“All the untidy activity continues,
awful but cheerful.”
That is how the Elizabeth Bishop ends “The Bight Poem,” in which she describes the activity in a fishing cove where stove-in boats are piled “like torn-open, unanswered letters.” I know exactly what she means, having spent time as a child, mostly during summer, in the Nova Scotia fishing village where my father grew up. This past May, I ventured north to the Elizabeth Bishop house in Great Village, Nova Scotia, where she spent her childhood, and hunkered down for a week of writing. I felt right at home. The house was charming and cozy and quiet; there was no Wifi or television, no traffic, no other guests–just me and my thoughts. I used to think I must be a freak for requiring such solitude, but that was before I called myself a writer.
Awful but cheerful: That’s how I often feel, writing. The work (and it is work; nothing comes easily) is solitary and often frustrating. But I can’t imagine not writing. It’s the only way I know to make sense of this life. Sometimes the end result is great, and often it isn’t. But I keep cheerfully at it, because I don’t know what else to do. Nothing else feels as challenging, and almost nothing else feels as intimate.
This site is under construction. Some posts are hidden for privacy purposes. If you have a thought about something you read, please leave a comment.