Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Pen to Paper in the Boston Athenaeum

I used to have a fairly accurate sense of how long it would take me to write something worth posting.

Sometimes it depended on the time of day that I first put “pen to paper,” so to speak. If I started composing within an hour of breakfast, I could have a worthy product by ten o’clock. It did not necessarily matter what other tasks I might have had to handle within those hours. Sentences were ready whenever I got back to the laptop or desk monitor. The ways that the logic of a written piece might progress seemed to resolve themselves more quickly, the closer to day’s start I made the effort.

Sometimes the place where I made that effort had the decisive influence on how long I needed to keep working on a piece. My office at work — when I had an office and there was work to go to — was ideal; I was used to assuming a posture at my desk that was effective in keeping distractions at bay. I galloped ahead! The couch at home made certain factors in my life unavoidable; the quieter the room, the more familiar the furnishings, the harder it was not to allow myself the time it took to be honest in what I was getting “on paper.” I realized that I had to live with the kind of person my words revealed me to be.

All that needed to happen today, though, was to use the time I had and the new place I could go and hear what I might say. Would I recognize the voice? Could I own it?

I am ready to move beyond the three-month silence with which retirement has begun.