Protecting Your Writing Time In This Weird Time of Ours

AP Photo/The Dominion-Post,Jason DeProspero

Things are nuts. How do writers concentrate now? How do we not let the toxicity of the news feed steal our minds completely away from the page? How do we not sink into despair, because really, does writing or poetry or anything matter anymore? At Tin House, poet Patricia Lockwood has a few ideas. Get a physical book, a diary, and some coffee, find a window to sit by, and read this before you look at Twitter. Do not look at Twitter yet!

The first necessity is to claim the morning, which is mine. If I look at a phone first thing the phone becomes my brain for the day. If I don’t look out a window right away the day will be windowless, it will be like one of those dreams where you crawl into a series of smaller and smaller boxes, or like an escape room that contains everyone and that you’ll pay twelve hours of your life for. If I open up Twitter and the first thing I see is the president’s weird bunched ass above a sand dune as he swings a golf club I am doomed. The ass will take up residence in my mind. It will install a gold toilet there. It will turn on shark week as foreplay and then cheat on its wife.

English will come out of it wrong, and then English will come wrong out of me.

The scaramucci is not just a unit of time, it is also a unit of conspiracy against you, and the work you were put here to do.

The feeling you get after hours of scrolling that all your thoughts have been replaced with cotton candy — or something even nastier, like Runts or circus peanuts — as opposed to the feeling of being open to poetry, to being inside the poem, which is the feeling of being honey in the hive.

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