Saturday, May 31, 2014

Learning How And What To Expect

Sometimes I get wrapped up in expectations. Occasionally everything goes well but often the expectations do not turn out as I might have expected. I think practicing art any art form with expectations is risky, but that is not an argument against planning and establishing  some level of expectations.

As I write this, I'm currently dog sitting and using this as a bit of a opportunity for a writing getaway. It's quite here, the dogs are pretty low maintenance compared with the dogs in our home.

I arrived last night with a variety of books (I always want books at arms reach when I am writing in case I need to pause and move my mind into something else - perhaps inspirational), my laptop, my  journal and a crispy clean refill for it in case I finish the remaining  pages.  I have my Kindle and the novel I am currently reading. I have a supply of diet cream soda and coffee. I have a hard copy of  my working  manuscript as well as the digital file on my  laptop. The only think missing that I can think of at this moment is I wish I had a glass of Chardonnay.

Yesterday afternoon I arrived. First order of business tend to the dogs. This did not take rocket science and everyone was soon chilling, including me. I found it difficult for some reason to find a rhythm that I felt could get me on track. I was like a pitcher throwing and not pitching. (sorry for the baseball analogy. Okay, you know me better so I'm not really all that sorry. Just a little bit). The difference between a pitcher throwing  and pitching is this - he can stand on the mound and direct the ball over the plate. That's throwing.  He can mentally decide where around the plate he wants to put the ball and how it arrives at the point. That's pitching!

I did not sleep well last night. At 2 or 2:30 I was still awake. Not because I was doing anything, but because I wasn't simply could not get my mind to shut off. Trust me, there was nothing spectacular going on in it. I changed where I was trying to sleep at and recall looking at the clock several times after that and finally at some point gravity got the best of my eyelids and I somehow fell asleep.

When I woke up this morning I was still tired. Got the dogs out and fed them. It was not until maybe 10 AM that I could begin to get on track with writing related tasks. I started the day feeling what the hell, and just try and relax and forget about any expectations. And to that aim I decided just to pick some individual poems at random and read them aloud - slowly, one after one. Soon I felt like moving on to my hard copy of my manuscript and reading each of these poems aloud. There is something about reading  your own work a long time after it was written. The perspective will sometimes shift. Sometimes you like it better. Sometimes not so much.

My point is that I have now eased myself into what I wanted to do after all - work on the manuscript and I found the way to get there in spite of how I got started off. Expectations always expose you to risk. The possibility that you might be disappointed in yourself for one. But that is how art is as well. It risks disappointing.

Sometimes things go as you wish but mostly not so. The important thing is to make the effort. Show up. That's a good part of the battle. And maybe that poem you are trying to write is not the poem that wants to be written. Sometimes our failed expectations provide something serendipitously  better then we had originally sought.    

If you'll excuse me now, my manuscript is calling again.
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