You can say anything you want, yessir, but it’s the words that sing, they soar and descend . . . I bow to them . . . I love them, I cling to them, I run them down, I bite into them, I melt them down . . . I love words so much . . . The unexpected ones . . . The ones I wait for greedily or stalk until, suddenly, they drop . . . Vowels I love . . . They glitter like colored stones, they leap like silver fish, they are foam, thread, metal, dew . . . I run after certain words . . . They are so beautiful that I want to fit them all into my poem . . . I catch them in midflight, as they buzz past, I trap them, clean them, peel them, I set myself in front of the dish, they have a crystalline texture to me, vibrant, ivory, vegetable, oily, like fruit, like algae, like agates, like olives . . . And I stir them, I shake them, I drink them, I gulp them down, I mash them, I garnish them, I let them go . . . I leave them in my poem like stalactites, like slivers of polished wood, like coals, pickings from a shipwreck, gifts from the waves . . . Everything exists in the word . . .From Memoirs by Pablo Neruda (NY: Penguin, 1974), p. 53.
Lately, I haven’t written much here. Not because words have eluded me but because life has been a deluge. I have been umbrella-less, soaked, face upturned, eyes closed, experiencing a light drizzle matting down my hair, and, other moments, being subjected to stinging, pelting torrents. In between the tumultuous extremes, I have felt warmth breaking through the lumpy, gray clouds. The sensation of sunlight on my eyelids that have caused them to fly open. When I have looked up through dampened lashes, I have glimpsed rainbows. Day after day after day. Not one or two or three, more like five or six. Extravagant jewels in the skies. At times, only a fragment of multi-colored hues, but rainbows just the same. I have savored them, letting my gaze remain fixed on their transparent beauty. My emotions have soared amidst the slowly moving skyscape, flitting here and there, bathed in flecks of violet and indigo. A sense of hope has permeated my spirit. There is no shaking it off, no angry skies that can blanket it, no lightening zig zags that can electrocute it. Anticipation remains, expectant, receptive to whatever it is that is now concealed by a watery, dribbling mist.
My son recently asked me, “Why do you take breaks from writing (work) to write more (for personal pleasure)?”
“Because I must and I love to.”
He looked strangely at me because the required realities of essays, papers (and such for school) etc. do not light him on fire. He is a great writer (he might disagree) but he doesn’t like to do so.
I remember (during the growing up years) dreading the 4-6 page plot level compositions (yawn) and (even recently in college) being overwhelmed by the challenges to compose lengthy papers which critique and analyze a few sentences. Overall, I love to write and have since I was a child.
Jane Austen has been an inspiration to me (and thousands of other female writers). She died on my birthdate and I have always felt a kind of kindred connection with her. In more recent years, she has developed somewhat of a cult following to the degree that other writers compose novels in the Austen style. Not only do I enjoy her texts, I have watched probably every Austen film that has been created. The following are some of my favorites!
Sense and Sensibility
Pride and Prejudice
Work is done for the day so time to ponder. I was thinking about Ray Bradbury tonight. He’s the author of two of my favorite texts: Fahrenheit 451 and Dandelion Wine. He has penned so many inspiring words I have trouble choosing only some quotes (a few are taped to the shelf above my desk). Long story shorter (I can never guarantee short), here’s a few of my faves:
“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” ~Bradbury
“He glanced back at the wall. How like a mirror, too, her face. Impossible; for how many people did you know who reflected your own light to you? People were more often–he searched for a simile, found one in his work–torches, blazing away until they whiffed out. How rarely did other people’s faces take of you and throw back to you your own expression, your own innermost trembling thought?” ~ Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
“We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.” ~ Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
“You’ll find out it’s little savors and little things that count more than big ones. A walk on a spring morning is better than an eighty-mile ride in a hopped-up car, you know why? Because it’s full of flavors, full of a lot of things growing. You’ve time to seek and find.”~Bradbury (Dandelion Wine)
“Are you happy?” she [Clarisse] said. “Am I what?” he [Montag] cried. But she was gone- running in the moonlight. Her front door shut gently.” ~ Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. “ ~ Bradbury
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” ~Bradbury
“There is such a place as fairyland – but only children can find the way to it. And they do not know that it is fairyland until they have grown so old that they forget the way. One bitter day, when they seek it and cannot find it, they realize what they have lost; and that is the tragedy of life. On that day the gates of Eden are shut behind them and the age of gold is over. Henceforth they must dwell in the common light of common day. Only a few, who remain children at heart, can ever find that fair, lost path again; and blessed are they above mortals. They, and only they, can bring us tidings from that dear country where we once sojourned and from which we must evermore be exiles. The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and story-tellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland.”
L.M. Montgomery has been one of my favorite writers from the time I was a tween and I first read Emily Climbs. I was enamored by her main protagonist, Emily, who loved writing, life, nature, and was filled with “gumption.” She experienced “the flash” and from the moment I read about her experience in the text, I felt at home between those pages I eagerly devoured (metaphorically speaking of course :-) ). Emily writes, “Words are such fascinating things. . . The very sound of some of them–‘haunted’–‘mystic’–for example, gives me the flash. (Oh, dear! But I have to italicize the flash. It isn’t ordinary–it’s the most extraordinary and wonderful thing in my whole life. When it comes I feel as if a door had swung open in a wall before me and given me a glimpse of–yes, of heaven).” Lovely! She summarized for years how I felt as a small child when stories would sneak up from behind and demand I write them by nightlight (risking my mom or dad catching me awake when I was already supposed to be fast asleep on a school night).
I hope never to forget the feeling when I capture a moment so real, so intense, so full of passion or grief or joy. When I am allowed glimpses into my past from my muses and these backward glances overwhelm me, I can once again BE that barefoot four-year old child riding a green bike with a suede banana seat or I can taste honeysuckle nectar on my tongue or I can inhale the neighbors’ perfumed orange blossoms that fill me with summer calm. I am so grateful for emotions that may be expressed in words, words that are as real to me as this laptop I am typing on or the comfy bed I sleep in or the stir fry I will later make. Today, I was granted this gift of just BEing and I am thankful.
I’m a “quotes” person. I love quotes from people who have climbed rungs of the highest ladders, who have tripped and fallen face down in grime, who have cleansed themselves by splashing about in rain puddles, who have soared on the wings of ecstasy, who have teetered on rocky precipices, who have cradled a little person close to them and inhaled that baby’s sweetness, who have scratched art into existence, who have loved, hated, accomplished, failed, thrown in the towel, swam with rip tides until they broke free. . .who have LIVED.
“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it?
The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within, not for want of a teller, but for want of an understanding ear.”
~Stephen King (Different Seasons)
A friend of mine, David LaGaccia, shared this poem with me today. He is a gentleman and self-employed writer. It is written by Don Marquis and I think it’s lovely. Enjoy!
the lesson of the moth
i was talking to a moth
the other evening
he was trying to break into
an electric light bulb
and fry himself on the wires
why do you fellows
pull this stunt i asked him
because it is the conventional
thing for moths or why
if that had been an uncovered
candle instead of an electric
light bulb you would
now be a small unsightly cinder
have you no sense
plenty of it he answered
but at times we get tired
of using it
we get bored with the routine
and crave beauty
fire is beautiful
and we know that if we get
too close it will kill us
but what does that matter
it is better to be happy
for a moment
and be burned up with beauty
than to live a long time
and be bored all the while
so we wad all our life up
into one little roll
and then we shoot the roll
that is what life is for
it is better to be a part of beauty
for one instant and then cease to
exist than to exist forever
and never be a part of beauty
our attitude toward life
is come easy go easy
we are like human beings
used to be before they became
too civilized to enjoy themselves
and before i could argue him
out of his philosophy
he went and immolated himself
on a patent cigar lighter
i do not agree with him
myself i would rather have
half the happiness and twice
but at the same time i wish
there was something i wanted
as badly as he wanted to fry himself
I love writing and I write for a living. Yet, I still find myself compelled to use words to channel whatever muses are flirting with me at the moment. I have an on-going love affair with. . .words. So, really, I write to live and live to write. My life force cannot be divorced from getting down onto paper whatever must be there. It’s pure survival for me. If I’m not near my laptop, I’m scribbling thoughts onto paper. If no paper is present, I improvise and write on my hand. I have sat on a beach with the beautiful, soflo sun shining overhead and, having forgotten my pen, used my phone to text myself bits of prose that popped into my head. If there was a way to write while in the shower, I’d do so. Then there would be no need to try and remember what it was that came to me while shampooing my hair. Blogging is relatively new to me and I like it. It’s nice to occupy a piece of cyber space and express oneself. It is weird knowing anyone can read whatever is written (since I know some off the wall people) but those people do not mean anything to me (therefore, who cares)! There is much more I would like to write but am unable to because of life’s circumstances. This currently unpublished material should land me a gig as a script writer for Lifetime. In the meantime, some of the words I tap, scratch, and text into existence get published through this venue. Others do not. Blog world, readers, friends, and loved ones, welcome. I’m honored and happy you came. Do stay for a bit. Kick off your shoes, settle yourself on my couch, and enjoy a great cup of coffee. Sugar or creamer, anyone?
Okay, I know love letter fest is technically over. HOWEVER, I could not resist posting two, short letters exchanged between one of the most romantic, literary couples (Robert and Elizabeth Browning) ever (in my book THE most romantic, literary couple). Of course, Elizabeth wrote my favorite poetry collection, Sonnets from the Portuguese, for her husband Robert Browning and I believe them to be the most beautiful poems (especially numbers I, XIV, XX, and the best, XLIII). So enjoy and keep that passion alive every day, not just on Valentine’s Day!!!!
…would I, if I could, supplant one of any of the affections that I know to have taken root in you – that great and solemn one, for instance.
I feel that if I could get myself remade, as if turned to gold,
I WOULD not even then desire to become more than the mere setting to that diamond you must always wear.
The regard and esteem you now give me, in this letter, and which I press to my heart and bow my head upon, is all I can take and all too embarrassing, using all my gratitude.
- Robert Browning
And now listen to me in turn.
You have touched me more profoundly than I thought even you could have touched me – my heart was full when you came here today.
Henceforward I am yours for everything.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning
I’m sitting here working and loud sounds may be heard outside (despite the Cat. 5 rated hurricane, impact resistant, glass windows in my bedroom). By loud, I mean very loud since if the sounds were softer, I wouldn’t hear them at all. To many people, these sounds would be considered “noises.” If my ears don’t deceive me, a heavy duty concrete saw is being utilized as well as a tile saw. These sounds should irritate me but they don’t. Years of growing up with a dad, who worked around the clock as a full-time firefighter and part-time carpenter, have provided me with enough “audio memories” that, instead of aggravation, I experience contentment when hearing the sounds. Must have something to do with the association of loud sounds with progress (my dad was, and is, the type man to finish projects). So, I’ll keep writing to the symphony of concrete, tile, and hydraulic saws and know that my neighbor will soon be enjoying a beautiful pool patio.