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The Writing Life: Finding Time

February 10, 2011

Lady Lake FL, 5:54 a.m

I call these trips to Florida or to Maine my “writing retreats”, though even in these the writing is secondary to the real issue. Travel to visit family is less about the vacation than the visit. The
visit is less about the things you do together, than the time you spend together. The time you spend together is between the hour everyone is properly awake and dressed, and the one they all retire to bed. Luckily for me I can set my internal alarm clock to wake me at 5:30, when all the world is still cool and quiet, still dark before the sun.

Here is where the work is done that is not work, that makes precious little money, that for for a lifetime’s effort must have value not reckoned in dollars. These are the hours given over to that second life of mine, that writing life which must be scheduled around the other ones, the (by some measures, only some) most important: paying the rent, and being with those I love. One cannot be traded for another; they all work in together, the cogs of a gear, the counter-running strands of a fabric interwoven, the roots and leaves and blossoms of a flowering plant.

Most of the words appearing on these pages, or on the stage (“Candle, Rose” is scheduled for production, by others, in April this year) could not have come to be any later in the morning, or during the daylight hours. These words.

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