Friday, February 11, 2011

Honoring our creative efforts as work

My New Year's intention is to live spaciously and that has meant, primarily, reorganizing how I use my time. I have a calendar policy and a new way to approach my to-do list. Both of them are intended to help me honor my creative efforts as work.

By that, I don't mean lumping my creative work into the burden of work, or the drudgery of tasks, or the overwhelm of too many promises made. Instead, I mean giving my creative work as much time and energy and pride of place in my calendar as my paid work gets. And while I'm not doing creative work every day (maybe some day!), I am doing creative work far more often. This week, I spent a total of 6 hours doing visual art and 3 hours writing poems in a week that had a huge stack of paid projects waiting.

Because I had honored my calendar policy (no appts on Monday and Friday and no more than two on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday), I could create some time to play.

My new to-do list helps too. I have two sets of items, Work and Self-Care, on the list, and cannot have more than 3 discrete items in each group for the day. Creative work can go in either place, depending on what it is. Writing efforts usually go under Work, since I consider myself primarily a writer. Visual art usually goes under self-care, for it helps me stay in balance. So this week, collage work showed up twice under Self-Care and writing poems showed up twice in the Work column.

It helps me make sure that this gets the priority attention that I want it to have instead of just getting stuck somewhere down the line on the master to-do list. It's a system that seems to be working well.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The poetry challenge

I have been finding it really fun and fascinating to write poetry the last 5 weeks. I don't consider myself much of a poet, though I am drawn to it. Taking the challenge with Sage Cohen for January prompted me to put writing 100 poems on my 2011 wish list and so far I've written 37. I'd like it to become a habit--writing a poem or two every couple of days. It's a very interesting way to see the world, to capture verbal snapshots of feelings or experiences or observations. Our last poem for Sage's class was to write about our relationship with poetry. Here's what I wrote:

I chanced upon four lines of verse

Nestled in a carton of colored eggs
And I resurrected my life poetic.
Sacred lines they were
The breath of the heart, the soul, the mind
Calling me in, calling me out
Of story.
I’d been telling stories
Of my life, of those I met, of those I made up
And I longed to twist the language
Inside out, upside down, right side round
To imagine the image, subdue the syllable, master the metaphor

Something had long slept in me
Known only as literature
Not as the living breath
Of the heart, the soul, the mind

Rising slowly, stretching,
It placed a soft paw on my cheek
And I began to write.