Please don’t ask

notebookWhen I originally started this blog over 4 years ago, I knew better than to make any commitments, even to myself, about how often I would post. I was actually on leave recovering from hip replacement surgery at the time, and I knew that as soon as I was back at work life would get far too complicated to keep up any sort of consistent publication schedule.

I would love to be the kind of person who regularly sets their alarm clock for an early wakeup, bounds out of bed, and cranks out 45 minutes of solid writing time before work every morning.

But I’m not. Maybe it’s my arthritis, but I have never been a “bound out of bed” sort of gal. Mornings are a more gradual affair for me. I need lots of  slow, “unfolding” time between when the first alarm goes off and when my feet need to hit the floor.

Nor do I manage a regular writing routine in the evenings. Some days I’m mentally done  for the day by time I leave the office and head to the bus stop. I’ve written elsewhere about the fatigue that is characteristic of many auto-immune conditions. Furthermore, I actually spend a lot of time at work writing. It may not be the writing I would do if left to my own devices, but it is writing, which means by the time I get home I’m ready for a change of activity.

I fantasize about my (still long-off) retirement years when I will be able to carve out big swaths of time to create literary masterpieces.

We’ll see about that.

Because sometimes, even when I really want to write– even when I have time when I could write, I struggle to know what I want to say.

Last year, during that long period when this blog was in hiatus, I wrote this:


Please don’t ask if I am writing.

If I am and you don’t know it,

then today I have not written for your eyes

And I will have to lie.


Please don’t ask if I am writing.

If I am not, then your inquiry twists the arrow

Lodged already in my wounded voice

And I bleed silence.


Please don’t ask if I am writing.

I can’t begin to tell you

how much more there is to writing

than the marks that land upon the page.


I am out searching the forest for a poem.

I am listening for story on a downtown city bus,

I am mining my own dreams for tragedies and gems.

I am testing future footholds for thin ice


Please don’t ask if I am writing

Even if I had an answer, today

the words have other things to do.




7 thoughts on “Please don’t ask

  1. That was cool to read the last year about asking if u are writing – and side note – hope your hip is healed.
    And a thought I had with your words here was balance.
    The realistic way u said u need your mornings and then being in tune with your mental output!
    One blogger (years ago) was hitching about being so tired and not having time for his family the way he wanted and how his job taxed him – then he did the nivermber Nano book thing – and I did not want to judge – but it was like really???
    We cannot do it all – which u address here – and sometimes those who get less writing done might wrestle and grapple with output but st the end of the day I think they have this internal balance driving them – do u know what I mean – some of the overly ambitious are sometimes compensating for something else.

    And I know writing gets better the more we do it – but we write in our thoughts and when we miss ideas and live life with what this day needs – we’ll it means when we get to more actual writing later it might even be better !

    1. Thanks for the comment. Yes– my hip surgery was like magic. I appreciate your observation about the sense of “balance” in what I wrote. Funny how sometimes we say things without knowing we are saying them! I wish I could remember the precise quote and source, but I read somewhere that you can’t be a writer unless you actually have a life to write about.

  2. That is the best poem I have read in ages. Could you hear me shouting (a little tearfully), ‘YES!’ after every line? We find the ways and times and frequency of writing that works for us and allows those words to flow. Those who says we have to blog X number of times a week, or write X number of words a day are those I walk away from. I don’t need guilt on top of my own inner critic’s voice. I understand the need to write regularly, but ‘regularly’ for me isn’t going to be ‘regularly’ for the next writer. But back to that poem…thank you.

    1. Thank you for your lovely feedback. Part of my struggle is that often the people who “ask” are doing so out of love– I know in my head it is just their way of saying they appreciate my writing, but it has the unintended effect of stirring up my inner critic.

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