19 November 2010

faced with a choice, i choose chicken

Today, I am faced with a choice: write a little or eat fried chicken.

When it comes down to it, there are always things to do instead of write. What those things are changes on a day-by-day basis, and they change as you go through different chunks of your life.

Sometimes it's the dust on top of the bookshelf that keeps you from writing; other times it's reading a book with someone else's writing {that sounds better and truer than your writing} that keeps you from writing.

You know all the right advice: to get better at writing, you must do it consistently. You must do it when you don't feel like it. You must do it when you cringe at every word that comes out of your head. You must do it when it's easy, and you must not be daunted by the enormity of the task, this getting yourself or your idea or that pesky character who's been running circles in your head onto paper.

But still.

There will always be things that are more appealing than writing. For me this morning, it's fried chicken.

A Chick-Fil-A just opened down the street from my office, and I'm reminded how much this suburb of mine works like a small town. Ever since we heard the rumor that Chick-Fil-A was moving in, this has been prime conversation around town. I've talked about it at church, at choir practice, at the gym, at the office.

I'm reminded of a line from The Music Man: Prof. Harold Hill, who's just arrived in little River City, Iowa, asks his friend Marcellus, "What do people talk about around here? What's new in town?"

And Marcellus answers, "Well, there's the weather. When it's in season."

For months, it seemed that Chick-Fil-A came up whenever someone was asked, "What's new in town?" As if we had nothing else interesting going on in our own lives, but hey, did you hear that soon we'll have another fried chicken option?

Chick-Fil-A officially opened last week, and so this week, they're giving away free breakfasts. If I time it right, I can swing by there before heading into work for the day, but in order to make it on time, I'll need to forgo my plan of having a concentrated, long-ish time of writing.

But right now, eating a chicken sandwich sounds more appealing, and so off I go, leaving you with two poems: one by Tess Gallagher and one by me {one written kind of in response to Tess Gallagher's poem. The idea of her poem, the feeling it evoked in me, was floating around my head one day, and this is the poem that came out.}

First, the not-mine one.

i stop writing the poem

to fold the clothes. No matter who lives
or who dies, I'm still a woman.
I'll always have plenty to do.
I bring the arms of his shirt
together. Nothing can stop
our tenderness. I'll get back
to the poem. I'll get back to being
a woman. But for now
there's a shirt, a giant shirt
in my hands, and somewhere a small girl
standing next to her mother
watching to see how it's done.

And now mine.

what i do instead of write

I make coffee. Drink it.
Watch TV.
Vacuum with the TV on in the background, even though I can't hear it over the vroooom of cleanliness.

I paint. (That's creativity at work!)
Read. (Getting inspiration!)

I tweeze my chin hairs.
Look for gray hairs.
I figure out what to wear.

I do not go on dates.

I bite my nails.

I wait for inspiration, thankful for the distraction from the silence.

1 comment:

  1. Loved the two poems! I can totally relate. Sometimes it is so hard to make yourself do something you know you will enjoy -because life gets in the way - dishes, TV shows, toddlers, reading blogs!!! But we must persist!



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