Re-entering Writing on a Friday Night

How do you re-enter your writing? Something so organic, after a pause? This question was posed to me during the Writer’s Retreat at Bard College’s Institute for Writing and Thinking. It was the third time I attended, and the instructor this time was Celia Bland. It was an excellent question for someone who has over the years worked in frenzied fits and starts, only to break off for long stretches and then return, ready, but unsure how to reconnect to the writing again.

The answer it seems, is that it’s much better to never leave off in the first place. I learned that this past year, when I had all the leisure in the world to write non-stop and yet would sometimes find days had gone by where I had planned and written around, but never written into my piece again.

So, if never stopping isn’t an option (though it’s always on my goal list to consider for the future) now that I’m back to working full time, I’m finding it best to slip in sideways, where the work is least expecting me. Sometimes questioning precious parts of it in writing, (we called it text explosion at Bard) and sometimes letting it be and getting on with what comes next. I’m even trying some longhand, just to mix things up. That visceral mind to hand to mechanical pencil to page connection made at Bard is hard to keep up with in real life, but sometimes it’s just the fit.

Tonight, I’m just glad I managed to write 6 pages on a Friday night, when I haven’t written in almost a week, and before that even longer. I’m getting back to me.

Moving Back In

You have to know when you take a year-long leave from your regular life that things won’t have just gone into suspended animation in your absence. I did know that, but seeing it is different. Seeing the weeds that come up to my waist and the accumulated junk from a lengthy garbage strike, and seeing broken bits and pieces and holes here and there, seeing nothing where I expected something, and plenty where I didn’t.
Dealing with all the minutia of returning to home and work after a year has been more physical than I would have imagined. More box lifting, more standing and bending to sort. Having barely walked the length of myself in Texas for the last few blistering hot months, it is liberating and limiting to spend so much time on my feet. I’ve got to get better at it – and quick!
So, instead of panicking, instead of feeling like everything and everyone should be the same, I have to let go and recognize that I’ve changed and that it’s entirely natural that everything and everyone around me would have continued their earthly revolutions as well. This change will soon be the new normal, so I’m going to move back in and find my place, one element at a time, and be grateful for the journey.