When Was The Last Time?

Kenneth Atchity once wrote:

“One of the first questions I ask when a writer needs help to become productive is, “When is the last time you sat and wrote? Not sat down and stared out of the window, but actually moved your hand across the page or your fingers on the keyboard.”

Countless are the times when I sat at my desk to write and didn’t and left the page to go and do some other chores, chores that were totally unnecessary. Julia Cameron associates this with fear. She says that we creative human beings are blocked because we are afraid. That’s why when the time comes for us to sit down and really start our project we panic and stall and move on to do something else.

Many are the nights that I have gone to bed, my head full of ideas of what to write the next day. Sometimes I write sentences and entire paragraphs or stories in my sleep. But come morning, instead of going directly to my page, I do anything and everything to avoid that moment.

Is it really fear then that dominates my thoughts? Is it my experience with the printed page? The fact that I haven’t seen any results yet? Do I need some kind of confirmation to go on writing? I don’t know but I know for sure that on days that I don’t write I become miserable and sulk the entire day. In the end I can do nothing but succumb to my desire to write and I become if not a better at least a happier person.

The Writer

It’s always that first step that separates the doers from the dreamers, not only in writing but everything else. The first steps we take towards our dream no matter what that dream is. And for me no one explains this better than C.V. Cavafy when he writes: 


The young poet Evmenis
complained one day to Theocritos:
“I’ve been writing for two years now
and I’ve composed only one idyll.
It’s my single completed work.
I see, sadly, that the ladder
of Poetry is tall, extremely tall;
And from this first step I’m standing on now
I’ll never climb any higher.”
Theocritos retorted: “Words like that
are improper, blasphemous.
Just to be on the first step
should make you happy and proud.
To have reached this point is no small achievement:
what you’ve done already is a wonderful thing.
Even this first step
is a long way above the ordinary world.
To stand on this step
you must be in your own right
a member of the city of ideas.
And it’s a hard, unusual thing
to be enrolled as a citizen of that city.
Its councils are full of legislators
no charlatan can fool.
To have reached this point is no small achievement:
what you’ve done is already a wonderful thing.”


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One Response to When Was The Last Time?

  1. susanrouchard says:

    Thank you for this heart-lifting poem. Here in Toulouse, after a week of steady rain, the breeze has rushed the clouds from the heavens and the sun shines brightly on my page.

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