I've been absorbed in work & writing linked to the administrative and/or money-generating aspects of life lately, feeling very small and distant from creative projects & the essential energy they require. A couple of days ago, however, in the midst of this rather grey period, I was offered the opportunity to 'argue back' in an exchange with a professor from my MFA days.
The exchange started with an inauspicious email about the title of a book that I'd bought at AWP, which he & I had discussed a little bit. After we'd narrowed down which book it was (since I bought a few that AWP), a discussion about the potential differences between experimental and avant-garde poetries began. With this, I was offered an opportunity to consider how one might write an avant-garde poetry that doesn't have some sort of experimental energy about it.
I didn't realize, until I threw off every other project and deadline facing me to spend a few hours on my reply, how necessary & good a bit of argument can be. And how badly I'd needed an excuse to get back to my poetry-based brain. The discussion also reminded me, rather beautifully, of the vital energy that can sometimes only come through constraint—whether in writing, topic, form, life.
Perhaps because of this reminder about constraint, I had another small victory in the on-going battle to make meaningful progress with the one-woman show. My friend is planning to write original music, and I'd been at a bit of a loss about what sort of information I might have to help her be able to start writing—since the scenes I've drafted are still rather molten, and may yet shed their shapes. But last night, I started to consider the general placement of the songs along the whole arc of the show, and suddenly the possibilities for exposition and movement via song opened. And as my friend begins to make her own decisions about the show, it may end up giving me the right kind of pressure to plow through the last bit of distance to a solid working draft.