I’m not one to complain about time. I’m not one to fall into the “I’m just too busy” trap, mostly because I tend not to look at my obligations as burdens. Saying you’re “too busy” tends to register as a complaint. I try not to say that because, well, I really like being busy. I like doing the things that suck up my time, and I like contributing to the different creative and professional worlds in which I’ve been given an opportunity to do so.
I could almost even say that I like having not enough time to do all the things that I want to. True, I do wish there were more time, but only so I can overfill that time with other great things to do. I guess that’s my de facto motto: do stuff. Yes, I am a product of the Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Calvinism, but that is what it is. I can work with that. I can do stuff with it just fine. The world’s an exciting place when you feel like you’re contributing positively to it, and I’m pretty addicted to that feeling.
It’s the feeling I get every time I go to an AWP Conference.
It’s the feeling I get every time I watch friends like Joshua Young and Kyle McCord (to name just two), who somehow hoard time in such a way that they have learned not only how to give with their own creative work but with their continued engagement in creative writing communities.
It’s the feeling I get with all my Gold Wake Press labelmates, in all honesty. I know how much work goes into what they do, mostly because I know how much less work I put in than the rest of them.
And yet somehow I’m continually able to fool enough people into thinking I belong in these communities as well. It’s a good feeling, but with it always comes this sense of guilt. I could to more than I do.
Sometimes, like when I stopped by the Oyez Review table during the AWP Bookfair and I get a chance to talk to near strangers about something I wrote, I let myself believe it just for a minute. Oyez has a great aesthetic, and some damn good writing on their blog, too. It was an honor for my poem “Tree Spiders” to be included in their spring 2014 issue.
Though I didn’t know it at the time, the poem was a sort of kicking off point for a new project I’ve got going. It’s a little bit different than what I had been doing, and way more ars poetica than I ever thought I’d go. Another piece from this collection/chapbook-in-progress will be finding its way into an online issue of TAB sometime in April.
Thanks to Oyez, Gold Wake Press, and all the other people I get to interact with that let me fool them into thinking I belong here. Or maybe I haven’t fooled anyone. Maybe I’m just kinda likable, and they’re just letting me tag along, like Orko. I’d be okay with that.
I’m going to keep working to earn my spot at the big kids’ table, but in the meantime, it’s good to be surrounded by so many good examples of what it means to be generous with your time by being generous with your work.
I want to be like all of you someday.