Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Writing Retreat

i lack the discipline to quarantine myself away from wonderful people and things to do, even for a short while, when they are right outside my door. in the city, there's more psychic clutter that comes with all the movement of people and cars and ideas... sometimes it makes me numb and i am less scared of the ringing in my ears than of never being able to hear it.

so, i split my intentions for this writing retreat into three categories:
-feed the muse (write, listen, study, move, etc.)
-create (songs, poems, letters)
-document (photos, video, blogging)

having not been alone with myself in a long time, it took about a week to notice a decrescendo of restlessness. the first few days, i cleaned and slept a lot. i conquered a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle, listened to great music, and made friends with a robin who nested on the front porch and taps at the kitchen window. (at first, that was sweet. now, it's annoying as hell and i swear she's going to come right through the window, tapping on it and throwing herself into it as she does. crazy bird. i can do nothing to stop her.) i also watched the sunset with a dead fox carcass on the beach. its skin was almost gone, but its teeth were bright white. i took pictures. i love a morbidly-beautiful juxtaposition.

there's an antique clawfoot tub here, so i take a lot of epsom salt baths. not being one to commit, i am reading Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop, Jack Kerouac's On the Road, and AW Tozer's The Pursuit of God.

not that it always happens this way, but the best way i've found to try to organize my day is to write in the morning as soon as i wake up (like it says in The Artist's Way, before the inner critic wakes up). i brew tea and sit at my makeshift workspace and see what comes up, or finish something i have already been working on. i write and play and record until hunger sets in and then usually come back to that workspace before the end of the day with new ideas from walks in the woods or reading, sunsets, dead foxes, etc.

i am still caught up in some of the things i wanted to leave in Austin, but as superfluous things fall away, these hangers-on are so much fewer and actually more important than they had seemed.

hooray for clarity!


joy said...

You were missed in Illinois, too. Sounds like you are getting comfortable up there, though.
Kevin and I are thinking about a trip to Austin this fall...to hear all your new songs :)

Anonymous said...

dear erin:

please more mouth trombone. not to the point that it becomes excessive, just enough that it makes me smile every time i hear it.

i.e. stephany sent me 'who cares' in an email, and it made my night. best of luck with the creative process!


Erin Ivey said...

kyle, it was TOTALLY (supposed to be) a trumpet. i am still working on it. but seriously, you know it's a great talent and you're jealous. (have you heard me whistle??)