He taught me that living was more important than writing, that, after a certain point, the thought of gluing myself to my writing desk would be an act of violence, rather than one of love. Two hours, he said. Two hours a day are all you need. The rest of your time must be spent walking and visiting with friends in cafes and making love. Seemed like the ideal schedule for a full-time writer or, in my case, a full time burgeoning writer. Not yet out of braces, I was determined to learn everything and anything about this elusive art (and, admittedly, I was more than a little titillated by reading Henry Miller in my math class, feeling oh-so-sophisticated and adult in the face of algebra problems).
Over the years I have adapted his prescription to suit my own needs--twenty minutes a day when I teach; just enough to feel my fingers glide along my keyboard, enough to tickle the words. Then on those long glorious days of summer or sweet, lush weekends, I can indulge in my two hours just as I can indulge in my long walks and life living.
Writing should be an act of joyfulness, an expression of the fullness of your life, not a ball and chain that keeps you from this world. Thank you, Henry Miller, thank you for this lesson.
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