Negotiating This Whole Balance Thing or Finding Time for a One-Woman Dance Party In Order to Write Poems

I have a theory. The time you were born directly connects to the time of day in which your creative energy is most abundant. It occurs daily at the same time, an overwhelming need to do whatever it is you artistically do. I was born at 11:50am. 10 minutes right before the clock struck lunch. My hours are the hours of 10am-2pm. During this time, I am my most awake self, often overcome by a strong urge to write, or simply become filled with too many ideas to ever be able to get down on paper all at once before they flit away by the time the midday slump hits. I sometimes wish I had a recorder in my head to capture all of the snippets simultaneously appearing and asking to be remembered to finish later.

This is my theory and for me, and few other whom I’ve approached with this theory – remains to be steadfast and true. What scientific evidence do I have to back up this claim of mine? None. Here’s what I do know:

I know that I never know how my writing will feel on any given day, and so cling to this notion that there is a time that sets itself aside for me in the event that I have that time available to write, prime writing time. I’ve asked my other half what time he was born: sometime late in the night. He spends his late late hours, designing, producing, conceiving new ideas, churning out his creative impulses when most of us are asleep. I’ve tried to match this cycle, pushing my bed time later and later, telling myself that the greats sacrifice and so must I! Rarely, do I live up to the night owl standards. When I do, I’m done for the next day, uninterested or uninspired to do/write anything. I’ve done myself in. And so, I hold fast to my theory of birth time = creative productivity. It’s my truth and I’m sticking to it.

However, I am also a working adult and don’t really have the liberty to just drop what I’m doing, tell my colleagues or boss, “Excuse me for a few hours while I go and write poems. Be back to discuss that partnership negotiation later.” I heard Tyehimba Jess once talk about how he knew he was supposed to be poet when he found himself spending more time on the job writing poems than being on the job. After that revelation, he applied to NYU’s MFA Program and for those of you who know his work, you know how that story ended. I aspire.

But I love my 9-5. I spend my day creating amazing programs at the library for youth of Chicago. I do have the chance to spread the poetry gospel to new generations of writers and young artists, helping youth of the city discover their passion, no matter the content area. It’s pretty sweet.

Yet, I still long for the day when my own nicely polished, fresh paper-pressed book of poems arrives at my door step saying, “Hello, Mama!” So I write – find the time in the evening hours, having a conversation with my afternoon muse, asking it to push back our quality time just a little later. The greatest part about having an other half that is also creative, is that unspoken understanding of needing time to make the dream happen, and so giving each other the time and space needed to focus on our art, in between the jobs and our toddler.

When it comes to creating artistic space to produce, adjustments can surely be made when necessary. I attempt to save that Noon energy and put it into an imaginary bottle I can open when I have the quietude to sit down and get down to writing. I read over work I become excited about getting back to later, running lines through my head throughout the day until I can get to my desk, or a piece of paper. But I cherish my nights, wooing my muse through Acoustic Evening playlists on Spotify (or now perhaps Tidal? I digress), tea London style, sometimes even a one-woman dance party to keep up the fluidity, the writing written one day or moment at a time.

Whatever it takes, man. Whatever it takes.

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