Turning turning; or Creative rhythm

I’ve been traveling a lot the past month and have gotten completely out of what vestige of creative rhythm I had going in the early spring. And now it’s the season in which my neighborhood turns from a quiet several blocks where I know almost every car that goes by into a frenzy of strangers racing around looking for parking, and people staggering around in the early evening looking for the cars they’d hurriedly parked hours before all the beer they drank. The familiar rhythms of my neighbors are replaced by the comings and goings of strangers they have rented their homes to. This unsettles me deeply. And drives me crazy. Plus I’m hot, which makes me irritable. So, do I force myself back to the page or drawing board, work against this rattled state I’m in? Try to harness this irritated energy, give new meaning to the phrase “scribble furiously”? Or do I give in to it, loll around like an old dog, or wander around the garden desultorily pulling at my brethren the crab grass? Are there times in which earnest effort is just not appropriate, or is it always a good idea to present oneself to the process? My instinct is to give up for a little bit, let myself have a week or two of empty hours. But I can’t wait too long, must try some page-sitting before so much time elapses that I turn into some other kind of creature. I want to write things or make things but can’t seem to approach the page. I go toward it and veer off. I’m going to try not worry about it too much. I think often of that thing we used to do when we played double-dutch jump rope — that gentle rocking to get into the rhythm of the turning ropes. You don’t want to jump in too soon. You don’t want to wait too long. Right now I’m watching those ropes turn. Soon, I’ll start rocking. Don’t stop turning the ropes, world. It’s going to take me a minute.

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