Every ounce of writerly energy I have went into the two major projects I had to finish before the end of this month. One of them was finished at the end of January, and the other was finished at two o’clock on Tuesday. There’s been no other writing, no time or words to spare for any other purpose. It’s difficult to push that hard for that long and then stop. I have a terrible impulse to find something else to throw myself into right away. I’ve had this feeling before.
When I finished my PhD, it took me about two years to realize that I could be permitted to take a day here and there without working. Apparently, this tendency has something to do with psychic machinery which seeks to recreate the recent experience. So, I’m having to take a bit of time to resist because if I don’t, how will I ever open up the space to allow thoughts and ideas to come of their volition and in their own time. I want to be able to hear them coming, like Rilke did.
Whatever it is that comes next, I want it to be something that offers itself rather than something I lunge at just because I feel a need to be doing. I’m trying to learn that the waiting is part of the doing, and that’s very new to me. It’s hard to think of doing nothing as doing something. I’ve been writing to make a living for the past few months, and that’s creative, too. I enjoy it, and it has its lessons, too. But I am waiting for something that is mine, as the long poem was mine, to ask me to write it. It won’t do that unless I quiet myself enough for it to emerge.