Up to my armpits in spines
Grabbing handfuls of pencils
Sneezing out the dust of leaves
Finding what wasn’t lost
in a writer’s space like a cargo ship
Long ago sailed from some distant port
And now wanders, up and down, willy-nilly
Upon waves of an endless sea
On its way home wherever that might be
Partly a Writer’s Job
I’ve been spending a considerable time downstairs in my house where my atelier is located attempting to reorganize, reallocated and recycle two decades worth of papers, books, pens, music, hats and you name it. It’s very slow going. There’s a lot of stop and start due to the little discoveries along the way. My excavation has a similar ring to it like that of Paul Chowder, the narrator of Nicholson Baker’s novel The Anthologist: “I found many things I should have acted on a long time ago and have not…” For me, mostly old poems and stories, fragments galore.
Taking the Broom
It’s not all drudgery and heavy lifting, it’s also a way through whatever piece you might be working on at the time. Little known documents float up now and again, offering either inspiration or a usable passage from the sea of hooks (thanks Lindsay Hill). You find that cleaning up is as much of the writing process as sharpening pencils (or opening up your word processor) or drinking coffee. You come to know the phathoms, what rhyme and rhythm and reason are yours and as a result remind yourself who you are as a writer.