Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tsk, Task

"Haywire," by David Asch

I’ve written before on this blog about the dangers of being overly task-oriented (a mindset I have often fallen prey to), especially when it comes to creativity and writing.

Parenthood is very imminent for us…our little guy will be arriving any day now. It’s amazing how much I’ve been forced, already, to let go of the need for control (which maybe is an illusion, anyway). I know that this is one of the great lessons that I’ll be learning, for which I’m greatly appreciative.

I no longer feel the compulsion to write and post every weekday. I still feel compelled to write, and definitely view the world from the perspective of an artist and writer. But my writing practice has indeed undergone some changes coinciding with pregnancy. I don’t sit down with the express purpose to write poems every day—for many years, I did do this. I remember just wanting to generate work all the time, to create space in my day to validate feeling like an artist.

Now, it feels like the urge to write has deepened and taken an inward turn. I already make plenty of space in my life for art and writing—now I want to think more deliberately about what I’m saying with my art. The time and repetition elements of my practice have receded in importance, for me…it’s been thoroughly absorbed into my psyche that I look at things and naturally have a response, that I want to create words where before there was silence or nebulous thought.

A daily, chosen, once-cherished practice can easily become a task. Tasks feel externally-imposed; after all, the word shares linguistic roots with “tax” (as in a duty that must be performed).

Creating a task list can feel really good. Write the actions you are ordering yourself to complete, and when you do them, you get a little thrill from having controlled the future.

Creativity needn’t be so neat, so full of (false) mastery. Little by little, I’m forced to confront the tasks I give myself, as both a creative person and a human, and question their value. While I know that making space for writing will remain important in my life once our son is here, I also know that he is a wonderfully enigmatic variable. Will he sleep? Will he eat? Will he poop at inopportune moments? Yes, all of the above. And my husband and I don’t really get a say in this.

I guess what it comes down to is this: I don’t want daily life to become full of “tasks” to check off. Rather, I welcome the incoming chaos and unpredictability and frustration and joy and even boredom. And I hope my art can reflect this.


  1. It already does, Hannah, beginning with this post that frees you to be the creative you are in so many ways.

    Wishing you and your husband the many blessings that your son will bring. What a wonderful Thanksgiving gift.

    1. Thank you so much, Maureen!! I appreciate your support.

  2. Your daily practice has prepared you well for those days when there are more important (or more smelly) things to deal with. Parenting in and of itself requires a creative energy - enjoy!

  3. Your final paragraph says it eloquently, Hannah. When the wee lad comes, life will be altered somewhat. In fact, you will probably experience greater creativity, when you have to express the supreme joy of loving your son because he is a product of your joie d'vivre, and that is itself superior to art. Let art imitate life, not the other way around. The Art of Life is still more exciting that the daily task of Art and artistic toil. All the best for the bambino, you, and Marcus. :) <3

  4. I think you won't be able to NOT write poetry. Feelings deeper than you ever thought possible have to come out somewhere!


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