How daily my life.

View from my desk, at this hour

25 March 2017
1:26 AM
Manila, Philippines

Dear M.,

What a holy mess, my desk is, at this hour. And every day, I suppose, looks like this. I sit at my desk and write and work, and somehow, without looking, the days have turned into another week, and the weeks into months, and it’s my life, the life I make, is what it is.

I am reminded of a part of a poem:

from Otherwise Smooth
Rosmarie Waldrop

How daily my life. How tiny the impurities around which words might accrue. Worlds. Whorls. Pearls? Once I stood in a town where nothing was left unchanged but the clouds driven from the east. Now I learn from the sea. Always the same, always different, brackish body, uncertain. The unusual I hold at bay by taking pictures. To let it accrue to memory without having to experience it? Do we live this way, walking, as if we could, on thin air? But the sycamore stands in the yard all day and all night. And now, though still lifeless in appearance, quickens. Roots gripping farther down.

What is one place do I feel most like myself? I suppose it is before this desk, my holy altar of broken prayers and broken words, where I come to make myself whole again, if at all possible, and if the days are kinder.

It is past one in the morning and I am again wrestling with a poem with no end in sight. I don’t know how long I’ll be working tonight, but this is the kind of work I get out of bed for. The rest—all the rest of it that pays the bills and reminds me I’m still a citizen of a society—they’re something I have to do in order to survive. This work though—the work of my life, our lives, M., the work of showing up at our desks to write with our being—it’s what I do to be alive.

The hour is late. I’m not even sure if I’m making sense. But: how daily my life. Most days I forget and lament, where am I going? What am I doing? I am lost in my own life and I’m afraid I’ve gone and done it, wasted it all away. But I sit at my desk anyway. And nights like this will remind me why. Something I need to keep repeating over and over: it’s a writing life.


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