I’ve been in the end-of-winter, grey days, too much rain blahs for the last few weeks–and not getting any writing done hasn’t helped. The winter term is wrapping up, so there are literally towers of journals, chapters, poetry packages and revisions stacked all over my office on campus, and my office at home. I am literally drowning in papers and words.

UFV hosted a reading with Marilyn Bowering this afternoon, and I went feeling tired, ready for the day to be over. The crowd was intimate, Marilyn’s reading engaging and poised, and the whine of the bookstore doors annoying. And then a strange thing happened: I got that familiar, just out of reach desire to pick up a pen and write something. Anything. A note about a novel I’m working on. A line for a poem. An image, even, that came to me suddenly about a woman at a sink and the thick curves of soapy water. I can’t pinpoint exactly what did it, what brought back the urge to write, what made me remember that it’s what I’ve always wanted to do, what I need to do to feel sane and complete and whole, but something in the act of hearing another author read from her work and discuss the process–the often demanding, frustrating, brilliantly satisfying process–of completing a project sparked that light in me again.

I shouldn’t be surprised. I tell students to read, write, surround themselves with anything that might inspire them. Perhaps it’s time to follow my own advice.