Saturday, July 05, 2008


I guess it's sheer luck that I've stumbled upon the perfect house. Matt's friends needed a housesitter, I needed a place to stay, so here I am. This is the quietest, most peaceful place I've ever been while still being in a city.

I started writing again. Inspired, I think, by the idea of taking an English class in the fall on top of my law classes (this is my last chance, after all, before I graduate). I got out some old poems and applied a little discipline to them. Revision really is fantastic, especially after a term of years. Working on those old poems again made me realize how much I love being a writer.

Nothing can immerse me like the process of writing. It's such a process of narrowing and broadening: narrowing by choosing a metrical scheme, or even just a topic; broadening by considering the non-obvious. As I write, I pull images in and push distractions out, gradually framing the photograph I want to snap, editing the film footage of my life, cropping, snipping, and finally printing. Sometimes, as with these poems, the process takes ten years.

There's no shame in an unfinished poem. I used to get so frustrated with the ones that wouldn't quite jell. Now I know there's no inspiration like half a sonnet, left off in mid-line.

Funny that it would be a job like this one that would lead me back to writing. Working at the firm is intensely intellectual and exhausting. At the end of the day I feel mentally wrung out, often frustrated with language (legal writing, like poetry writing, seems to be a process of jamming in as much meaning as possible without becoming obscure). I usually feel like I need a drink and an hour of stupid television. But when I look at the work I'm doing, I'm proud of it. And I think that's what I've been missing as a writer all these years: the willingness to hack away at something even when the words don't seem to be coming, to work with a draft until it seems utterly worthless, and to keep on working on it until its worth emerges.

In essence, I'm finding that discipline and art are interdependent rather than mutually exclusive.

And I'm writing, now, just about every day.


Post a Comment

<< Home