Some days your novels will be narrowed down to grocery lists
and the screenplay burbling inside will pinch into a note
you leave the kids to walk the dog or change their sheets.
There are so many blank pages you could fill, poems you jot
on the margins of your day, what you tell yourself you’ll transpose
later, after dinner’s on the table, after the phone stops ringing,
after you get more gas in the car. It’s alright. Maybe, now, your prose
is meeting some other page, absent of a pen or the room to use it in.
What will be written here is more than words will ever do.
This vast and vibrant book that’s always writing you.
~ Maya Rachel Stein (what will be written there)
Writing Exercise: Each day for one week, fall in love at least three times.
Write in detail about each.
I’m in love with Tulip Bones
I finally sent the last of the file boxes stacked in corners to the storage unit. Important papers like income tax documents and years of spiral notebooks in which I wrote the stuff of my craft. I kept aside one heavily tabbed and labeled book of un-transcribed scenes to peruse later, tore out beginnings of poems, notes, and writing exercises. A page caught me, would not be filed. At the top in my handwriting, “We can fall in love with a star or species of wildflower, or a human being who is different from ourselves, or music.” Yes, I thought, but fall in love, three times a day?
I don’t know why I couldn’t let it go because surely this is something you feel through, not think through. In love is not an act of will, but a recognition, tap on the heart, an awareness that burrows in, says ‘hold me.’ Something deep in the cells for more than the moment. The very instant it becomes a part of oneself in love viscerally remembered. I glanced at that sheet of paper for two days before I found a hint to the question I couldn’t articulate. Buried in a beautiful short film about art-journals with artist and sage Paulus Berensohn. “Art is being present to something. Love is to pay attention.”
Tulip bones grabbed me on a day I was too blue to do more than notice the flowers’ delicate dance, how the petals looked as if they spoke sign language, their colors of age richer, more peaceful. Rereading a favorite book these past weeks, I noticed the storytelling as the kind you’d hear around a campfire, or at a table one afternoon over coffee or tea or beer. The form unconventional in novels, and masterfully done. This morning when I stepped out I noted the sultry air. Was surprised by the wind blowing eight blocks away at the bay. Wind that rendered birds stationary flapping aloft, where herons spread legs to stand rooted in water whipped sideways. Where everything color clings to is swept aside, nothing left but the pure pale yellow of the sun’s robes on the sky. My own body was pushed so photos blurred.
Back home, such a short distance, I looked up to pink clouds on a field of the sweetest baby blue. I understood, felt it. To pay attention is indeed Love. The kind in love follows. Indeed writing me. Have you felt it?
What is the whole of our existence but the sound of an appalling love! ~ Louise Erdrich
(from The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse)
Another small journey Getting to Wise.
A Writers Life.
A secret: Walking slowly is hard for me.
A favorite: The sound of palm trees in the wind like mountain streams or ocean surf.
Like what you read? Sign up for updates in your inbox.