Thursday, December 14, 2006


Malaise is a nicer word, I think, than dis-ease, though they have the same root meaning. I've been suffering from mal-ease for weeks (mais je ne suis pas malade), not a consequence of the holidays, nor the weather, nor my girlfriend spending too much time watching football nor my daughter barely touching ground at home, these being explanations I've been tried on. Besides, Linda (girlfriend) is who she's always been, Annie (daughter) is having a great time being a freshman in high school, a remarkable accomplishment, I like Christmas this year for no good reason and the weather has only been dreary for a week or so (should change on Sunday anyway).

It's a writing malaise, or a not-writing malaise. I'm not writing and so I'm not all right. That simple. I can't get in the writing gear, my few efforts go bad. No disease, just a case of going nowhere now. A comment from Richard Powers (who just won a National Book Award) on NPR yesterday made it clear to me. He said "If you're a writer and you haven't been writing for a couple of days, everyone around you will see you're out of sorts." Or something like that. And if you haven't been writing for weeks and weeks? I guess you're ready for the recycling bin.

I don't suppose writing a blog entry counts.


Diane K. Martin said...

Hey, Robert thinks that we should be putting in 25hrs/week writing if we're to call ourselves poets! Only way I do that is if you count blogs, email, or work. I do think that one can cut oneself some slack this time of year. There's so much else going on. And the days, weather or not, are short and dreary.

Well, those are some of my excuses, plus the ongoing one, as you know, for why I haven't been writing a lot, why everything I start never gets off the ground or seems awful. I know, that probably won't make you feel better, but anyway, you're not the only one.

Beverly said...

I write patient notes. Does that count?

And is Robert (hello?) serious? Do you really do that, RT? And I mean NOT counting emails & blogs?

Robert said...

Hey, I didn't say I DID it. MFA programs typically say to expect to work at least 25 hours a week, though, on writing, reading, etc. (not sure about blogging!), and I'd like to try to do that while not in any program.

Meanwhile, you can always turn your malaise into poetry. Thirteen ways of malaise?--

My girlfriend and I
Are one.
My girlfriend and I and the 49ers
Are one.

When my daughter flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.


Beverly said...

Hmmm. That could work were it not for the rhyme in the title. But you're funny. I am enjoying a malaise-free moment.