The other day I had lunch with my friend and fellow poet, Jenice. We hadn’t had lunch for a couple months and were catching up.
I told her I was focusing intensely on my writing and being cautious about where I put my energy, recognizing that although I have a lot of energy, it has its limits and that I want to use it on what matters to me, as much as possible. For example, I don’t want to put energy into creating and marketing workshops or finding places to give public poetry readings and in preparing for them.
She commented about how we have to be careful not to dissipate our creative energy.
Our conversation reminded me of an interview with Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Mary Oliver. Mary said that she had teaching jobs over the years to support herself, but she “never took any interesting ones,” because she “didn’t want to get interested.”
Mary wanted to put her best energy into writing. She began to get up and write at 5:00 a.m. so she could write for a couple of hours, and then give her employer her “very best second-rate energy.”
What do you love and where do you put your first-rate energy?