Aug 11: Living Quietly, Writing Hard

Finally I’ve got a number of chores accomplished. Tonight is for relaxation, for living quietly. Meantime, I’m writing, by God. Seventy drafts and counting. Now, it doesn’t of course mean all 70 are collection-worthy but I have never in my life been so aggressive. Always wanted this. Always. I dreamed of having one of those stretches where it’s all about poems and nothing else, and, again, I feel like Lisa’s letting me have this so I am biting down like a gila monster. “No weak links,” as ol’ Scott Bloomquist would have it. Lisa loved Scott, BTW, and as ever with her did not care shit who didn’t like it. She loved, and that, sports fans, was that. And she was much like him.

So I behave the same. I wake, I write until I can’t write anything more, then I sleep. There is nothing else. Some days I don’t eat, simply because I can’t face the idea. Wine instead. Then sleep. The next morning I’m less hungry than nauseous. But O God I can’t face eating.

But by God I write, I write. I’ve begun the process of second-drafting, but this first-draft period has been so energizing that for the first time in my life I’ve felt what Lowell spoke of when during the Notebook/History process he said he “couldn’t stop writing,” and “treated the book as though it was manuscript.” I’ve finally, finally had a taste of that.

I have never used cocaine. I have never felt the curiosity for it, to be honest. Robin Williams’ take has always spoken for me: “Anything that makes you paranoid and impotent, give me more of that!” This is the closest I have ever/could ever come to what I imagine that high must be like, this period of work. It really is the writing intensive I’ve always wanted.


About johnwylam1957

I'm a poet and teacher now living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
This entry was posted in Life "After", On Lisa's Death: Trying to Survive the Unsurvivable. Bookmark the permalink.

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