Friday, August 15, 2008


I turned 65 in December and have been thinking that I ought to make some changes in my life.

So I joined the Y and hired a personal trainer, a very nice and encouraging young woman.

And I have taken a couple of classes at The Loft, which is a local center devoted to writing. My idea has been to go into these classes as a beginner, without dragging my history as a writer along, and see what happens. Maybe I will discover new things about myself.

The first class was on poetry. I wrote more poetry than I usually do, and at least one poem that was not my usual kind of work.

The second class was on overcoming "Writer's Resistance." I took it partly because it was at a good time for me, and partly because I don't think I write enough. I wouldn't call it writer's block. It's more like writer's sluggishness. I suspect the main cause is working 30+ hours a week.

But I also suspect there are other reasons why I drag my heels when it comes to writing. So the class seemed like a good idea.

I found it very hard to follow through on the teacher's good suggestions, and I'm still trying. She feels that making commitments and keeping them is really important. Tell yourself that you will write at least 15 minutes every day and then do it, come rain or shine. Make the commitment small and manageable, rather than large and scary. You can do extra, if you want to. But always do the 10 or 15 minutes you said you would do.

Doing the writing, which she calls product, is not easy. I'm writing a fair amount right now, but not according to the pattern I have committed to, as part of the class. I seem to be deliberately not following the teacher's suggestion. "Here's a story, but -- hah! -- I did it without following the rules."

Even harder are the other commitments she suggested: time spent at 'process,' work done playfully, with no intention of getting any kind of product; and time spent at 'destruction,' which she suggested might be cleaning, getting rid of clutter, or pulling weeds in the garden.

I don't have a garden, but I certainly have plenty of files that could be gone through, both paper and electronic. Boy, is it hard for me to spend even 10 or 15 minutes clearing that stuff out.

'Process' is a problem for me, because I am not playful.

Her final commitment is 'self-care,' and this is easy right now, because I am going to the Y.

I think she is on to something, so I am trying to keep a list of what I'm doing every day in the way of self-care, process, product and destruction, aka cleaning. None of it is easy, but I am ending with a cleaner home. Though I am still avoiding the files.


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