On Timing

It is, of course, the last of the year. This is the day that we finish things, or we lament what we have not finished, or, perhaps most commonly, we ignore all of the unfinished things in that chrome-bright anticipation for tomorrow, for starting new things. All around the interwebs, we lay out our new clothes for tomorrow (I’m laying out my Mario Lemieux jersey), we prepare new journals and planners (Jackie at Letters & Journals has given me the urge to organize my paper-based life), we resolve, resolve, resolve. We have hope. It is glorious and invigorating, and I try so hard to save that feeling up, to say, I will hit the ground absolutely pell-mell this year.

I am, of course, not at all immune to any of these things. I’ll spare you my resolutions: I break so many.

But I started a new thing today, a new written thing, and I don’t even know what to call it. It thought at first it was some sort of prose poem or at the very least an experimental sort of narrative. It thought it was short. One version of it may, of course, be short. But short narratives don’t sit well in my soul, and so it may become quite long (it wants a novel, of course it wants a novel, I am desperately sick of things that want a novel because one can’t write six things at once that are all three hundred pages long and research-intensive, and yet that’s what I love, and so I continue to be convinced that writing is the most contrary of actions anyone could take).

I started the new thing in a new journal, too (one I’d meant to save for something else, but I don’t remember what the something else was, and so this new thing trumps the unknown), a lined 8×5 Rhodia. I had wanted to do my new writing for the year with one of the new inks, but the Lamy Studio was waiting, full of Levenger Cobalt, and there was no sense in waiting, in giving the idea a chance to squirm away.

I should, of course, know this already. I have read Annie Dillard.

“One of the things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better.” ~The Writing Life

But the real point of this is this: it is the day for finishing, tomorrow is the day for starting, but I’m starting today. I am hoping the momentum carries me forward. The method is something like the writerly advice to stop in the middle of the sentence when it’s time to quit: if one always does that, there is always a place to start.

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