First day of school. I saw my two children off this morning with a mixture of elation and anxiety. (More time for writing! Will they be okay?) Ah, September, that time of renewal, a chance to honor sharpened pencils and crisp notebooks.
I have a few projects in the early stages and I’m excited to have more focused time to see what develops. But before I do… One of my yoga teachers asks that we always start our practice by setting an ‘intention’ so I thought I’d set down three for the coming few months:
1. Be social. I can be somewhat introverted at the best of times so one intention I am setting (not for the first time!) is to cultivate solitude without becoming a social hermit. (I have been told that being moody and conversationally monosyllabic are unattractive qualities in a human… Note to self: Why are so few writers known for their sunny dispositions?)
2. Play. Solid schedule, open methods. In other words, be sloppy at first, turn strange corners, stray and get lost, be unroutine (even anarchic) in my routines.
3. Pay attention. Don’t stop noticing. This isn’t about parsing each moment for potential dialogue or character attributes, but about living life with all senses OPEN and RECEPTIVE. Julian Barnes once said (and here I’m paraphrasing and probably incorrectly) that each book he wrote was a form of ‘diminished life’—a miniaturization of the real world AND a reminder of years given over to the work. i.e. Each book means you’re a little older at the end. So stay awake.
If you’re interested in how writers, artists, and other interesting people organize their days, my friend Kelsey sent me this fun link:
What you’ll discover (if you don’t already know it) is that there are no pristine working conditions. Life is always lurking, insinuating itself between the writer and the page—and thank goodness because that’s where most of us find our pulse and our fuel, not to mention, our best ideas.