Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Biting Off More Than I Can Chew

The notion of bundling myself under blankets with my books is becoming more and more appealing. I need to start organizing my time better to really accomplish everything I want to do. During the week, I spend nearly ten hours a day away from my house. I know... I can hear your tiny violins, and I also know that I don't have as long or frustrating a commute as many people do, but I still find it difficult to cram into the morning whatever I need to do before work. I mean the time for me. I've given up on my morning yoga, and I am lucky if I can churn out a few morning couplets. I usually leave the house with wet hair and a packed shoulder bag (containing a novel, writer's magazine or notebook for lunchtime). I also faithfully cart around a few copies of my poetry book, A Mother's String, just in case. It is always the way -- as soon as I don't have a copy with me, I meet someone who is interested in buying my book. This rarely happens when I do have my book with me. I wouldn't call this Murphy's Law, but it is definitely annoying.

On the writing front, I may be biting off a little more than I can chew. At least it seems that way at the moment. My husband cooks dinner (I am the luckiest woman in the world!) most nights to allow me the time to write. More thinking and structured planning happens than actual writing, but I do get down some thoughts and decent passages. My poems are usually written at my Waywords group, or unexpected moments. I am currently chipping away at a novella, and I am patiently awaiting the first draft of my novel to be printed in book form for review. I have also committed to writing several book reviews for the Pacific Rim Review of Books (PRRB), and I recently submitted an application for a Canada Council grant to assist in research for my second novel. All of these words, places, characters and story lines are swimming around in my head. I try to ignore the quiet, nagging guilt of trying to write rather than cook for my husband. Yet, I make sure our house is relatively clean and organized. I can't help but think: "I hope this means my work will be published someday".

Room to Write

by Andrea McKenzie Raine

You smell like ashes, your hair is all tangled and you are wearing a dirty old paper bag. Come back when you look like a real princess.
- The Paper Bag Princess

The rest of the house sneers –
who is she to leave hairs in the bathtub,
to leave the unpacked boxes,
to stay absorbed in her books?

Your words smell like ashes, your stanzas are all tangled –
come back when you are a real poet

I look at all my smelly words.

I told someone about my new writing room,
and she said, “Oh, how wonderful
to have a room where you can shut the door.”
But I never do.
I think of how I might be
shutting something out, or in –

I look at all my messy stanzas.

In my room, I bristle a little,
at any intrusion. I fly around
until I am dizzy.

My elbows poke at the four corners of this paper-bag fortress
with its unguarded border; how easily I could flee.
Instead, the room reins me in and marks this territory.

Enough! I puff out my chest, let fly my fiery words
and slay the critic, the cynic, and all the dirty rascals.

No comments: