August 4, 2006
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Writing Time

Diane Greco (August 3) responds to my irritation with Writing Down The Bones.

The most difficult problem I've had as a writer has been structuring my life so that writing happens on a daily basis. This is actually more difficult than it sounds. For me, it's been necessary to make my life much quieter and more predictable than it has ever been -- from the local decibel level to what's in the fridge...

Jane just ran in, shouting. Sigh. Even the best-laid plans, etc.

I write this blog on the sly, during moments stolen from other things -- from the books, mostly, but also from MJ, & from Jane. Which is awful. I've been feeling guilty about how infrequent my posts have been, too. Anyway -- lightning just flashed outside the window, here comes the rain -- my point is, Natalie Goldberg isn't wrong about how hard writing is. But she's right for the wrong reasons.

(Do read the whole post, and notice how well Greco uses a framing story, even in the tiny narrative space of a blog post.)

I don't think you can steal your time from others. It's not their time.

Not the fruit of experience, but experience itself, is the end. A counted number of pulses only is given to us of a variegated, dramatic life. How may we see in them all that is to seen in them by the finest senses? How shall we pass most swiftly from point to point, and be present always at the focus where the greatest number of vital forces unite in their purest energy? -- Walter Pater 

(I know you can feel guilty about doing this, but that's another story. My people knows a lot about feeling guilty, and not being able to steal something doesn't mean you can't feel guilty about it.)

The quotation above is from Landow's The Victorian Web. While all the Wikipedians are celebrating here in Boston, they should raise a glass to Landow, who pedagogical webs and theoretical writings laid the intellectual foundations for Wiki in schools and universities.