As some readers know, I am currently working a retail job. The store that employs me is about 45 minutes away from where I currently live. To some, this seems like an absurd commute. However, for many years when I was living in North Carolina, it was not at all unusual for me to have to drive 30, 45, or even 60 minutes in order to get to a doctor's appointment, a mall, or a decent restaurant. To a suburbanite, 45 minutes can seem like an eternity, but it doesn't feel that way to me most days because I still have a certain kind of mentality about distances and times.
But my views on this continue to evolve. For example, right now, I am dictating this blog post to my phone while I am stuck in a traffic jam on a Thursday afternoon on my way to work. The fact is that my hour-and-a-half round trip commute, which often takes place in the afternoon and late at night, given my current schedule, is starting to wear on me. This is not because I do not enjoy my job; as far as I'm concerned, I have incredibly nice coworkers, and the work is really not so bad. Rather, it's because of those 90 minutes I lose every day.
Those are 90 minutes when I am not--and, in the main, cannot be--working on my writing. As you can tell from this blog post, I've managed to find a way around that, but only in some cases. For me, it is much easier to dictate a blog post than it is to dictate a poem or short story. Dictating a blog post is not unlike having a conversation, even though that conversation is with myself, seeing as how my posts are never particularly universal. (Side note: due to the nature of voice-to-text technology, I'm actually spending a great deal more time transcribing this than I would like; it would seem that my iPhone cannot tell the difference between me saying "poem" and "home," and that hinders my understanding of my own words sometimes.)
Unfortunately, this is not a solid strategy for my poetry, because I am the kind of person who cannot even whip up a piece on my computer; I must have a pen and some paper at my disposal. I am also not the kind of person who can remember a line indefinitely and keep it in my brain if it comes to me at the start of a retail shift, or really any time when I don't have access to materials with which to record the thought. My managers have previously found me with Post-Its, jotting down notes for poems. Luckily, they are very nice people and have never tried to stop me or discipline me for doing such a thing, and I've worked hard to make sure I'm only doing it when the store is slow and I do not have a customer waiting for me.
So, on the one hand, hooray for my brain being able to compose a blog post on the fly! But on the other, boo on the commute. Obviously I'm going to have to find a way to work around this, possibly by giving up a bit of sleep to offset the lost time, or perhaps sitting down during breaks and lunches with the intention of producing something. Because if there's one thing I absolutely cannot do, it is stop writing.