I set off on a walk with Tilly, my head crowded with thoughts and worries about all of the things I must get done today. I carry two notebooks, a thermos of coffee, a pen, reading glasses, a research book. I intend to be productive, to "use my time wisely" by taking my work with me up the hill. By the time we have reached the summit, however, my thoughts have slowed, my words are drifting away like the clouds over the fields. I sit with my coffee, notebooks untouched. This, too, is part of the work process, I'm reminded. Sitting in silence, receptive, eyes wide, heart open. Imbibing the world.
"The whole culture is telling you to hurry," says novelist Juan Díaz, "while the art tells you to take your time."
The tension between these two different modes is a constant part of a writer's working life.
"Always listen to the art," he advises.
The wind rises. I'm listening.