Thursday, January 25, 2018

Writing: No Time to Spare

Yesterday was a good writing day.  Did it have anything to do with the death of Ursula K. Le Guin?  I did feel somewhat galvanized, but I was feeling that way before I learned of her death.

Yesterday morning, before I did any online surfing, I wrote a poem. In the hour before I found out that Ursula K. Le Guin had died, I was writing a poem about getting in touch with my inner, little, old church lady, who has cookbooks for anarchists and vegetarians alike, who knows how to quilt the patterns used by the underground railroad, who wears white gloves but not for the reasons you think. She will not pontificate on the president and the porn star and the hush money because she's been taught that it's rude to talk about politics and sex in polite company.

I didn't realize it, but I was writing a fitting tribute, in many ways, to Le Guin--and more importantly, to the older woman that I will become.

I looked up Le Guin's last book and it was available at 4 of our public libraries, so I stopped by and got it on my way to work.  The title:  No Time to Spare.  It looks fabulous.  The book was on my desk all day, reminding me that there may not be much time to spare.

I sent out a few poems.  I went to the Graywolf site to discover that they are having a nonfiction competition. 

As far as I can tell, there's not an entry fee.  The deadline is Jan. 31--hurrah, I haven't missed it.
I'm planning on sending my manuscript of memoir-esque/theologicalish essays.  I don't think it's the kind of literary innovation for which they yearn, but it doesn't sound so very different from some of the past years' winners.  Yesterday I reread the first 100 pages of my manuscript for the first time in over a year, and I'm still pleased with my writing.  So I will send it out and see what happens.
Inspired by Laura Kaminski's laundry poems on the Via Negativa site, I wrote another poem.  It's been a long time since I completed two poems in the same day.
In short, it was a great writing day, where I got a variety of writing tasks done--in addition to a pleasant work day, where I got much done and had great conversations.  Our new librarian also went to the University of South Carolina, so we have great conversations about Columbia.  Yesterday we talked about the variety of paperwork that we have and how to store and catalog it.  We agree that paper is still the most secure storage space, but it takes up so much physical space.  She talked about calling someone to get a photocopy of the journal where his article appeared, and he wasn't sure he could locate it.  She asked about my filing system.
I know where all the copies of my poems and articles are, but to find a specific one might take me an hour or two.  I'm not a good alphabetizer, and I don't like filing.  Sigh.  But I do know what's in each pile and each box.
I also got a Facebook friend request from a woman who sent it because she liked the prayers I wrote for this year's Bread for the Day.  How cool is that?!!!  I took it as a larger sign, a reminder that my writing matters to the world beyond me.
Here's the prayer that I wrote for yesterday; it seems a good way to end this post:
January 24, 2018
God of every intelligence, let us listen for voices of wisdom and understanding.  Give us the courage to stay with those who make necessary stands in lonelier places.  Let us not be found lacking.

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