Committed to the Work
Sometimes blog day rolls around and I have no desire to write a column. But I’ve made a commitment, I tell myself. And so I push the words out.
That’s not much different from any other writing we do. Poetry does not always show up when we have the time to write or when our scheduled appointment with our own desk happens to be. We show up for other jobs, grousing all the way if it’s something as mundane as laundry or mowing the lawn or taking the dog to the vet, and grumbling under our breath if it’s something that we must perform for a boss of some sort. But writing, which can be a glorious job or a terrible one, doesn’t always fall neatly into a category if that writing is creative work that we perform under our own supervision.
Which takes me sort of indirectly to a column I read today. While looking for a spark to jump start my own column, I found an article in the Poetry Foundation‘s archives by Stephen Burt titled, “Art vs. Laundry,” that discusses how a writer’s devotion to the art of writing stacks up against the other requirements one must meet in daily life. It talks about the value of writing/art in general. I run into this question all the time on Wednesdays, my designated blog posting days. Who have I made this commitment to and is it really more important than getting something else done on Wednesdays?
I’ve made the commitment to myself, for starters. This is part of the work I do as a writer, whether it matters to anyone else or not (and I hope someone is reading who cares a little). It is part of my process. I’ve made the commitment to anyone who stumbles across my blog, notes that new postings are added at least weekly, and returns to see what happens. I’ve made the commitment to my family, who gives me space for this project on Wednesdays. And I’ve made the commitment to people on the other end of any links I post on this blog site. So that settles that part of the equation.
This is part of my work. But a blog doesn’t really pay the mortgage. Neither does a single poem in and of itself. Neither does a single painting an artist sweats over and reworks until it looks right. What this blog is, really, is part of the larger conversation that writers everywhere engage in. And that is hard to put any sort of price tag on. That conversation needs to happen no matter what else is going on, no matter how much I might be needed for some other task.
And what would make me stop writing? What would make you stop writing? What would any of us refuse to give up and what would we sacrifice for our writing?
I guess this whole question is a lot like figuring out what we sacrifice for love.
DO A KIND THING LINK:
There have been a number of news stories lately that brought tears to my eyes over the way kids are sometimes treated in our society. Most of us go about our lives without coming up against a really dreadful child abuse situation. For those who are not so lucky, there are people and agencies out there who try to help. One of those agencies is CornerHouse, a nonprofit located in south Minneapolis. CornerHouse offers a safe place for children to tell the story of their abuse, be believed, and get help. Check out their site here.