I see a graph that maps out the past ten years of writing more or less daily. This thirty thousand foot view shows patterns of rise and fall of creative impulse, flow and energy for writing. There are situational daily and weekly fluxes of course, depending on mood, whim and the state of my metabolism–physical and otherwise. Then, there are the annual patterns.
The peaks seem to come in the late fall and winter; the troughs, in summer and early fall. Like now.
Some of this seasonal vacillation I can understand. The heat and lethargy of summer; the unending obligation to whack weeds and cut grass and fix small engines; and then the dreaded fecundity of the garden, during which we reap what we have sewn and must deal with the consequences of a more or less successful garden. Early mornings when it is cool becomes the time to work outdoors, not the customary time to browse, collect, think and write.
This year, there’s the added attraction of the dog, still in her puppyhood, demanding my attention in such a way that she is not to be denied. She remains high maintenance, so everything else in life moves down a notch.
I stopped writing towards news column deadlines, so have no fixed obligations to do the work. Too much freedom from obligation can make one lazy and unfocused.
And new and unwelcome this year, as I’ve elaborated, is the ungodly and unending noise from down the road with the windows necessarily open of a morning, the incessant felling of former trees by the deforestation project, soon to be followed by the joinery and carnage of building a house in that location.
So given these recurrent patterns and these special circumstances, I should cut me some slack for being such a slacker. Or so I tell myself this morning.
I do, however, wonder if I’ll ever regain my writer’s mojo and finish even a small project like the essays that evolved every two weeks for the seven years I wrote the “Road Less Traveled” for the Floyd Press.
I’d like to think third time’s charm. I have thought with greater or lesser hope depending on peak or trough that there might be a third book. In fact, I’ve conceived of several, all with their special merits and challenges. They have places in my writing outline:
1) A Floyd County Almanac: Our Planet, Our Place, Our Time
2) Field Notes from a Small Planet: A Personal Ecology for the Anthropocene
3) Above Earth’s Lamentation: A Novel from the Hopeful Future
I once would have written often about the writing towards any of these projects, but today, not so much. Mostly I write here as a brain dump for whatever crosses my mind during the quiet mornings when there is no grass to cut, no trees falling in the forest, no dog nipping at my elbows, no beans waiting to be snapped, and a full pot of coffee. Of all that, there is at least the coffee.