Rationalizing

Star was kind enough to track down the Joyce Carol Oates quote I mentioned in my last post. It’s about, not from, her, but I think it’s the same thing I heard:

Resolute: That’s the word. Because Oates writes relentlessly, wherever she is, amid whatever else is going on in her life. It doesn’t matter if she’s here in Princeton, where she lives with her husband, editor and publisher Raymond Smith, in the comfortable ranch home at wood’s edge. Doesn’t matter if she’s waiting in an airport or in line at the dry cleaners. Doesn’t matter if she’s tired or sick.

From “A Warrior for Truth” in the Chicago Tribune.

I have more to think on about this whole topic, thanks to another comment left in LJ-syndication land (by She Who Must Not Be Named, hee hee, I love that), because I think I’m not framing the problem correctly.

I’m not disappointed or worried that writing has gone from being a hobby to a “profession” (can’t take the quotes away until there’s money behind it, right?). I’m just not sure how to do it, yet. I’m used to writing in the dark, to writing on the edges of my notes for (practical) classes, to writing things that will never, ever have to go beyond my own imagination and my own comfortable computer screen. What makes it hard, now, is that it’s still hard-wired, somewhere within me, that writing can’t be work; writing is what you do after everything else is done. It wasn’t hard to move it to the forefront last term, because there aren’t that many distractions in a town where you know no one and have nothing to do. But I went home for break and it was reinforced, again, that writing is the stuff that falls to the background (consider the introductions that my parents both gave at separate gatherings: she is studying writing but also teaching at Oregon. Never was the teaching not mentioned, because teaching is a practical skill).

This may also be why writing at home doesn’t seem to work out for me except at the very, very end of the day: it’s one part that the house is full of fun distractions and three parts that the house is full of pressing distractions: laundry, kitchen to be cleaned, art projects scattered in the living room, papers to grade and write and read, etc.

The nice way to end this rationalizing-not-writing post is to say I did get some writing done today (at Starbucks). Huzzah.

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