Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

On Writing, On Blogs, On Trees, On Life

In Life, Writing on April 11, 2014 at 11:04 am

This is a tree with a bird in it.

Perhaps I never wrote my intentions as a writer, because I needed time to learn what writing meant. How would mine be different? How would it sound? Why would it matter?

I am rather weary of technology. Not the telephone or the tv screen, but anything that came into widespread use after I was ten.

So, I was wary to start a writing blog several years ago, from a computer lab in a rural town in Ecuador, because although I had experiences I wanted to share, in the plethora of travelogues, movie mom reviews, tiny kitchen cook-offs, and celeb hotspots, I couldn’t see how adding one more voice to the din would add anything but din.

And after a few years, I don’t think it has. Maybe my 2.75 readers would argue otherwise, but I can’t say I’ve thrown back my robin’s song to anything but the (illiterate though inviting) light of an early dawn.

Of course I approach philosophical waters here, the deep kind you find at the edge of a beach of white stones. Namely, I’m venturing to ask, as in writing, as in voting, as in thinking, as in living: what does being here, Here, in this room in this building in this world, what does it really matter? If we’ve so many bodies filling another chair, lungs taking another breath, eyes seeing another color that has been seen, is being seen, and will be seen by so so many for so many years gone and going by, why do our selves matter?

Let me tell you:

Let me just pluck one philosophical drop from those waters, one of which we are all already very aware how it wets our skin. But did know what it can do to your tongue?

Open up, I’m going to put a drop on each of you.

“If a tree falls in the woods and there is no one there to hear, does it make a sound?”

Does the tree make a sound? The truth is, that doesn’t matter, either. If no one is there to hear it, no one hears it and goes home to tell the tale of the mighty crack. To sit with a baby on their knee and impart to them the reverberating scurry of the mice and rabbits. Books are not written examining the fall from all angles, going back to just as close as the rings will allow, charting graphs and testing minerals to make some meaning of it all. Talk shows don’t run features on local lumberjacks; families don’t gather a little closer around the fire.

If we are not there to tell the story, our absence is the only thing that matters, not the sound. It is the story, not the sound. Because through the story, the sound is heard. It becomes wrapped in many voices making many sounds. That is how it lives.

And since trees are going fall in woods, since winds are going to blow and ants are going to gnaw, fungus is going to grow, and blight is going to strike, since trees are going to fall and everything is going to turn from alright to night, from time to time, we share our voices, when we need to, to understand and to celebrate, because, when we use our voices, even the end is a birthday. Our stories, our writing, our speaking, our sharing, our voices falling on each other when we are there to hear, when we are able, begins new sound, which is new life, is renewed life for us all.



A Little Writing

In Life, Milwaukee on July 11, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Time to write something new, because I said I would.

Oh gosh, what to say?

I’m sitting in my bedroom in a floral nightgown.

A cool fan. Which is a reprieve, don’t you believe, from the sheer headache of last week’s hot house. What a trap for sun we prayed all winter for, begged for in nighttime tantrums, only to show up full force this July, kicking out the rain, laying full claim to the sky. Oh that sun, goading me in half-sleep, laying my hands into the ice box with dim and unopened eyes, pulling out the ice pack to cradle in toss turn on the bed.

Well, I’m glad you came, sun. I know in winter malaise a voice promised you’d save me. I think you have. And I will gladly bike under your rays and lay near naked at the beach and let you kiss my body all over. (with sunscreen, of course.)


In Poetry on July 16, 2010 at 7:30 pm

What is it about poetry?  Art and film and dance and all manner of other disciplines are grand.  In their time, they all call our souls from our bodies, and play them far away on wooden flutes.  But poetry.  There’s something about poetry.

All I can think of is one morning in an airport.  A lady got on a mic and called out my departure from the foreign land, called down the axe on my foreign life.  I watched the line form.  My hands shook.  They did not wipe my eyes.  As I stood and took my place in the slow moving machine, suddenly, something shuddered awake.  It sang and spoke and leapt in the chorus of many unmet friends – Linda Hogan and Ani Difranco and Edna St. Vincent Millay.  They had come to see me off and paint their cacophonous, whispered, triumphant and timorous words upon the end.  “The end is where we start from,” one of them said, as they grabbed my hands and coaxed them and walked me onto the plane.

I’d like to share some poetry.  I’m not even sure what poetry is, but I know it’s necessary.

Travel – Edna St. Vincent Millay

The railroad track is miles away,
And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn’t a train goes by all day
But I hear its whistle shrieking.

All night there isn’t a train goes by,
Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,
But I see its cinders red on the sky,
And hear its engine steaming.

My heart is warm with the friends I make,
And better friends I’ll not be knowing;
Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,
No matter where it’s going.

[FOR THE SAKE OF A SINGLE POEM] – Rainer Maria Rilke

…Ah, poems amount to so little when you write them too early in your life.  You ought to wait and gather sense and sweetness for a whole lifetime, and a long one if possible, and then, at the very end, you might perhaps be able to write ten good lines. For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough) – they are experiences. For the sake of a single poem, you must see many cities, many people and Things, you must understand animals, must feel how birds fly, and know the gesture which small flowers make when they open in the morning. You must be able to think back to streets in unknown neighborhoods, to unexpected encounters, and to partings you had long seen coming; to days of childhood whose mystery is still unexplained, to parents whom you had to hurt when they brought in a joy and you didn’t pick it up (it was a joy meant for somebody else-); to childhood illnesses that began so strangely with so many profound and difficult transformations, to days in quiet, restrained rooms and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, to nights of travel that rushed along high overhead and went flying with all the stars, – and it is still not enough to be able to think of all that. You must have memories of many nights of love, each one different from all the others, memories of women screaming in labor, and of light, pale, sleeping girls who have just given birth and are closing again. But you must also have been beside the dying, must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open window and the scattered noises. And it is not yet enough to have memories. You must be able to forget them when they are many, and you must have the immense patience to wait until they return. For the memories themselves are not important. Only when they have changed into our very blood, into glance and gesture, and are nameless, no longer to be distinguished from ourselves – only then can it happen that in some very rare hour the first word of a poem arises in their midst and goes forth from them.

Nothing – Linda Hogan

Nothing sings in our bodies

like breath in a flute.

It dwells in the drum.

I hear it now

that slow beat

like when a voice said to the dark,

let there be light,

let there be ocean

and blue fish

born of nothing

and they were there.

I turn back to bed.

The man there is breathing.

I touch him with hands already owned by another world.

Look, they are desert,

they are rust. They have washed the dead.

They have washed the just born.

They are open.

They offer nothing.

Take it.

Take nothing from me.

There is still a little life

left inside this body,

a little wilderness here

and mercy

and it is the emptiness

we love, touch, enter in one another

and try to fill.