Sunday, September 26, 2010
"The mystery does not get clearer by repeating the question,
nor it is bought with going to amazing places.
Until you've kept your eyes
and your wanting still for fifty years
you don't begin to cross over from confusion."
I've been yearning for amazing places, which actually is not like me. I'm usually quite content to stay in my room. Read about Dakini's Bliss this morning on Facebook, with thanks to Pema Chodron. I have a new name for the anxiety and rawness of emotions I've been feeling lately and this makes me happy.
When I've lost my nerve for writing, or just generally lost my nerve, I usually go to Clarice Lispector. This week it was The Passion According to G.H. "All you need to do is see the initials G.H. in the leather of my luggage to know that's me. And I have never demanded of anyone else anything more than the mere coverage of the initials of their names."
Do you remember when a person put their initials on suitcases? Monograms seem to be all the rage - I suppose they have been for a while. That impulse though - to put our initials on things - I find that interesting. To be known in that small way. It's something, I think.
The weekend was restorative. Filled with hiding, escaping, not answering the phone (sorry A.), baking, cooking, cleaning, gardening and even napping. We spent time together, doing nothing, reading, taking photographs. I feel almost human again.
I feel so blessed to have a kid who when you say, do you want to go and fly around the front yard with swaths of fabric so I can take photos of it, says, sure. She seems to get what I'm after right away. And she's also a great hand model. : )
Meanwhile, have had this song stuck in my head all weekend:
It's only life after all.....
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
After a week of going madly in all directions, ridiculous interruptions, and general despair at the absence of the muse, today - a decent morning of writing. The thing to do when mired down in bog of despond: read. Take photos. Take a walk. The photo above makes me wildly happy, who knows why. The colours, the silliness, the slightness of it perhaps.
A person should always read this bit from Woolf's diary when feeling a failed and stupid writer:
"A note: despair at the badness of the book: can't think how I ever could write such stuff - and with such excitement: that's yesterday: today I think it good again. A note, by way of advising other Virginias with other books that this is the way of the thing: up down up down - and Lord knows the truth."
So, yes, today I think my obscure book quite good again.
I repeat, up down up down. Reassuring somehow isn't it? Tomorrow it will be back to despair at the badness. : )
Interesting how I take more photos when the writing is going well. I also fill my diary up with more nonsense. Feathers and leaves are suddenly magical.
I read an essay by Christa Wolf on Ingeborg Bachmann this past week. Re-read. I'm finding I need to revisit all my old books right now rather than delve into anything new. What I love about this particular passage is that Wolf seems the perfect reader for Bachmann, and that too is reassuring. She says,
"When you get ready to read this prose, you should not expect to find stories, descriptions of actions, information about events; neither characters in the ordinary sense of the word nor loud assertions. You will hear a voice: daring and lamenting. A voice that suits the truth, that is: talking about what is certain and uncertain, on the basis of personal experience. And a voice that truthfully goes silent when it doesn't know what to say."
I could read this paragraph all day.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
What I've been reading (re-reading) lately: Friendship by Blanchot. It's strange, but I don't remember reading the part where he talks about Kafka, about the "uninterrupted writing" as an "unapproachable space." This dream of writing, alone, for months at a time, that's my dream too. I dream about it, but do I really want it? No, I don't. Yes, I do. Kafka (I've read his diaries too and also completely forget them) talks about entering the isolation of writing, not like a hermit, but "as a dead man." The completion of his books are resolved "in and by interruption (under the spell of the fragmentary)."
I've long been quoting V. Woolf's: "...for interruptions there will always be." What writer hasn't resolved to write in and by interruption? Anything else would be mad. Yet, hovering around me, that dream, the dream of a span of time, uninterrupted. Maybe it's the dream I want, and what I need is to continue to fall 'under the spell of the fragmentary.' Let's hope. Meanwhile, the resolution to write as a dead woman, uninterruptable in my fragmentariness....
And the red typewriter? It somehow belongs to the book I'm writing, to the character I'm writing. It came painted red, by a previous owner.
Meanwhile, I've borrowed it. Photographed it. And even made it into a greeting card etc. which you could purchase here. (My ImageKind link is also on the sidebar).
And longing, LONGING, for this exhibit. Which is only up until end of January.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Oh, summer was a blur alright. A good blur, right up until the moment last week when my computer (after a few death throes) gave up the ghost. Turns out they don't call it the black screen of death for nothing. A person less in denial might have seen the warning signs and jotted a few email addresses down, saved a few more things to disc. So, you know, if you haven't heard from me, I'm not ignoring you, really I'm not. I just don't happen to have your email address committed to memory. Most of the people I know are on facebook, and they've heard me bleat via the status line about the whole computer death, switchover, and my learning curve on my new one, a Mac. There are definitely some things I need to wrap my brain around. I also need a get rich quick scheme, cuz, I sure hadn't factored in the price of a new computer to my summer budget.
So fall is here, the apples are ready to be picked. The kid is back in school. The writing can begin again. In my mind, after the labour day weekend, I'm going into hermit-mode for at least a month. I'm not the sort to go on writing retreats, in fact, have never been on one ever. Ever. Weird, isn't it? Sometimes I think I'm the only writer in the known universe to not 'retreat.' Nor do I wish to. Here's what I want. On my days off, Tuesday and Thursday, to hole up all day and write. And read and stare out the window and take notes and drink a gallon of coffee and stare out the window some more. This to me is heaven. (And sometimes hell, but who said being a writer was going to be fun, or a piece of cake, or layer cake....see photo below). If things work out I can even get a bit of time to myself to research and jot notes down on the weekends. I also plan on getting out of bed at about 5am every day, starting on, say Tuesday, so that I can write for an hour or two first thing. I still think of myself as a nightowl, and not a morning person, but this is what's available, so I'm going to take it.
All in all, though, it was a great summer. Great friends, great wine, great friends who brought me great wine. I can't complain.
Interestingly, I have a daughter who is crafty and also likes to cook. I'm not so crafty, and I don't like to cook, but because she does, we do. And really it ends up being a lot of fun. And since I like to eat, the cooking part is excellent. She did the narwhal embroidery above, and me, the silly tea towel below. The quotation is great, but who knows why I thought it would make a great t-towel. However, sitting at the table and chatting while we worked was really brilliant and I hope we do more of this. Beats the TV any day.
In conclusion, do not hurry, do not rest. Welcome to fall, cooler temperatures, more time and the pleasures of a routine. Happy writing to those of you who write. : )
And, one last photo, just because. Pretty colours and all that.