When the poet Gary Snyder was asked if he’d ever serve as Secretary of the Interior or some other political post, he said this:
I’ve never thought seriously about that question. Probably not, although I am foolish enough to think that if I did do it, I’d do it fairly well, because I’m pretty single-minded. But you don’t want to be victimized by your lesser talents. One of my lesser talents is that I am a good administrator, so I really have to resist being drawn into straightening things out. The work I see for myself remains on the mythopoetic level of understanding the interface of society, ecology, and language, and I think it is valuable to keep doing that.
Me too. “I really have to resist being drawn into straightening things out.” I think probably at least 60% of my life is administrative. Being a mother is naturally administrative. Add in my penchant for order and heck, I’m screwed. And while the work I see for myself (if I am even somewhat sure I know what the work is I see for myself) does not remain “on the mythopoetic level of understanding the interface of society, ecology, and language,” I know that writing is my work. I stare at this screen and I know it.
Now, to throttle the cycle! Let the legos lie! Ignore the dog hair-dustballs scuttling across the room! Let the toothpaste spit harden in the basin of the sink…Okay, sorry. Can’t do that.
Compost. Let’s think about it in terms of compost. The mind, the piling up and turning over. What comes of a dirty, hot and holy mess.
All this new stuff goes on top
turn it over, turn it over
wait and water down
from the dark bottom
turn it inside out
let it spread through
Sift down even.
Watch it sprout.
A mind like compost.