September Intent

Bow River

It’s September. Of course, you know that. I know that. But why let a moment slip by unacknowledged?

September is a favoured month, one of my twelve most favoured months, in fact. I think of September as my New Year. I suppose this originates from my school days, despite the fact that I never liked grade school and loathed its return every September.

Publicschoolaphobia notwithstanding, even though it was the end of summer and freedom and the return to the dreary rigours of everyday existence, it also, inevitably, held the possibility of new beginning, steps into unknown, into change. Whatever the apprehension, there was always, at least, hope. Where would we be without hope?

This is a different September than some. New city, new house, new friends. New snow shovel! New beginnings, amplified.

Bow River

Bow River

Like I did many Septembers previous – on the banks of the Red River, on a bench beside Beaver Lake, on a rock beside Lake Ontario, in a tent on Haida Gwaii, aside a firth in Scotland, in a smoke-stained motel on the Peace River – here in Calgary, on the banks of the Bow, I take the time to imagine, to examine, possibility. Where do I want to be, what do I want to do, where will I start? I am privileged with choice beyond comprehension to so many.

As usual, my September imagination includes a writing project or two. To help set the frame, I recently happened across a year-old “How To Beat Writer’s Block” article – better than most – by McKenzie Wark. I’ve opted to adopt Harry Matthews’ tip, based on Stendahl: ‘twenty lines a day, genius or not’. So far, I have managed twenty lines every second day. Since I am writing fiction, not poetry (or so I suppose), “twenty lines” is somewhat subjective. So far, though, my twenty lines have been adding up to around 500-700 words a sitting. That’s 2,000-ish words last week! A huge jump in productivity, compared to my recent track record. And I managed to enjoy it a shred, too! I’m doing it by hand, in Daiso notebooks, which helps eliminate my tendency to edit, ad infinitum, the first sentence.

A not-really-local-but-temporarily-local writer friend of my recent new acquaintance reminded me today, when I mentioned – in the writing context – my tendency to distraction, that we tend to have powers of concentration for things that interest us, that what I’m writing should interest me. Oddly, it had not occurred to me that my apparent tendency to distraction might be a sign that I’m under-interested in that at which I labour. And upon contemplating that, I realised that perhaps I might simply be failing to choose to be interested in that at which I labour. Hmm.

 

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