A few weeks ago, I began writing a long poem, and lately I’ve been scribbling phrases to describe the feeling of the poem each time I work on it:

The goal is to write 2-3 pages each week and see how it goes. I’ve never written a long poem before, and my big concern is that I’ll lose interest after a while. I wanted to try writing with only a vague sense of direction; to inhabit a piece that required my attention for a sustained period of time. Something that I can shape gradually, laboriously, like a loose garden, through a lot of trial and error.

Writing feels different now because this writing, the writing I love and practice in the late hours after the dishes are clean and the floor is swept, happens after that writing: response papers, proposals, close readings, revisions, emails. The scholarly and the creative have always been false categories, but institutional work has its way of imposing delineations despite what it preaches. I’ve been commiserating with K about ways to sustain creative projects when you can barely pull yourself out of bed to get groceries; it's kind of crazy to remember a time in my life when nanowrimo was not impossible, when I had the energy to collect 20+ poems (not matter that they were bad) into a zine over the course of a month.

Less a sprint, more a marathon, then. K described my recent late-hour scrawls as having the same energy as side quests in a game like botw: the things you do to avoid having to complete the main quest, or the things that turn out to be more fulfilling and interesting than reaching the finish line. Slower, a bit more anarchic, a bit more time spent with the world.

Anyway, I want to use this space to make tiny updates on poem progress, among other things. For now, thinking about Le Guin:

“When I came to write science-fiction novels, I came lugging this great heavy sack of stuff, my carrier bag full of wimps and klutzes, and tiny grains of things smaller than a mustard seed, and intricately woven nets which when laboriously unknotted are seen to contain one blue pebble, an imperturbably functioning chronometer telling the time on another world, and a mouse’s skull; full of beginnings without ends, of initiations, of losses, of transformations and translations, and far more tricks than conflicts, far fewer triumphs than snares and delusions; full of space ships that get stuck, missions that fail, and people who don’t understand. I said it was hard to make a gripping tale of how we wrested the wild oats from their husks, I didn’t say it was impossible. Who ever said writing a novel was easy?”