Revelations fall from the sky like sundrops and splash across my lips. I am at odds with what it is I want and what it is I need. I know, but have difficulty resisting, that the “want” is the beginning of my end. But hey, awareness is the antidote and this girl gonna live.
The sundrops splash and rainbows appear and I ride it up, not down, closer to the source. What is the cause? Why should I split want and need? Where do I begin?
Discomfort. It is as simple as that. A physical sense of being out of place. Inside my own body I feel it vibrate. This is not it. A sense of purposelessness washes over me and the more I ignore it the worse it feels. It is not the existential doubt, “Is this all there is?” To not feel that is my greatest solace. The meaning of life for me is perfectly clear: love, and more love, and then… more love.
Writing chose me, a long long time ago. I did my best to resist, I created a block to it so I wouldn’t have to know. Know? Yes, know. Know all of this. Because of the shame and the horror and the pain and the fear. But writing is my master and it demanded this. It set me down a path that was never a choice and through the inevitable, because it is always inevitable, to writing I have come.
Writing chose me and to it I surrender. But the surrendered woman over here, she is still willful. She who is me is mired in resistance. Not just to writing but to happiness. And I see that writing and happiness are one in the same. And still I have my tendencies to resist and thus… discomfort.
I resist because the stripping away of illusions and delusions is real and raw. It’s the peeling back of a shell that I have built for as long as I can recall. It is tough and hardened around me and inside it I believe myself to be safe so long as the oxygen remains. But such it has come that I see now that oxygen is not living, it is life support. So the shell I began to crack and cracking it open, like a walnut, it takes a certain courage. Simply to dare to defy your fear, wow, I had no idea. But once it began, it would not end and I didn’t know what that truly meant but me, I don’t think until after I decide and face the consequences. Willful. Full of will. And power. And drive.
And yet sometimes I feel fear because I am reaching a place. I mean me, right now, I know exactly what it is. I am ready to begin again. To do something I have never done. To put down my novel and leave it unfinished because I do not have the psychic reserves to rewrite it right now. If I were to go deeper into the darkness, I’d collapse. So I’m letting go of the belief that because I started something I must finish it right now. It’s not that it won’t be finished. It’s just that now is not the time. I have made my decision (props to African Mami) to follow the light.
I know it has come. Because Mr. Brown has left town. And I got it so clear. He is gone. He is found. He blessed me. How does he do this? I don’t think I will ever know. But he blessed me and that blessing is love.
And still… like Issa Rae… aaaaaaawkwaaaaaaard.
I am ready and I resist and that creates discomfort. I need peace. But I want distraction. Peace comes in the form of opening my soul and putting words to paper to tell you who Mr. Brown is and was and will always be and how is it he is this because even he does not understand. I’m like that owl in the tree answering the little boy. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
The world may never know.
I see myself as I am. Craaaving distraction. Needing peace. Jacob wresting with the Angel. Shout out to Violetta for bringing this image to me. And a shout to GeeCee, who got me thinking much deeper about the possibility that the Word is holy. The Bible for him, with respect. But for me, it is the Word because in the beginning was, well, the left brain.
I’m not going to do it. No tangent. But wow, oh wow, when I am ready, I heard the words in my ear. I’d rather write a treatise than a treatment. I am old school. My world is still. Silent. My world is the image and the word. But the word, the word, the word as the novel, the novel as Truth, the fictionalization of life is already always happening. Just because we think it so doesn’t make it fact.
So the novel, perhaps it is not a fiction but a parallel universe that already exists. It is already happening. Perhaps it already happened. Perhaps this is the dream. Perhaps I stop rambling…
Day 12 asks What is the last book, story, or poem you read that had an effect on your writing? Are you a better writer for having read this work?
Once upon a time, I read one book at a time. Sometimes I even finished it even though I hated it. Then I stopped finishing books I disliked. Then I stopped reading one book at a time. Then it became something I never could possibly expect, though this may be because I do not read novels or non-fiction very often. I read text like I look at art. I read text as snapshots speaking to me as my needs determine.
In the course of a day, I might read someone’s words on VSB followed by a quote from TS Eliot and then a dip into Krishnamurti. Perhaps a poem by Bukowski followed by a dash of Agatha Christie, then an email from Miss Fitts telling me her incredible dream and then I’m perusing the Rizzoli catalogue for new titles and reading Taschen’s magazine. I pick up Norman Mailer’s The Spooky Art then I put it down in favor of Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. I might get itchy and ready Antonio Machado aloud en espanol, or I might not read anything, not a damn thing at all.
Reading used to be my greatest distraction. When I worked 60, 70, 80 hours a week and I had no computer at home for something like ten years, that is to say, when my job was to make books, it always amused me that the only thing I wanted to do in my free time was to read books.
But now that I write, books and essays and poems and such, I recall an email from Irvine Welsh in which he told me he would be happy to look at a book I was publishing but he couldn’t read it just then because he was writing. He explained he couldn’t read a book lest its voice would infect his own and I thought, I never thought of that but yes, I know. After reading The Age of Innocence I remember writing the most unusually constructed emails, speaking in a diction over a one hundred years old. I wasn’t trying; it just had come to me because language is a living entity. The rhythm of Wharton’s writing had altered my brainwaves. And it was beautiful and just a little bit spooky, and it has me thinking about how to answer today’s question.
Ever since I began my novel last summer, I stopped reading books in full. It is only with the rarest of titles that it should be as it once was. I read Next of Kin in two, maybe three days. I couldn’t put it down and I need to re-read it because it hold the answers to questions I have about the word and its affect on the mind and the structure of language and how it is learned. Perhaps the only reason I could read this is is because it is about chimpanzees, and now it is that all I want to do is read books in full written by people with a profound love for animals (I see you, Diane Fosse). Maybe it is that stories of animals are personal histories. And that I am not influenced by them as a writer but I feel them fully as a mind and a heart. I am back to the place where I once was as a reader, of pure pleasure and peace. But reading, all told, is just too damn influential.
Perhaps the answer to today’s question is there is no last book, story, or poem. Every book, story, and poem is alive to me. It’s not just that I read and re-read (and, by way of aside, I started a research project and discovered 95% of the group never re-reads). It is also this that I wish to add: quotes, emails, texts, and comments on blogs. The word in all its forms, and let’s go a little further and add to this song lyrics.
You’re a writer you say? Writing words, words, and more words!
Oh Norma, how I miss you and our time together. How I miss repeating your diction to the point that I have created my own accent. How it is, Billy Wilder, that you know my soul. Stars are ageless, aren’t they?
They are, until they explode…