me.  And I know that the answers this year might not be the same as the answers when I was 20 or 40.
 
I just finished re-reading Marge Piercy's Braided Lives, which is a portrait of the artist as a young woman during the 1950's.  It impacted me deeply when I read it in undergraduate school, and I found it just as moving with this reading.  Jill, the young poet in that novel, wrestles with the same questions while trying to decide how to set up her life in order to have space to answer those questions.
 
Today I will return to the task of revising the book length manuscript of poems.  At some point soon, I'll read through the whole draft to make sure that I'm not repeating images too often.  I worry that every other poem has an image of jewels sewn into hemlines as people flee oppression.
 
I will revise the manuscript and read my work and rejoice that I'm still able to do it.  I'll have lunch with one friend and later, wine and cheese with another friend and be grateful for the friends I have here.  We may all decide to move away, but like Jill in Braided Lives, I have hopes that we can stay connected.

1 comment:

carolee bennett said...

I love this post. Slowing down is hard, especially if it's not on purpose. One of my biggest challenges is not being too hard on myself because I'm not as prolific as I used to be.

P.S. Thanks for adding me to your blog roll!