3) When and where do you work? How many hours a day?

Mar 27, 2014

I try to spend as many hours a day at my desk and drawing board as possible; it is where I am most centered in my deepest self. I work every day except the Sabbath, and left to my own devices would spend most of my waking hours writing and drawing. But I am also blessed with a husband, four grown children and numerous, wonderful grandchildren who are the joy of my life and whose delightful entreaties and invitations I have no desire to resist.

So I would have to say my work day depends on many factors. I try to get up naturally as the sun creeps through the shutters. Then I make myself a a cup of hot water with lemon and go into my study. I pray, recite Psalms, then light a candle and put on meditative music and begin my intuitive process of drawing and writing poetry. This process, which I have developed and teach and about which I am writing a book, is called The Alchemy of Illuminated Poetry®.  The earlier I wake up, the deeper into a meditative state I can go, and the more surprising the insights that reveal themselves through this process. I try to write at least one new poem a day. Usually I write a Xoem™, a short form which I invented and which I also teach.

During this time I write with a fountain pen in a dedicated poetry journal. I use neither phone nor computer. This is not the time to communicate with the outside world, only to commune with the inner.

After perhaps an hour or so I put away my journal, dress for the day and turn to my work(s)-in-progress. Sometimes it’s writing new material, revising, doing calligraphy or drawing, or all of the above. Sometimes it’s preparing lessons for my next class. I don’t multi-task in the moment – my work takes too much focus for that. But I do, if need be, work on several projects, or aspects of projects, in the course of a day. I move around a lot as well – I walk around my courtyard as I’m thinking, I dance, and I try to do at least 30 minutes of power-walking a day.

Eventually, depending on the work in front of me and the plans for the day, I engage with phone, computer, household chores, errands, et al. On a day right before a Jewish holiday or when my grandchildren are off from school, I might only work for three hours. Most often I will work from 6-8 hours.

If my husband is working late (which as a physician with many emergencies he often is), I may leave work for a babysitting gig and then come back to my desk. I am very blessed to love what I do.

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