DEAR FRIENDS, 3/19/2012

You can’t write and run around too.

Some of my longtime friends cannot understand why I don’t travel. Isn’t that what people in their late 60s and early 70s are supposed to do–run around the world leaving as big a carbon footprint as possible? I don’t want to be holier-than-thou, because my desire not to travel isn’t out of some great and altruistic desire to save the planet from the likes of my friends and me. It’s because I’m a writer, and you just can’t write and run around too.
In fact, I sincerely believe, you can’t write at all, at least at all well, if you don’t provide for yourself the space, the emptiness, the quiet and peace, in which you can hear the voices speaking to you, those voices that bring to you from the other side the stories you have to tell. I’m talking here about, obviously, imaginative stories, not non-fiction stories which require research. For those kinds of stories, maybe you can write and run around too. But I know that for stories that come out of the imagination, stories that come “from the other side”, you just can’t write and run around too. Or at least I can’t.

This past week is a good example. On Monday morning I got a page or two of dialogue written for SAMOVAR AND ZEEMAHOOLAH. The rest of Monday was spent preparing for my trip to Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, to see a piece of my play THINGY WORLD! and give a talk about it. Tuesday was spent driving to Amherst, attending rehearsal for the play, then to the president’s house for supper and then to see the play and give my talk.

Wednesday my wife and I went to Northampton to that great Moroccan restaurant, Amanouz, one of the greatest breakfast places in the world. They have the best eggs–I had Mediterranean eggs that come whipped somehow so that two eggs look like six with a red sauce over them–and the best home-fries anywhere, not to mention the Moroccan muffins, and all this washed down with the classic north and west Africa sweet green tea with mint. Then we went to the Smith College Art Museum. It’s an interesting–and large for a college–collection and some of the most beautiful works of art had two legs and were moving from gallery to gallery taking notes on the paintings. Then we came home to northern Vermont.

Thursday I spent trying to settle down, get back into my head, back to that place I was Monday morning, catch up with myself. And since that is so difficult, I spent Thursday writing letters, the usual writer’s escape. By Friday I was just beginning to get back to where I was on Monday morning. Saturday and Sunday were wasted almost completely and I don’t even know why.
I’m going into such detail about this past week, to show how: you can’t run around and write too, at least I can’t.

In other news, HAPPY LIFE fell off the poetry.org bestseller list again for the week of March 4. Easy come; easy go.
More next week.

Sincerely, David Budbill