Wednesday, June 30, 2010

under the weather and overly ambitious

I don’t get sick very often. In fact, I think the last time may have been in 2006. However, it seems my luck has run out and what appeared to be just minor sniffles and sneezes is turning into a full-fledged summer cold. You know the kind that almost feels like the flu, with the achy headaches, stuffed sinuses, slight fever, and general worn out feeling? Yeah, that’s the one. That’s what I have. I’ve even named it. Fran. (Perhaps because of the ever-so-lovely nasal voice I have acquired in the process.)

It’s in moments like this I like to think of all the perks of working and writing from home. There’s the general assumption that we writers are able to luxuriously lay about, thinking of stories and poems and strange characters, only putting pen to paper when we’re so inclined… er, inspired… and yet… that’s only partially true.

Like anyone who is self-employed and works under the guidance of self-generated discipline, there are certainly perks but there are a few not-so-perky parts of the job as well. Such as, meeting deadlines even when one is under the weather. Such as, finishing up handouts for a class because tonight’s students are incredible and I don’t want to disappoint them. Such as, checking things off the to-do list even though I’d love nothing more than to curl up with a bowl of chicken soup, and drowse off while watching some mindless movie from the comfort of my couch.

Alas, the luxuries will wait. I can’t call in to my boss (the bossier version of my writer self) and request the day off. Not today. Maybe this weekend, but not today. Today I will finish preparing for tonight’s Intro Creative Writing class. Today I will clear my to-do list of a few journal deadlines I promised to meet. Today I will make notes of what else needs to be done to get the summer issue of Poets’ Quarterly out *almost* on time next week. It’s what we writers do.

We write when we’re less than inspired, because the habit is a choice and a commitment we must give our all to. We write when we have a deadline, because we don’t always have the luxury of having a deadline. We write because, even when under the weather, words just feel good when they form something beyond us on paper.

This weekend? Yes, this weekend I will take a breather. That is, if my sinuses clear.

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