Things to do when I’m not writing

Looking through the lens of the present at my past entries, I note a few different themes: the desire to write, berating my lack of discipline, some jealousy at other people who write more, and the sense of drifting away from old friendships. The last subject I see as both true and false: I still have that sense of drifting out of contact and yet, through the fairly recently discovered skype, and occasional visits or e-mails, an old friendship becomes suddenly immediate.

That’s not a bad segueway into today’s list: if I’m not working on creative writing, what am I doing? A partial list:

  • Keeping in touch with old friends, mostly e-mail, some skype these days, and I’ve been trying to revive the art of the telephone call, even though the time zones make it difficult in Australia (but how the costs have come down from years ago!)
  • Getting together with friends in Australia – mostly dinner and drinks.
  • Time with my boyfriend
  • Exercise
  • Feeding myself, cleaning and tidying surroundings
  • Making lists of things to do
  • Occasional shows, movies, and other entertainment
  • Work. Preparing for work travel.
  • Keeping in touch with my family.
  • Trying to keep my webpage up to date, mostly photos of my niece and nephew

I often thought that if I worked on something related to writing, then it could count as creative production. So:

  • Writing reviews and short essays
  • Editing and organising previous work or work in progress
  • Reading other people’s writing

But I’m not sure how much that has really contributed to my own work. Meanwhile, I’ve been self-critical in the last few week: how am I going to get writing this year? What am I going to do? Why don’t I have any ideas?

But three nights ago, as I was about to go to sleep, I started playing a quick, bright melody on the piano. When I lay down to sleep, lyrics started coming. First, I recorded some of them on my voice recorder (one doesn’t say tape recorder anymore, does one, when there is no longer tape in them?). And then, too tired to get up and sit at the piano, I grabbed my notebook of songs, scribbled down the rest of the lyrics and finally went to sleep. I sometimes have to work at finding another verse, or spend time rewriting lyrics, but no, this one can out pretty much perfectly and so fast it surprised me. The next day, I added a simple bridge, transposed it to a better key for my voice, and voilá!

I was reminded that during times in my life when I write songs, I really don’t write much literary work – and vice-versa, and I should be grateful for my creativity, and if songs come out instead of stories, let it be. Singing words of wisdom, let it be.

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