The warmglow frozencave of writing

I’m in the middle of a lot of grief, ok?  I have a lot to deal with, not many resources,  (but I’m a beotch with the ones I do have) and a psychological state that….could be better.  Naturally, my mind has decided that it’s time to start writing again.  Oy.

Now some of this interest has come from recent encouragement right here on this blog!  Never think that a kind word goes unheard.  I need so many….but that’s another story.  But I saw the architecture and heard the music in my mind and I had to smelt it down into letters and words and sentences and paragraphs.  And I am doing that now.  No, I’m not putting it on here…at least not yet.

There is a part of me that really wishes I didn’t have this monkey on my back or that I could somehow tame it to fetch coins from me.  I’m willing to be the organ grinder.  But when I’m here, the diamond that catches each damn photon and reflects it back outwards, away from me, back towards YOU the reader,  it’s when I’m happiest…and saddest and most afraid.  I wish I could just make it pretty, useful, productive, but the light is the light.  Often necessary even if it blinds.  I recoil when I write some of the things I do.  But that’s just “me.”  Maybe I realize I’m not all important and so I shut up and play my guitar.  Let others decide if it’s music.  Brian Eno once said that while you’re working on it a piece of art is all yours, but when you “finish” it then it belongs to the world.  People read into it what they will and there isn’t much you can do about that.

 

Back to it!  Love to you all.

 

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8 thoughts on “The warmglow frozencave of writing”

  1. To smelt. That’s an image. One that involves the heat of hell, hard work, danger, gas, hot air, fumes, exhaust, compression, heat exchange, and slag tipping. In view of that, moments of respite and guitar playing may be needed before putting on the heat resistant gloves again.

    Smelters are skilled individuals who know how to apply heat and other techniques to produce usable metals from raw metal ore. In many primitive societies, smelters and smiths were seen as practitioners of magic and even as magical or divine beings themselves. And, as all who walk through darkness, grief and health concerns know, there is something mystical, magical and divine about light, directed. reflected, revealed and applied!

    From my reading this week, the following quotes surfaced:

    From, Art and Fear, Observations on The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, by D. Bayles and T Orland:

    “The sane human being is satisfied that the best he/she can do at any given moment is the best he/she can do at any given moment. That belief, if widely embraced, would make this book unnecessary, false, or both. Such sanity is, unfortunately, rare. Making art provides uncomfortably accurate feedback about the gap that inevitably exists between what you intended to do and what you did. In fact, if artmaking did not tell you (the maker) so enormously much about yourself, then making art that matters to you would be impossible. To all viewers but yourself, what matters is the product: the finished artwork. To you, and you alone, what matters is the process: the experience of shaping that artwork. The viewer’s concerns are not your concerns (although it’s dangerously easy to adopt their attitudes.) Their job is whatever it is: to be moved by art, to be entertained by it, to make a killing of it, whatever. Your job is to learn to work on your work”

    And this from Rising Strong, by B Brown:

    The most effective way to foster awareness is by writing down our stories. Nothing fancy. The goal here is to write what Anne Lamott would call your “shitty first draft”–or your SFD…Lamott’s advice from her exceptional book, “Bird by Bird…’The only way I can get anything written at all is to write really shitty first drafts. The first draft is the child’s draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later. You just let this childlike part of you channel whatever voices and visions come through and onto the page. If one of the characters wants to say, “Well so what, Mr Poopy Pants?,” you let her. No one is going to see it. If the kid wants to get into really sentimental, weepy, emotional territory, you let him. Just get it all down on paper because there might be something great in those six crazy pages that you would never have gotten to by more rational, grown-up means'”

    In the next chapter, on the Brave and the Brokenhearted, she lists the most foundational elements of grief that emerged from her studies as: loss, longing and feeling lost. She goes on to say:

    We all experience different kinds of heartbreak over the course of our lives, but the heartbreak associated with addiction, and mental, behavioral, and physical health struggles is not something we talk about enough. We need to have more conversations about the protracted heartbreak that stem from feeling helpless as we watch someone we love suffer, even as that suffering pulls us down. Last, our silence about grief serves no one. We can’t heal if we can’t grieve; we can’t forgive if we can’t grieve. We run from grief because loss scares us, yet our hearts reach toward grief because the broken parts want to mend. C.S. Lewis wrote, “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.”

    And finally, from Writing without Teachers by Peter Elbow, this, which I shared with my son tonight before logging on to find this post:

    What I hear loudest in the tape of the good teacherless class is bravery. Willingness to risk. The teacherless class makes people nervous. They are on their own. There is no one there who has been there before to tell them when they are doing things right, to reassure them. It’s almost as if I can hear someone saying to himself, “Well, it’s no use waiting for someone else to do it for us. There’s no one special to lead the way. I guess someone has to start. I’ll give it a try.” And he takes the risk of really sharing his perception and experience. It is a kind of ice-breaking operation that makes it possible for the others to follow. They discover that nothing terrible happens to the first person. When a class can’t get itself going, what I feel is everyone hanging back, waiting for someone else.

    This ice-breaking is not once-and-for-all. People don’t plunge immediately into utter honesty. A successful class seems characterized by a series of small breakthroughs over a long time. By many increments, they work up to sharing fuller and fuller reactions to the words.

    If you want to insure that a class gets going, try to find brave people to be in it: people who are willing to say what they see and feel, and not worry so much about how others view it. Young children are useful members of a class.

    These quotes are what came up for me this week, what I’ve talked about with others this week, and what resonated as I read this post, whether they are useful or applicable, they signify connection of one kind or another.

    To be that someone, willing to risk, to toss out a pitch, marvel at the crack of a bat, celebrate two hands full of rings and start writing again while moving through grief is a marvelous thing, with words reflected and returned in ways that go beyond imagination.

    Write on!!

  2. Poem: “What’s in My Journal” by William Stafford, from Crossing Unmarked Snow.

    What’s in My Journal

    Odd things, like a button drawer. Mean
    Things, fishhooks, barbs in your hand.
    But marbles too. A genius for being agreeable.
    Junkyard crucifixes, voluptuous
    discards. Space for knickknacks, and for
    Alaska. Evidence to hang me, or to beatify.
    Clues that lead nowhere, that never connected
    anyway. Deliberate obfuscation, the kind
    that takes genius. Chasms in character.
    Loud omissions. Mornings that yawn above
    a new grave. Pages you know exist
    but you can’t find them. Someone’s terribly
    inevitable life story, maybe mine.

  3. Amba, I can’t imagine you NOT fearless! Your “resting state” as it were.

    Lem, it’s 5AM…go back to bed!

    Geez, Louise (sorry I had to!) you got me almost cryin’

    Here’s a bit from Flora June, another of my characters…about Art.

    Did you ever have a morning where everything went right, where you had the day all planned out, where you knew your goals for the day were entirely achievable with just the right amount of hard work? Flora June Mjolner never had such a day in her life. The brutality of T.J.A.’s actions toward her screenplay had left her seeking redemption at the church of the Holy Crack Pipe, and when that failed, she approached similar such denominations with large denominations of her own. Still nothing. Nope, for true suffering you had to have an art. That’s why, in Flora June’s mind, most people were incredibly happy; they were artless. She wasn’t so lucky. Catharsis and transcendence were the reasons for art and in her incredibly depressing Bowery dive, she would make art again. To transcend the hated Other, and to rid herself of them for good she would use the room itself — her room, her own room — here where no else knew or cared to as her canvas. She would learn the styles of each of her most hated male writers in the canon and use them to “write” a section on every available surface of the apartment around a central theme: her own body. So for months, between addictions, the reading and scribbling began. Each section had the same heading style: “John Steinbeck on my Right Elbow,” “Dante on my Nose,” “Norman Mailer on my Left Breast.” And on it went; purge, addiction, reading, writing. She had entertained fantasies of removing the apartment itself while destroying the rest of the building in an act of performance demolition; the self-actualized female womb liberated from the patriarchal structure of the skyscraper. Finally it neared the end, which she had saved up for, the true Walpurgis night of salvation. She had waited for the worst part of her period, and then let slip the ship of rational thought into the mare nostrum of drug experience. She then sat down on the floor, having lit approximately 20 ankh shaped candles, Little Earthquakes on the cd player, naked except for the too small tank top with the rhinestone Karl Marx on it and wrote “Jesus on my Vagina” in the King James style when, of all things, there was a gentle tapping at the front door.

  4. “It’s hell writing and it’s hell not writing. The only tolerable state is having just written.” I don’t remember where that quote came from, but I’ve found it
    fairly apt.

  5. ..when, of all things, there was a gentle tapping at the front door.

    Favorite line, after :
    “That’s why, in Flora June’s mind, most people were incredibly happy; they were artless. She wasn’t so lucky.”

    More from “Writing Without Teachers”:

    The rest of us discover that only simple, trivial messages get through and so we give up sending complicated ones. Pass the salt. What’s playing at the movies? Where are you going tomorrow? We no longer try to describe important things like what life is like and how we live and what we need. That’s why it is so magical when you have a friend who actually understands much of what you are trying to say. It makes you want to say things you never thought you had in you.

    Of all things, gentle tappings at the front door surely give evidence to something more in the darkness. Visitors of one kind or another, mysterious and persistent enough to make me smile with memory, expectation, and trepidation–going back to Comment #1

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