This year we celebrate the centennial of William Stafford's birth — in Hutchinson, Kansas, 1914. He started in the Midwest but published 59 of his 60 books in Oregon (not to mention the dozen published since his passing in 1993). When people would ask him, "Bill, when is your next book coming out?" he would often answer, "Which one?"
How did he do that? Well, the answer is very simple and lavishly inviting: he wrote something every day for 40 years, and his books were made from about one day's writing out of eight that he found worthy.
In this little remembrance of him, I want to consider what those daily writing pages contained, and how they worked for him — and how something like his approach might work for any of us who chose to give such daily writing practice a chance.
His pages, which are now housed in the William Stafford Archives at Lewis & Clark College, exhibit a varying daily mixture of four prevailing elements:
1. Each page includes the date of the writing. Is that even worth mentioning? Well, it turns out to be strangely ...