I’d like to say I’m a daily writer, but as a working mom, I can’t always make it to the page, and certainly not as my most productive or best self. If I expand what counts for writing, and don’t always expect a product or an outcome, it’s easier to see that my daily life and practices feed my poems, and the act of showing up for something—anything—gets easier the more I do it.
These days the something I show up for is surfing, and when I treat that as writing time, I almost always leave the water having done a little work. Like writing, surfing is immersive and sensory, pulling me deep into the water where I am alert to all possibilities: each wave, each passing sea creature and soaring bird, the shifting colors of sky, the rise and fall of tides. Unlike writing, surfing isn’t something I can be easily distracted from. There is no human demand, no e-mail or urgent message that can reach me beyond the break, and if my mind wanders too far, the ocean is swift to correct and bring me back to the task at hand.
My surfing practice starts most mornings in the dark. I wake and read a little something—my own words or someone else’s—to have an idea or piece of language to mull over as I paddle and wait and ride. I slip on my wetsuit, head down to the shore to meet my friends, and then take whatever the ocean has to give that day, no matter the conditions. Home after an hour or so, I sometimes rush to capture words I’ve found out there. Other times, ideas have to percolate and build up energy over days or weeks. Writing time can mean many things, if you’re open to it.
—Amanda Moore, author of Requeening (Ecco, 2021)