Unless you’re a poet laureate of some kind, you’ll probably not get an assignment to write a poem anytime soon. Writing poetry is very much a self-initiated activity and easy to postpone till later. Even after you’ve taken a summer break and are fresh again, unless writing poetry is the main type of writing you do, it’s easy to let that saddle gather dust.
A bheil Gàdhlig agaibh? (Do you speak Scottish Gaelic?)
I don’t imagine I’ll even be able to honestly answer, “Tha, beagan” (yes, a little), though when this post goes live, I will have just returned from two weeks across the Pond, where my son will have been married on the shores of Loch Earn, north of Glasgow.
I grew up riding horses. The rule was, if you fell off, you had to get back on again or you’d spoil the horse. Practical reasoning, uncomfortable application. And yet, to this day I love horses.
This summer has been filled to the brim with family visits from England, British Columbia, and Japan, as well as more local folks, who all appreciate lots of good food, freshly made beds, and a relatively tidy place to congregate. With all the hospitality required for these gatherings, I have royally fallen off my writing horse.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my family. But most of them don’t even seem to realize I have a writing horse. So it’s up to me to get back in the saddle.
“Back in the saddle” refers to a cowboy who returned to work after recovering from an injury. Gene Autry’s song made it a household phrase. Unfortunately, it also means the back part of a chicken, the part nearest its tail. Now I’m not saying that writer’s block turns us into chicken-livered, yellow-belly, word avoiders, but . . .