Sunday, October 2, 2011
And - the sun is up now, in the solarium.
Spider, still in the corner behind my desk, can't you do something, earn your keep (you've been there for months now), catch the tiny bug that's flitting around annoying and distracting me?
I enjoyed the workshop yesterday very much, it was a very small group, but extraordinary. I connected with the pieces they wrote, and they with mine - not that it's a competitive "game" but there was a rather high bar. Which was challenging & invigorating to me, and I felt very comfortable to be in the midst of artistic souls. It was liberating and exhilarating, and all too rare in my life - but such moments count, those true moments of connection - one forgets, or at least I do. I contrast yesterday's little one-off session (actually two-off, there's a second next Saturday) with a creative writing course I took a few years ago a community college. I liked the instructor very much, and it too was a very small group, four or five, but I found a couple of the participants so dull and conventional that it had a repressive, deadening effect on me, at least in that noncredit "for fun" course. But it was part of my process, I had to get through it, even if to find out that that setting isn't for me. So yesterday's session, of self-selected artists showing up on a rainy Saturday morning to test themselves in a new way - was very exciting. One of the artists right then & there wrote an amazing short poem (regarding the 'go back to being a child, how would you make a home in nature' exercise) that, no kidding, was worthy of E.D. herself. I gave her the highest praise I could think of to bestow, besides my initial, rather silly but heartfelt reaction upon hearing the young woman read her rhythmic, rhyming lines aloud - wow, somewhere up there Emily Dickinson must be applauding! But after a bit of discussion about her ecstatic verse - I simply summed: "It rocks." Which it did, in its joyful spontaneous cadence - it certainly did.
So that was exciting, and I liked the little pieces I wrote too - it is a very great game indeed to be let loose on fields for fifteen minutes at a time charged with having to come up with something - and doing so.
It's not something I do on my own very much in my writing, except for sitting down at the end of a day to write to you. Should I be doing more of the other? I'm not sure. I come up against ideas of being a "serious" artist, and nothing paralyzes me quicker, faster than that kind of pressure. And yet.... I see people taking flight, once they embrace that... I'm not so sure I'm there yet. I don't know. Or, there's forever that divide - that I really am a fundamentally divided person, as 1.0 always extremely astutely (more so than anyone else) understood. Well, I can accept that, and will - if that's how (for example) my brain is structured, than I will simply go with that fundamental lifelong conflict and glean what I can glean from that, as opposed to expecting to take flight all the time - I'm a bird, but a flightless bird I think. Did dodos sing?
But that's another thing I really like about the method of yesterday's instructor (as well that of the memoirist at the community college, who was great, even if I had nothing in common with the classmates). It's all about how to catch the spark, slip into the groove, enter the jumprope at the right moment - just finding the way-in.... start with where you are... however mundane it may seem on the surface... as she said, you can always describe just exactly what you're experiencing at that very moment, lamp on, dusk lighting, drier so quiet I wonder if it's still on, black knit sweater thrown over my shoulders, readers on my nose, pauses between figuring out what I'm noticing....
Oh, and plus I might not have done any workout at all, except that one of my favorite movies of all time was on, that I think relates to this theme - one of E.D.'s too - the truth but slant --- Sideways with Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church. We're like crabs going sideways - I think T.S. Eliot had something to say about that but I'm not looking it up -
Well even fireworks in a night sky seem to dissolve into nothing
and so probably
this post is best regarded as that
except for all my kisses for you, my dearest love
I'm glad I've figured out a sideways way to make love with you
more than one way
what's the line?
all we know of this world and all we'll be able to know
I don't know
I know I'm botching it
do you see if you were here you would quickly supply the exact quote,
what I'm striving for
in the most beautiful conversation
it wouldn't be - "that is not what I meant at all"
it would be - yeah, that's it - exactly!!
adjusting my shawl, my sweetheart,
missing you very much, thinking of you always