In a conversation with my e-Salon friends the other day, we talked about the challenge of fitting creativity into a life of necessary commerce; of finding our way past the soul-crushing setbacks and inexplicable decisions of the work whose fate we cannot determine. If daily life disrespects us, if it eats (as it must) the hours we need to feed our souls, how do we clear the place in our creative heads to do the thing that keeps us alive?

I’m still working that one out. Last night, in the time I carved out after a busy day, I hated every word that I had previously loved. But here’s where I come out today:

The life-preserver, I believe, is found in the critical mass of time. Give the day to the job, give tomorrow to ourselves. But therein lies the challenge of constancy. If the continual embrace of the Created World is where the comfort is found, how do we summon our creativity at will?

Writing asks. It wants a dedication as regular as sunrise. It wants our days and nights; it jealously asks ownership of our thoughts. If we’re lucky.

Sometimes we still need to chase it.

Even if we’ve succeeded in making the Created World our full-time work, the world still creeps in. We lose creative time to the job search that is more duty than delight, to the last-minute job that helps keep the electricity lit, to the cat that wants feeding, the neglected lawn that needs mowing, the dishes that wait in the sink. These are not the tasks of procrastination—they are the requirements of daily living. And they take us from the thing we love.

Writing, for me, is a jealous lover who demands my attention ceaselessly and, yet, will not come to me when I call. I am best in his company; happiest there, when the world I imagine is more present than the one I see. I am most content when the shapes and sounds of it fill my head and push the real world out. In my preference, the real world whispers in the background but doesn’t have the strength to speak. The not-real world is much more present for me. And I like it that way.

How does one apologize to the jealous lover-in-the-head when one cannot find time to dance with the one that brung her?