… it’s not every day a Canadian writer I admire makes mention of me online.
Just read this longish piece by American poet Kay Ryan (it’s a few years old; thanks to Karl for pointing me to it). She is attending a poetry conference after a lifetime of preferring not to. She describes herself like this: “I love the solitary, the hermetic, the self-taught.”
This list is pretty awesome: words of advice from a writer to his younger self (Steven Heighton). Also, I’m pleased to see the National Post’s book blog looking so vibrant and interesting.
I want to tell you about today. I got up early, again. I was home from yoga before 8 0’clock, and said to Kev, “I feel like I already had my first cup of coffee.” (Then I went and had it anyway, because nothing beats that first cup of coffee). The wind is strong today, so is the sun, the sky is swept blue. CJ and his little friend played all morning with our new babysitter, and all was well. And I worked on a story. It is refreshing and sweet and delicious to be working simply for the sake of doing it, not toward a paycheque, though that may sound odd (and working toward a paycheque has its own set of pleasures, I might add). But to write just because of the words … nothing beats that. I’m not romanticizing. I don’t think.
Wait, need to edit that last sentence. Who knows what I’m meant to be doing. Not me, that’s for sure. But I’m already doing what I want to be doing.
Have you seen him in his Strawberry Shortcake hat? He accessorizes with pink mittens, too. These are his choices, and I support them! The photos of Fooey were taken by her sister; I wanted to show how she’s posing for photos these days, very deliberately. I think it’s an effect of being photographed so often, and also of watching me photograph myself for the 365 day project. I often set up the camera and fool around with various poses and backgrounds … it can take quite awhile, and the kids are used to the beep-beep-beep of the ten-second timer going off, and run to check out the resulting picture. They’ll report, “That’s a good one, Mommy!”
Today, I have some news. It’s not of the good variety, but on the other hand, as I think my way through it, it’s not of the bad variety either. ParentDish, the Canadian version for which I’ve been writing regularly, is going on hiatus while the company retools the American site. That means I am temporarily out of regular writing work. My last column will publish tomorrow. The reason this news is not altogether bad, upon reflection (thank you, hot yoga) … well, a couple of reasons, actually. 1. Over the winter, I have been writing very little other than my columns, and have found it hard to focus, in the few extra hours available, on poetry or short stories. I will enjoy doing that again. 2. I also need to consider whether I would prefer to publish under a pseudonym were I to write a column like this again. Recent posts have gotten a number of comments, some smart and thoughtful, and others a bit hostile and weird. It’s made me go hmmm, if nothing more. I don’t mind having time to reflect on this. 3. There might be a third reason. I can’t remember it. It’s almost time to head to school.
The days go.
But CJ and I had a lunch date with Kevin today, and I thought, walking over in the breezy sunshine, of the great fortune of time that is mine. And I thought of that poem from a few posts back: “This is what the living do.” We get to walk in spring sunshine, and see another spring burst into bloom.
Could I have used the word “practice” just a few more times in that last post? Still, I’m sticking with the general theory, maybe just need to find a different word for “the practice,” ie. the noun.
One more tiny addition to the theory … with practice, there’s an expectation that you improve. That’s not always the case, though, is it. Sometimes, instead, all you figure out is what does or does not interest you. We’ll all always be better at practicing what interests us. That’s why it’s good to try things out. Because you never know till you do it. Interests change.
PS That’s a totally random recent photo of AppleApple’s hair. I took the picture in order to convince her that it did, in fact, require tending. Whenever I mention picking out her hair (we don’t brush those curls, we pick them), she goes into spasms: “Who cares what my hair looks like? I don’t care! Why do you care?” And I say, okay, why do I care? And sometimes we decide that it’s fine as is, and we neither of us will be overly vain or focused on appearances. And other times … well, I resort to desperate measures. Because it turns out that I do care that she not enter the world looking like the neglected homeless child of a crazy woman. And even she had to admit, upon viewing this photo, that something needed to be done.