Writing on the fly . . . flying to write

It's October and that's roughly the middle of my semestral calendar. It's at about this point in time when I should be adjusting to the rhythms of academia. But I haven't. Many things are on my plate. Many hats are on my hat rack waiting to be rotated into use.

Sally Keith, a fab poet, came by to give a reading down here in Utica and we had a long chit-chat about writing, jobs, living as a writer. First off, she doesn't have a television . . . or at least, she doesn't watch television unless it's to watc movies or something. I've known many artists/writers who have no television. How many of you turn off the tube and keep it off? Meredith and I have a MEGA television perched in a pine-shrine at the corner of our living room. When we get home from our long days of teaching, we kick off our shoes and veg in front of the screen. But Sally's chat with me is making me think that I need to re-think that ritual. Trouble is, I love TV. Particularly SportsCenter in the morning. I watched the VP debates last night, despite Meredith's groans. Earlier, I had watched In a Fix on TLC. When I lived in Gettysburg, PA, a ritual of mine was waking up on Saturday mornings and watching This Old House. I don't know if you consider what I watch to be crap. I don't know myself. All I know is after I'm done teaching, advising, going to meetings, grading . . . I'm dead tired. But I also know, that's a perfect time to be doing something active.

That leads me to this idea of writing. I'm usually multi-tasking all day. Not only am I preparing my classes, but I'm also doing things behind the scenes in terms of the cultural programing at my school. I'm basically at school from Monday to Friday. When I'm not in school, I'm doing things for school. So when do I write? I had thought to make a rigid writing schedule which had me waking up early in the mornings everyday. That failed miserably. I wasn't getting enough sleep. I knew this because my left eye-lid would twitch all day when I did this schedule. I then thought to write exclusively during the weekends. That bombed too, as soon as the papers started pouring in.

So now, I'm looking for an end to excuses. I'm designating one day a week. That's all, but I need to hold myself to that day. What do you fellow multi-taskers do? Do you designate a few hours each day? Do you designate a particular day? Do you resign yourself to not working until you have a holiday break or something? Give me some ideas.

Oliver de la Paz