~ a question centred on the concrete yet wrapped up to sound philosophical and therefore more meaningful. It’s one of those questions where we all instinctively think we know the answer – of course! – yet I suspect consistently fail to act on that basis.
The ‘concrete’ is the beginning of a five-day writers’ retreat which I have, in advance, elevated to being of real significance. Emotionally. It will be an opportunity to weigh things up, to make decisions, to course-correct should that be necessary. On a practical level (and the practical is always easier to enunciate) I will be able to review / work on my current projects, and to make decisions about them – primarily resolving questions about belief, commitment, timing, worth etc.:
- the second edit of my latest novel
- my major long-term poetry project
- the collection of short stories that could be close to completion – or not
Also worthy of addressing from a practical perspective will be how the remainder of 2022 looks for Coverstory books: what projects am I going to take on? do I need to tweak the business model in any way? how much of myself should I dedicate to it – the same as today, or more, or less? (I have come to realise there is a balance to be struck… a deal to be done… two ‘lives’ in a trade-off…)
In a way all those things are easy enough to address; they’re almost binary, mechanistic questions. The subsequent challenge will be – as ever – sticking with whatever I decide.
But the philosophical? Because there is a philosophical. Or the non-mechanical. Something about more than just the process of writing, or what’s written. The elephant in the room is what kind of writer I want to be; and I don’t mean poet or novelist, romantic or realist etc. But as a person. How do I want to live my writing life?
If I’m lucky I may have another twenty years of life left (not so long when you say it like that!), and if that’s the case, then perhaps I can be meaningfully productive over the next ten. Maybe less. So the question then becomes what does the writer ‘me’ look like over that time horizon; what do I do, how do I do it, what persona do I present to the world?
I am of conscious that I need to do nothing different; I can continue as I am, writing as I do today, keep Coverstory books on-track as it currently is… And that may be the ‘right’ answer. Indeed, it may be the only truly practical answer. But when I consider that ever-shrinking timeframe – ten years, or seven years, whatever – then surely the most important thing is to get the most out of those. Before it’s too late. As we all should, but the majority do not.
So the question needs to be addressed. A conclusion drawn.
That’s how important tomorrow is – and, by logical implication, it therefore makes the day after tomorrow a fraction more important than that. And so on. Because at some point there will be no more tomorrows…
Yes, I know this is self-indulgent – but if I don’t indulge in me, who will? And yes, I know there are more important things going on that are of greater significance than my little life (all eyes on Moscow tomorrow, for example)…
Sports’ people talk about “leaving it all out on the pitch”. Maybe that’s what it comes down to. Simple as…
A reading of this post is available here.