Welcome to the latest issue of Subtle Maneuvers. My sincere thanks to everyone who weighed in on my paid subscriptions proposal/dilemma, your comments were incredibly helpful. I’ve written up my tentative conclusions below—but, first, a normal newsletter issue featuring the poet May Sarton.
May Sarton (1912–1995)
After much flailing around with my next book project, and many days of feeling utterly stuck and helpless, I’m pleased to report that I’m finally making steady forward progress, to my tremendous relief! But I still, of course, have off days, when I can’t seem to concentrate and when my usual interventions—taking a walk, taking a nap, drinking more coffee, reading something for pleasure, watering the houseplants—can’t dispel the fog of unmotivation.
Last week, I was browsing the poet May Sarton’s 1973 book Journal of a Solitude (BTW, I love this book and highly recommend it) and found an entry that reminded me of something I know but have a hard time recalling at times like this: that, for creative work, these “off days” are just as important as the more conventionally productive ones.
Here’s the entry from Sarton’s journal, dated January 18: