I am not writing.
I have a purpose for not writing: I want distance from the work. Rather, I need distance from the work.
In my computer is a file full of poems that are raw and unpolished. I am probably in love with them. I won't send them out into the world. I cradle and feed them. They can survive in any light, but fragile like newborns, they're not ready to leave the house.
To help them grow, I'm reading. This is not to say I'm reading a poem here and there, or a magazine article once a week. Rather, I'm ravenous, devouring novels and poetry collections. I don't encourage myself to stop.
The upside is that poems are being nurtured. They will grow. But much like a mother home alone with a newborn for days on end, I doubt that I'm doing this the right way. I feel closed off from the world, alone with the baby, hoping I'm feeding her enough, hoping she'll grow up okay.
And like a mother who is home alone with a baby, I read articles on nurturing the work. I look for writers who will assure me I'm not alone and this happens to anyone who writes.
I am certain it does. The poems will grow. I will write new work. What is happening now other writers call "filling the well," so I know it's normal. But every time, it feels strange. I should put words on the page. I should finish a poem.
All of those "shoulds" won't help the poems grow. They need to be nurtured, but they also need me to be objective, and I can only get there with distance.