Making Time to Write

Exhausted by the relentless, droning and grinding of industrial machines they lie
limply in the stomach, heavy, sagging, speechless.
Suspended in a fine web of rationalistic jargon they struggle,
wriggling, squirming within the cavity of the lung.
Amid the ink filled veins they endlessly compete for space with bulky platitudes, mission statements and withering traditional reason.
Bound by the parameters of productivity guidelines they block the bowels endless tubes, constipated by deadlines and long hours.
Slowly they rise and, with gritty determination, squeeze their way along the adrenaline squashed alongside hefty, rhetorical, motherhood statements.
Willfully they gather in the homelands of the heart forming a wheel, squeezing and pressing
until the throbbing exhausts the reason briefly freeing the passageways from rhetorical motherhood statements.
Triumphant, fresh perspective bursts forth like semen
Only to shrink and shrivel in the great cosmic void.
My internal voice must be heard, but,
Will these feisty words have the stamina and will to endure the futile battle with such weighty external forces?
Will it be heard tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow?

The writer must have solitude and leisure in which to polish his craft. With the shadow of cities falling over his paper in even the most remote regions of the world the mind of the writer is distracted by the need to maintain a place in the workforce. Gone are the days when one could live on investment income and spend one's days reading the best literature in the world. Gone is the time when people sat over writing pads in their library, leisurely drafting long letters? In our present time men and woman must work or pay the price of loss of self-respect and pangs of conscience. Communists said that religion was the opium of the people. Now work, or, more particularly money derived from work, having taken on a kind of religious status, has become opium for the masses.

Time in our western culture is deemed to be a valuable commodity and a resource. It is a limited resource that we use to accomplish our goals and we take it for granted that we will be expected to pay people by the hour, week or year. Telephone message units, hourly wages, hotel room rates, yearly budgets, interests on loans and paying your debt to society by 'serving your time' are all tangible proof of this reality. The notion that time is money is a metaphorical concept that governs our daily lives in Western society. However work does not have the power to completely dull the senses for no sooner are bodily needs met than the voice of the spirit is heard crying out for something more. It calls out for time to play. Work, as we know it, has never been instinctive and so no amount of material fortune is able to quench the thirst man has for idle bliss.

Writing helps us to leave our bodies to explore the super-material regions. It provides a passport to a shining borderland where the two worlds intermingle. Writing permits us to step from the gilded cage of the workplace, stretch our wings and realize bliss and ecstasy. As we write we can make a kind of Prometheus theft of imaginative fire and simultaneously satisfy a deep yearning. Torch of creative fire in hand, we can wander freely through the upper spaces of our imagination, leaving behind the prison created by pure moneymakers. But we can only do this if we bring balance into our lives by actually permitting ourselves to enjoy solitude and leisure and giving ourselves time to replenish depleted energy reserves. After all, even God Himself rested on the seventh day. The world of imagination is available to everyone and there is absolutely no requirement to fill the pages with clever images.

For years I filled my journals with what can only be described as self-indulgent dross. Always written in the first person I permitted myself to say all the things that no one else seemed to have the time or inclination to listen to. I subjected the pages to whining that would have tired the most loyal of family and friends. For years this was enough, for when I was with my journal I had an ideal confidante and friend. My journal and I are still inseparable. We are the closest of friends. I come to the page each day and reflect and ponder on my place in the world. In contrast, my newsletters and other writing fill the need I have for my voice to be heard above the noise of the corporate, moneymaking world. It enables me to reach out to kindred spirits, share their hopes and dreams and to live the life of a writer. My writing enables me to touch bliss even as I work within a stifling mainstream system.

We cannot remove profit making from the work world but there is a reform that begins with the individual. You do not have to live by money or by the standards of business alone. You can decide 'to spend' time more profitably and 'invest' in solitary musing. If you do you will be surprised by the personal 'yield' and 'productivity'. The 'benchmarks' you set will be to improve the quality of your own life.

This brave step is a bit like leaping off a high cliff without a parachute, but it might help to erase the sense of desperation that hangs around everywhere like a misty fog. It takes a minimum entrance fee and perseverance to enter the world of the great writer's. A daily half-hour for a few years, spent with pens and books and paper will change your whole centre of gravity.

You do not have to impress the world. It is enough that this kind of solitary musing helps you to influence the whole of your reaction to life in general. Writing can help you to control your deeds and affect your behavior to others without them ever knowing what has happened.

To begin, 'invest' in a notebook and find a quiet place where you will not be interrupted. Solitary time is no luxury. Many people have come to regard a quiet place as an absolute necessity. Turning one's home into a sacred space has long been a tradition in other parts of the world. The Balinese make room for their gods and in old Russia even the humblest peasant hut had its 'beautiful corner' with a lamp burning before an icon.

Stop and reassess the way you are living. Look at the way work and societies metaphorical concept of time is impacting on your creativity. Take a long hard look at cultures that live by other metaphorical concepts of time. Join the resistance movement by refusing to consider time as something that can be spent, saved or squandered.

Food for the Muse

Find images in magazines which show that our society is ruled by work and the notion that time is money. Make a collage and then write whatever comes into your mind for twenty minutes.

Honestly explore how the metaphorical concept of time is ruling your life

Reschedule your day so that you can 'spend' at least an hour a day living the life of a person of independent means. Devote time for solitary musing and reading the world's best literature.

From the age of fourteen until his death Pope John XXIII kept what he called his 'Journal of A Soul'. As a child the Pope jotted down in school exercise books, on odd pieces of paper, in out of date diaries (for he was poor and could never afford waste) the record of his growth in holiness. He wrote out rules for every day and every week and monitored his spiritual progress. Follow Pope John's example and keep the Journal of a Writer or a Writer's notebook. Set goals for yourself and try to adhere to them.


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Heather Blakey asserts the right to be identified as the author of this work