What are you making? (The November 2016 edition)

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I’m trying to be a little more open with my definition of “creating.” I’ve been fairly rigid with it my whole life; if it didn’t involve visual art or writing, I didn’t really give myself credit. What does that even mean? Credit? I suppose what I mean is I’ve measured much of my success by the number of poems (or paintings or collages or whatever I was intent upon) I’ve produced.

To a degree, I’m still doing that and calling it accountability. For example, I tell myself to sit down and write a certain number of times each week (or perish!). Accountability’s not a bad thing, but I’m more interested right now in creating a life that nurtures me *and* my poems, not just the poems. I’m not sure if it’s a sign of wisdom or if it’s surrender. Likely, it’s necessity.

And so I’m getting creative in the kitchen, too, making healthy colorful food (the photo above is some of the “fixings” for a kale, cabbage and noodle salad with an Asian-inspired dressing; some of the ingredients are from my current CSA). I’m making space for running and for struggling with running. I’m making connections.* I’m making an effort to be more present, more grounded, more at peace, more adventurous (both in spirit and in practice). I’m making room for my clumsiness with family, friendships and romance.  I’m making moments with my boys really count.

Yes, I’m still “making” poems a few times a week and I’m still trying to make the current manuscript better. But what I’m really called to put energy right now is into building a scaffold — something I can move around depending on my focus, something I can climb on, something makes the work easier to get to, something that supports me.

Just last night after spending a good bit of time in the kitchen making dinner and prepping some food for the week, I felt like I needed to sit down with the computer and write a poem. After all, I half intended to write a poem-a-day in November, and it was day one. How could I bail day one? Well, I did. And it’ll be ok. It doesn’t mean I can’t pick up the effort. Instead of making a poem, I hung out with the boys in the living room. I called it “making room to be still,” and I forgave myself the “lack” of writing. And I forgave myself the inclination to focus on where I am lacking. I’m not lacking or slacking. I’m choosing something else that also has merit. My scaffold. My (new) rules.

What are you making right now? Actual projects? Something less tangible? Tell me all the things.

*One connection is actually a re-connection with Ren Powell, a blogging pal from the old gang! We’d kept in touch loosely through social media, but now we’ve started a blog post-based correspondence. The first letter is here: On the Question of What to Say. Watch for my response shortly!

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