The uses of distance. The technique of not before, but after. For a writer, is any second-look better than the one we take after a good night?

It’s a hard discipline, walking away for the evening, yet an invaluable one.

The stuff we filled our heads with during the day fills us up until we can’t taste another word. We are the numbed by overfamiliarity and questionable judgments. We tire of the sound of our own voices. Our own beloved work becomes wallpaper. We are tunnel-visioned and scatterbrained. At the same time.

Amazing how the way clears with distance. A walk to the mailbox—and better, an overnight detaching—are remarkable doors to perspective.

This is not news to anyone who writes. It is not new-news….not even for this space. But today I’m seeing it in full-flower, so I’m sharing it with you.

The practice of sleep-on-it has remarkable restorative powers. The way that was less certain yesterday is a path swept clean in the morning. What was hideous screeching last evening actually has some music in it, after all. Conversely, what was beautiful yesterday is less-so today…but the remedies are plain.

In morning, one sees the evidences of yesterday’s labors. The rough made smooth. The crooked straight. (Apologies to Handel.) We can take that microsecond to pat ourselves on the back. Or forgive.

I try never to say “you must” in this space. Today I am. If you’re not walking away, you need to. If you’re walking away too much, you’re avoiding. Awareness will give us the balance between the two. Art, like love, cannot be forced. Writing, like a strangely simpatico vampire, must be invited in freely. There. I’ve said it.

Put it down. Let it be. Take it to bed with you if you must. Literally. But sleep on it.

 

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