Sunday, July 24, 2011

When I'm Not Writing

At the Crested Butte Writers Conference I attended recently, I was fortunate to meet many wonderful writers. They touched and inspired me in many ways. One evening we had a reader's night. Sitting in a large circle, we took turns reading some of our work. (No, I didn't read. I did, however, join one of the others playing guitar at the end of the evening.)

There were a wide variety of genres being read. I sat with notepad open, taking names so I'd know who I wanted to buy from the published authors, and follow from the pre-published ones. Some, I felt sure, would soon wind up on my book store shelves—they were that good. (I do realize there is no such thing as soon in the publication business...)

Tonight I want to mention one writer in particular. Marcie Telander had slipped through the conference days without my noticing her. We'd never sat at the same table, or shared a meal together. Suddenly I became totally mesmerized listening to her read a poem entitled "When I'm Not Writing." It was such a clear view of the dichotomy of a writer's life that afterwards I asked permission to reprint it on my blog. She said I could, but then we failed to connect for me to get a copy.

Today she emailed it to me. I reprint it here and recommend you visit her website to enjoy more of her work. Just click the link. And thanks, Marcie. This is such a keeper.

When I Am Not Writing by Marcie Telander

When I am not writing

I am sure that constellations, galaxies,

whole universes are


When I am not writing I starve

and the scent of forbidden

fruit, in the form of feasts,

fetishes, the phantasmagoria

of words

are being served up

and devoured by others,

not I.

When I am not writing,

I always bore


When I am not writing

I am grieving—

I am the Orphan.

When I am not writing

my characters are

planning to run away

or worse, write me out of

the plot.

When I am not writing

I can take time

to stare at my cat,

lie across my horse’s warm

lazy body,

make long slow hours of love,

with a real human being.

When I am not writing

I can actually listen to you,

and not be seduced by

the dialogue in my head.

When I am not writing I am

a devoted partner, a fabulous gardener

an ironer of sheets,

an arranger of flowers, a harvester of wild plants,

a dancer of tangos, a greedy reader of books,

a sultry singer of scat,

adventurous explorer, and peaceful, pausing

Madonna in the sun.

When I am not writing

I am glad, guilty,

despondent, elated

clanking with envy—

I may drink too much, I rage—

I yearn, I feel divorced and

set free, at last! And--

I am always seeking

that lover

who left me last chapter, last

week, and is still,

if I am worthy,

waiting just around the

next parenthetical bend.

When I am not writing I am calm, still,

myself at last---

but, do not trust me for a second.

Deep inside there lurks the

desperate lover who

is ready to kill or die

for all those characters, voices,

terrible, wonderful relationships

that could,

should be born—

when at last,

I am

writing again.

1 comment:

marcie said...

I invite all to visit my web/log site where guest artists, poets, essayists are featured.
And--thank you for the opportunity to share our passion for this amazing relationship with our writing.

Blessings, Marcie