Some things get done when they must come hell or high water.
Yesterday I dragged a chair up from the basement. It’s an ungainly one-woman carry, a boxy PVC frame with soft outdoor cushions. It’s one of six for an outsized table that lives on the screen porch, where there is room for only four chairs. So this chair and its mate live in the basement, doubling as storage shelves.
On my small kitchen porch lives a vintage sixties porch chair, with aluminum arm rests and floral cushions, the kind that bounces a little but isn’t really a rocking chair, a garbage day find hauled off the curb someplace in the neighborhood. It has served us well. But the cushions are a mess and it’s begun, at last, to rust.
Last week we finished three chapbooks. We’re at work on our first artist’s book and a slew of other manuscripts. It’s an exciting time here at the press and I’m too wired to pay much attention to anything else. I missed an appointment for one of my kids last week, and I’m late getting out a wad of applications and other paperwork.
Things don’t happen when it’s convenient. They happen when they reach critical mass, and once we have pushed enough obstacles out of the way. Showing up is major. It’s necessary but insufficient to the work at hand. We gotta put shoulder to that boulder and heave-ho.
Even with things here blasting ahead at warp speed, there are mornings I have trouble getting out of bed. Alright, some of that has to do with working till ten the night before. But some of it is the fact that grief follows me even in happy times, even when I am hip deep and reveling in the work I love. The cure is of course to simply get moving. Throw off the covers and brew up a cuppa, and throw myself into that work.
A friend said he doesn’t know about art as a means of healing. I said sometimes it is, sometimes it’s not. Art has its own value either way. But the urge to create, that comes straight out of our brokenness. Which is just another way of saying our humanness. I think I’ve said that here before, or maybe I only thought about saying it.
One of the things I have to do today is finish some cover art for a chapbook, a hand rendering which is presenting some technical challenges alongside the artistic question. It’s a good problem to have. Today is a good day to tackle it. That little tingle of uneasiness in the belly is a good sign, a sign that the work is keeping me on my toes. Alive to the moment, and learning.
The books are calling. Hardly anything matters more.