I have always been envious of poets who have an actual “Writing Practice.” Those who block off time, sit diligently for hours, writing, thinking… It is these poets who work hard and who get recognized fast.
I will not call what I do a “practice,” although the Zen idea of living in the moment has, indeed, been called a practice. I do not schedule when I write. I can honestly say that I live from one moment to the next and have difficulty planning ahead for more than one or two days. As such, the writing that I do comes furiously in sporadic moments, and I can write 50 pages in 2 days. I don’t usually edit much afterwards. The words and lines spill out pretty well-formed. I may change a word here and there, but I never tinker with the structure.
Margaret Atwood once spoke about the “Thumb of God” touching her, and yes, I believe there is an area somewhere, unseen and unheard, that houses the wily energy of creation. I write in many styles, assume different voices, adhere to many philosophies. I believe in fluidity and the unavoidable mix of good and evil, I write because, when the time comes, I must.
From Such a Winter, a manuscript I wrote yesterday, when I was not doing something else…
What can be done
To find the body and mind in sync
Division divided by
The steps of
Shaking the earth like
This pressure to complete
Why do we love?
Eleni Zisimatos is Co-Editor-in-Chief of the poetry magazine, Vallum, in Montreal. She was nominated for a National Magazine Award, and was a finalist for the Robert Kroetsch Award and two Irving Layton Awards. www.vallummag.com.