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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Discipline & Distractions in a Poet's Life

I know a poet who locks herself in a room early every morning for three hours to do her creative work. I'm not sure exactly what she does in there. Is it always composition and revision, strictly working on specific poems, or does it include reading poetry, a little lollygagging at the window, watching the deer eat another crop of her roses while she fingers the dust from the leaves of pot of ivy? Does she dance a little wildly in the silent room suddenly, then sit down to a blank page and begin writing? Use a computer? Look up something on Wikipedia? Or has she banned the Internet from this room, the way everyone else is banned, crowd pressing against a solid door, the only evidence of the world waiting for her a sudden shudder in the walls when the wind picks up.

I envy this practice and would like to adopt something similar. Even as I write this, I realize I am speaking to you and to myself in a room of that kind, a room that's only my own as long as I keep the door shut.

Lately I've been finding too many distractions are only a tab away. Only a phone away. My door is open, but should be shut. I have made a new poem this morning, revised a recent one two or three times, and considered what I might submit to Alaska Quarterly, whose genial annual rejections I have come to enjoy, oddly, imagining the editors up there in furs, freezing as they write their nice notes on form rejection slips, sending me a little warmth because we all give each other what we really want.

And back to the work.
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