This morning I'll do some editing and laundry and final class prep and then after lunch I'll head north to Wellington, where I'll spend the night before teaching at Monson Arts in the morning. I'm looking forward to all of it: friends, kids, poems, and the homeland. I'll arrive bearing a loaf of fresh-baked bread, and we'll wander down into the garden, or maybe up the gravel road, and the darkness will roll in, and the fires will be lit, and food will glow on the plates, and outside my bedroom window the stars will rush and an owl will cry.
After weeks of prep, waterline replacement has finally begun in earnest on my Portland street. So life is jackhammery down here, and my front garden is not so fun to hang out in. But from my study I look out into the back garden, at the new shrubs beneath the massive maples, the bird feeder with its annoying squirrel, the little mixed flock of town birds--cardinals, woodpeckers, nuthatches, titmice--that flutter among the branches, the chipmunk bustling from woodpile to stone wall.
I was able to steal an hour yesterday to work on my poem draft, so I'll be leaving home with a light heart, writing-wise . . . a new piece to carry along with me, whether I look at it or not . . . the secret happiness of knowing that the work is bubbling up, quietly, and waiting for me.
I wonder if what I wrote here yesterday about my practice was annoying. I didn't mean it to sound gloating or instructional or anything of that kind. Mostly I suddenly realized that I was intrigued by the flexible notion of practice. When I was a kid with a violin, it meant standing in the living room for an hour and running through a prescribed list of teacher orders: scales, exercises, etudes, pieces, ad infinitum. But that's not anything like what practice means for me as a writer. Yes, I write every day. But I don't make art every day, or even try to. And the shifts among rigor/non-rigor, audience/no audience, edited/not edited . . . that seems important somehow, and I'm curious about why and how. Still, I'm sorry if I was irritating.