New Year, New Project… oh no!

I have been writing everyday, at least a little bit. And not just throw away junk, not just journals, not just the clever shit I want to say to my friends or to entertain attractive women. I have been writing in a pointedly, if somewhat silly way, every single day. The result of this has been my new, continuing, rhyming, and aptly named series of “The Limerick of the Day!” I’m not sure where this is leading me creatively, but thus far it has been a lot of fun. At first I expected to do it for just a few weeks from mid-December when it was first suggested to me through the new year. But I’ve made it a habit and I rather enjoy it, so if I’m going to be bold. I’m not often keen on sweeping pronouncements, sudden self-challenges or arbitrary beginning of the year resolutions (everyone knows that January is a crumby time to start something anyway). But I might have to join the ranks of “Project 365”-ers everywhere and write a new limerick everyday this year. Of course, I won’t be calling it anything as silly as Project 365, I think it will remain the far more descriptive, much less embarrassing Limerick of the Day. Over the course of a full year I may miss some days and I may even have to re-imagine the project, perhaps injecting some new forms now and then (think haiku Wednesdays). But the important bit is I will be keeping myself in new poems, unfamiliar humor, fresh whimsy, every day.

Internet-less Hills of Rural Massachusetts

It was almost a week without electricity here on Long Island, and I was very fortunate. My neighborhood has no electricity anytime the wind blows more than thirty miles per hour, and every time I’m glad we have natural gas furnace and stove. But this time, since getting the electricity restored and connected to the Internet I’ve gotten a much better idea of how lucky my area of Long Island was in this storm.

Even with all the luck I feel graced me this week, it mixed with the inconvenience of not having easy access to information and a certain variety of frustration. But mostly the time I was able to spend reading and not feeling the pull of two survival jobs on my time was tremendous. It allowed my to access a degree of clarity of focus on the most important things I have to do which I have not experienced very often. I wrote recently about Fear, and my experience this week seemed to belie the way I thought I understood my fear. There is a sense when you are disrupted by your fear or resistance that it is a largely internal process. While I believe that to be true, my life in the last week was by virtue of its distance from the usual social forces and distractions was in some way insulated from resistance as well. I have not written or read as much or as we’ll as I did this week in quite some time. There were few weeks of my college career when I did as much reading and writing as I did this week. And that feels right to me. Sitting with the ticking clock of my laptop battery and no incoming messages or needless, obsessive, meandering research to deter me, my resistance stood no chance against a quiet house and a cup of tea. It was remarkable to feel my frustration disappear in because I had sat down to do something I often so frustrating. Time was not running against me, for I had no place else to be, and yet I had to do it right then otherwise what would I do? It was urgently but without haste that I set about my work. And in that state I did not need to control, to decide or to plan what I was to write. I could let it become, and follow where it wished to go. Perhaps this is why people like to move to the Internet-less hills of rural Massachusetts.

I am a man who adores technology and the many tools and devices that might make my life more enjoyable or more manageable. I love the Internet, and instant correspondence and close-to-free publishing of anyone’s thoughts for anyone else to read. But it’s hard not to notice as I return to that world unscathed by the storm, I am not stronger today for having learned a great lesson of perseverance, like so many will doubtlessly need to do in recovering. Instead I am stronger today for having stood in the quiet of the now which seems so inaccessible when the world is at your fingertips. Perhaps I’ll need a wooden writing shed one day, so I can bring the virtues of the Internet-less hills of rural Massachusetts a little closer to home.