Friday, September 19, 2014

On Neighborliness, “Balance,” and the Unpredictable Timing of Creativity: A Note to Myself (and You, Too, If You Need It)

The ideal circumstances in which you can create include ample free time, an absence of worries, and at least one enthusiastic supporter cheering you on. You might experience that lucky combination—or even two of the three components—once in a very long while.

In your actual life, things break, neighbors need help, and work-as-obligation fills up the hours and then the calendar. The concept of “balance” becomes a glittery myth.

You do what you can. You attend to the broken things. You take care of your neighbors (and we are all neighbors). Joyfully (or sometimes begrudgingly), you pay your dues. You wedge your creative spurts into the cracks, and you relish each happy slice.

You learn to recognize those glorious moments when everything falls into place in spite of the circumstances, and then you get busy. You make hay—or poems or paintings or pots—while the sun shines.

You do your best. And you know what, kiddo?

That’s enough.

The quarry road tumbles toward me
out of the early morning darkness,
lustrous with frost, an unrolled bolt
of softly glowing fabric, interwoven
with tiny glass beads on silver thread,
the cloth spilled out and then lovingly
smoothed by my father’s hand
as he stands behind his wooden counter
(dark as these fields) at Tilden’s Store
so many years ago. “Here,” he says smiling,
“you can make something special with this.”
Ted Kooser, Winter Morning Walks: One Hundred Postcards to Jim Harrison

Book Giveaway reminder:
Enter by September 26 for a chance to win an autographed copy of Barbara Krasner’s picture book biography Goldie Takes a Stand!

Today’s Poetry Friday Roundup is at The Poem Farm. Enjoy!

JoAnn Early Macken

11 comments:

Esther Hershenhorn said...

Thanks, JoAnn, for this lovely affirmation.

Al Franken's Stuart Smalley comes to mind: And gosh darn it, I am enough! :)

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks for this lovely poem, JA, and for the reminder that doing our best is enough!

jama said...

Thank you for the wise, uplifting words and beautiful poem. It's human nature that we have to constantly remind ourselves that we are enough, that doing the best we can is enough.

Ramona said...

Love this post. Printing it for my writer's notebook! I love the phrase, "You wedge your creative spurts into the cracks.." So grateful for this community that nurtures my creative life.

Jill said...

Thanks for the reminder, JoAnn!

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater said...

"You do what you can. You attend to the broken things. You take care of your neighbors (and we are all neighbors). Joyfully (or sometimes begrudgingly), you pay your dues. You wedge your creative spurts into the cracks, and you relish each happy slice."

Thank you for this...and for Kooser too. So grateful am I for my Poetry Friday friends.

Bridget Magee said...

"That's enough." Exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you. =)

LInda Baie said...

This is the final post I think I'm reading today, and it's a perfect end to a busy day, filled with work and I know I have some writing to do later. Thanks for sharing how to take a deep breath! "You learn to recognize those glorious moments"-lovely.

Keri said...

Ah, yes, the glittery myth. Thanks for the encouragement today, and the beautiful Kooser poem.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Oh, JoAnn! This is definitely in my Top Ten of Helps-Me-To-Be-Gentler-On-Myself Blog postings.

"You take care of your neighbors (and we are all neighbors)"...is so very you.

<3

JoAnn Early Macken said...

Oh, I'm so glad to see that you guys recognized the dilemma I keep finding myself in--& than took the time to acknowledge that. Thank you all for being enthusiastic supporters cheering each other on!