Thursday, December 14, 2017

Michael Dennis : My writing day.

Depending on whether my wife needs a drive to work or not my day starts anywhere from 6:30 until 8:30.  When K can ride her bike to work I generally sleep in until she has left the house so she has the place to herself in the morning.  If I am driving K I need to get up earlier and am usually return around 8:30.

My writing day also depends on whether or not I am posting a blog/review on my site "Today's book of poetry".  If it is a blog day then that usually takes me to noon. 

Most days I have dishes to do, at least some light housework.  Laundry days are busier.  The day after laundry day I fold the laundry and put it away.  That usually takes a few hours. 

I usually cook us dinner on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evening.  Wednesday K is at choir and I eat on my own.  Friday is almost always a delivery of pizza or chicken or Chinese food.  Sunday is always dinner with K's mother.  She lives close by so in the summer we often BBQ and take something over.  Normally K cooks here, sometimes she cooks at her mother's residence.  Either way, Sunday is always dinner with Ann.  And Saturday is up for grabs.  The season has a lot to do with where and how I cook.  We BBQ almost every night in the summer.  Winter it's indoors.

Of course I have to shop before I cook.  And there are the various other chores that need doing around the house.  I'm a "house-husband", whatever that it.  K has a real job and pays all the bills.

I try to have the table set and supper ready to go when K gets home.  Dinner is something we both enjoy.  There is usually some wine.  We have a couple of books we read from before dinner most nights.  And if we can, we languish over dinner until bedtime.  Otherwise K looks after her business and I look after mine.

I have a reading schedule dictated by the blog I do and my interest in reading as much poetry as possible.  The night before I have to write a blog I read the book in question for the second time, make my notes, plan the blog and then I read for pleasure.  It could be another book of poetry that has nothing to do with the blog, a novel (I always have two or three on the go), or any other sort of book.  And to clear my palette before sleep I always read an author and a book that I know will give me comfort one way or another.  Right this minute I'm reading Alistair MacLeod's short stories.  I read them for the first time many years ago when they were first published and I've read them all several times since.  MacLeod is one of the best.

On the nights when I don't have to write a blog/review the next morning I always take three or four recent arrivals for the blog and give them a read.  When I'm done those, Alistair.

I write poems any time.  I love writing when we travel, when we are at a cottage.  I write in bed often, almost always at night.  I have a lovely office arranged just so and I write there all the time.  I usually write poems in longhand although I'm a very good typist.  Not a good speller but a good typist.  I have a special notebook that I've used in recent years for poems, but I also always have a regular notebook with me most of the time and write poems in that from time to time.  Usually I write my poems on the backs of scrap paper I've collected.  I keep a big stack of scrap paper in my office.  Some of it is from manuscripts I've been sent over the years, dozens and dozens of those.  I write in the morning at my desk or sometimes the kitchen table and sometimes, if the weather is nice I write outside on our front porch.  I write in the afternoon, usually at my desk.  I write in the evening but only if K is not home or if we aren't doing something together, that's always a priority.  I write when K is busy in the evening with other things. 

I've written poems in the backs of cars, buses, trucks and trains.  I've written poems on airplanes as well, but not many.  I've written poems when no one was watching while at work on other jobs.  I've borrowed paper, borrowed pens and run all the way home to write poems.  The running part was several knee operations ago.  Now running is not in my vocabulary but it is in my memory.

I have no rules about how, when, where or why I write poems.  I never seem to have enough time.  I never seem to write as many poems as I want.  I'm frequently afraid I'm not writing enough.  But whenever I look in my file of new poems it turns out there are plenty there. 

Michael Dennis is a poet from Ottawa, Ontario. He has published seven books of poetry and nearly twenty chapbooks, and has been widely published in Canadian literary magazines and journals. For the last three years Dennis has been the labour behind Today's Book of Poetry, a regular blog where Dennis talks about books of poetry he likes. Dennis has posted over 450 blogs/reviews of Canadian and American small press poetry. These days he can be found in Vanier, keeping his laneway clean.

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