Joan MacLeod, Leonardo da Vinci and the Value of Persistence

Governor-General Award winning playwright Joan McLeod once advised me to spend time with your work every day. She sets aside mornings to write, and will explain when friends call that she can meet them in the afternoon.

What do we value?  Among other things, time to work.  Just thinking about having time to work puts a smile on my face. I always think of that kid in the film Home Alone whose enormous family omits to take him on vacation.  Beaming, he walks to the phone and breathlessly orders his greatest unrealized dream, “.. .a whole cheese pizza, all to myself.”  To me, time to work is a whole cheese pizza.

It took me a long time to give myself the gift of scheduling in writing time.  When carving out time to write seems impossible, I try to invert the image and carve time out of my writing rather than the other way round.

When my persistence in scheduling and planning falters, and the days slip like sand between cupped fingers, I need to remember what Leonardo da Vinci said about scheduling:  Time stays long enough for those who use it.

I’m inspired to persist when I  remember that Joan MacLeod, while teaching at UVic, writing fiction and non-fiction pieces, and staging The Valley, her latest in a string of critically acclaimed plays, still spends lots of time with her beautiful family and friends.

Here’s a must-read  link to the Toronto Star’s review of Joan’s play The Valley.  Joan MacLeod’s superb short story “The Salt Tour”  can be found in Issue 3 of Pulp Literature due out in July.

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