I've been a serious writer for two decades now, working within and around and through the distractions of babies, jobs, housework, farmwork. Yet for me this physical vigor has been an integral part of a writing life. Interruptions that might seem to impede writing--oh, no, the baby's awake and screaming; oh, no, we're out of bread and I need to bake; oh, no, the goat's busted down her fence and is standing in the garden eating a rosebush--have turned out to be indispensable to getting the work done. Yes, I've been able to reconfigure some of these incidents into subject matter. But more importantly, they have taught me that writing doesn't stop when I step away from my desk. As I wrestle with the goat or change the diaper or shape the dough into loaves, my ears and eyes are still polishing images and following cadences; disconnected thoughts are still adhering and dissolving. Not only does my cerebral curiosity cling to the task of composition, but the actions of my body seem to invigorate that curiosity.
So I can easily understand that a body's slowdown might equal a writer's slowdown. Donald Hall has chosen to stop writing poems; Philip Roth has chose to stop writing novels. I imagine that someday I, too, may choose to stop writing. Yet I do hope I will be able to shift graciously into some other joy. Adoring nothing would be a terrible end.