Sunday, April 27, 2008

All Things Can Tempt Me

All things can tempt me from this craft of verse:
One time it was a woman's face, or worse--
The seeming needs of my fool-driven land;
Now nothing but comes readier to the hand
Than this accustomed toil. When I was young,
I had not given a penny for a song
Did not the poet sing it with such airs
That one believed he had a sword upstairs;
Yet would be now, could I but have my wish,
Colder and dumber and deafer than a fish.

William Butler Yeats, 1910

With all the discussion of procrastination, I just couldn't resist posting a piece from my favorite poet. Though Yeats never had to contend with the allure of the internet or television, nonetheless, he, like most of us, struggled with a host of daily distractions that begged and beckoned, drawing him away from his creative purpose. And don't we just ache for those feeble sirens to call us away when our task is already frustrated? Blogland, chatrooms, email--it's all just a more concrete manifestation of Yeats' desperate breaks with inspiration.

But I have to say that somewhere within that bog of distraction lies the seed of inspiration. Sometimes I just need that kick start, that little phrase innocently uttered online to spark an idea that grows into a paragraph and then a chapter and then the book. No matter how disconnected that idea may seem, the whole sense of connection that I get from my little distractions actually feeds my writing...somehow. Diversion does that crazy dance that misdirects our brain long enough for it to find the answer (or inspiration) in our subconscious. Oh, jeez! Yeats would be proud of me now!


  1. I think you are right Mary Ann, not all distractions are equally time wasters. I thrive on the interactions I gain with creative people in a variety of mediums. Whether its on the internet or at a lunch, or just reading a book or magazine, I allow these distractions because they are fuel for thought. I may not always be conscious of their influence, but I know I carry the influence around with me.

  2. Love him!!! Yes, as you know, I've been fighting the same fight. Allowing myself to be drawn away from my creative purpose. Trying so hard to stay faithful to the task ahead.

    Thanks for your encouragement and visit. (There's no one quite like Oscar, is there?)

    We must have tea!!!! Hopefully, some time soon.


  3. Yeats would be proud, indeed! :) Time spent with others and doing other things (even underwater basket weaving) are sources of inspiration for my own writing, too!! :)

  4. So ... what time will our next "Chat" be?

  5. JM--how many hours are you behind me? 2? Hmmm...

    Underwater basketweaving...I've always wanted to try that!

    Okay, CJ...let's look at the map and find a good meeting place. We have got to hook up soon!

    Paul, I absolutely must embrace my subconscious...I think that's why, like many writers, some of my best ideas come when I'm on the verge of sleep. Gotta keep that digital recorder next to the bed...

  6. Oh, boy. So I've been totally procrastinating lately on blogging. For me, it's been a matter of time, yes. But also, I just don't really know where to pick up after so long. Good to see you're keeping up!


Thanks to spammers, this blog is moderated, so don't be alarmed if your comment doesn't appear right away. Thanks for stopping by!