The peel-out from tobacco spit eddy

Perhaps you’re like me and you’ve just realized something about yourself. Something odd. Something that seems to go against the downstream flow. Perhaps on your metaphoric river, you have found yourself eddied out behind a boulder along with two unmatched rubber sandals and a plastic bottle of Powerade empty of all but a quarter cup of what looks to be tobacco spit. So be it.

In my case, the realization is about my writing practice, which, until recently, might also be described as a quarter cup full of what looks to be tobacco spit. As the writing pros recommend, I dutifully schedule onto my daily calendar a period of time to freewrite — sort of the writer’s equivalent of yoga or piano practice or sketching. And like many folks, I blow off that appointment with as consistent a regularity as I should be applying to actually writing. What the?

I love to write. I love everything about it — the tapping sound of a keyboard, the tactile pleasure of rapidly pressing square black buttons with letters on them, the smell of paper, the pleasure of gripping a pen, especially one with just the right weight, a rubberized grip, and navy blue ink — the kind that smears and ends up on your nose from when you last scratched it while thinking of the correct word for one of those mythic creatures that’s not actually a dragon but looks exactly like a dragon, minus the front legs. Did I mention I love to ramble?

So, yeah … then why won’t I sit down at my appointed time and effing write? The question plagues me, because I also like calendars, appointments, task lists. Once the day is almost done, I like to feel like I’ve accomplished the tasks I set out to accomplish. It’s a mini-Odyssey every day. Task complete, check. Fuck the Lotus Eaters and the cyclopseseses! I’ve come home! I’m on track! That’s when it hit me. Track. Running. Miles upon miles. Mile after mile. Mini-Odysseys. Why do I run every day? That’s on my schedule, too. What makes me keep that appointment? What makes me kick that first Asics-shod foot out the door? The answer: the scenery, the distance, the trip. I like the trip. Allrighty. How might I apply this to writing? I thought about it. Instead of scheduling a time for writing, I need to schedule a distance, a distance into which to write. Write from here to there. From this spot in my writing journal to that spot. Fill it. Fill this document page. Thumb out a 500-word text. Whatever medium I’m using, it seems to be working. Now if I could only trick myself into practicing yoga every day. Any suggestions?

Saint Michael and the angels fighting the Wyvern.
Saint Michael and the angels fighting the Wyvern. Not to be confused with the sympathetic wyvern A-Through-L of Catherynne Valente's Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland... . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

{PS: The dragon-like mythical creatures that are not dragons? They’re called wyverns. One of the main characters of Catherynne Valente’s The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is a wyvern oddly named A-through-L. Maybe he’s been in that tobacco spit eddy, too.}

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One thought on “The peel-out from tobacco spit eddy

  1. Glad you figured out a way to make it work. Although I try to write every day, it’s still a task to get myself just to sit down and actually get started. Maybe because writing well is really, really hard to do, and playing computer solitaire is so easy. A word count is a good idea, and it usually helps get me going. Best thing about that is I don’t have to stop when I reach the goal, and if I don’t I feel as though I’ve exceeded expectations for the day.

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