Oh my goodness – it’s Spring!
Much of this year seemed to pass in a blur of work – I joined a small writer’s group with some ex-colleagues and friends which met every Tuesday to write. We’re in recess at the moment as the two other members are overseas. (I did say small!) That meant that I actually did quite a lot of writing early in the year, and quite a bit of revising, without thinking too much about it. I also took on an extra regular teaching job – teaching two different poetry classes once a week at a Commmunity Centre/Neighbourhoood House. That has been an ongoing joy – devoting more time to both teaching and reading and writing poetry – which I tend to neglect during the normal TAFE teaching year.
I also had a large editing job on my new novel – Lisette’s Paris Notebook. Again, it was an ongoing joy – I love revision. I love making the thing I’ve written and dreamed stronger, more watertight and more polished. But I was also secretly mortified that it needed quite so much editing, although my editor assured me that it that this wasn’t by any means a big edit in their terms. (Which just made me wonder what a big edit would turn out to be!) Secretly I want to turn in perfect manuscripts, as I once heard the late Barbara Hanrahan did – stories of precise beauty, each word fitted into the picture of the whole and nothing out of place.
So, in many ways, it’s been a rich writing and learning year so far. There is, as there always is, a struggle for balance – but, if I look back on what I’ve achieved this year, I can see that I’ve been able to put writing first in many instances and, although the results aren’t entirely there yet, a lot of writing and revising has been accomplished.
I think some elements of my niggling feelings that I’m not creating the perfect creative life for myself come from that word – perfect. It’s easy to get caught up in the glossy presentations of others’ lives – a little like looking up from a copy of Vogue Living to catch sight of your own unswept kitchen floor, the dying yellow carnations on the bookcase and the bits of sewing strewn over the couch your daughter rescued from the hard rubbish.
What is the perfect creative life?
Not a good question. Perhaps it is more interesting and useful to ask myself, what is it that I currently miss in my creative life? But if I ask this question once again because it does seem the always question in my life – I don’t want to say ‘time’. Which is my always answer.
No, I want to dig deeper than that. I can make time.
So, what do I currently miss in my creative life?
And surprisingly, the answers that float to the surface are not about time, but about space. Space and order. Notebooks and art materials where I can find them easily. Material stashed in plastic boxes by colour or season. Knitting needles stored by size.
A place to work which is away from the computer.
Places, in other words, for dreaming and playing.
Looks like today is a cleaning-up, ordering kind of day. Good thing The Accountant has a tax lunch and won’t be around to see the inevitable chaos that comes before order!
What do you miss in your creative life?