Morning glories are one of my favorite flowers.
Considered a weed and nuisance for their vining that entwines anything near.
But the flowers! So gloriously rich in color. Such a greeting for a new day.
I like the metaphor, including the vining.
I’m starting my New Year two weeks late. One might say swirling new energy in a new space is a start, in which case I’m not really late. That late’s in my head, tied with expectations, plans, arbitrary things, because after all, I’m healthy. True. But I feel as if I’ve been away on a far-off journey. And you know how that is. It takes time to regain everyday rhythms, even if you’re glad you’re home. I’m still clearing mental dust on the Heloise Jones 2016 track, which includes you.
Here I am….Piles of orphan stuff tucked away. Pictures on walls are all that’s left to claim home. My ideals are written down. Outline for my first non-fiction book’s printed out. I’m asking who are my readers, who do they think I am, what can I give that anyone wants which also lets me write what I write.
Four days into our new digs, I read a facebook post by author Christine Hale that stuck in my bones: ‘Upside down in yoga class today, looking at my (unlovely) toes and the utterly utilitarian ceiling joists way up above them, I found myself thinking about how much tedious, close-focus work goes into the production of a book. Work that readers never notice, unless you don’t do it well. I’d spent the morning proofing spacing and fonts in the publisher’s galley of my memoir. The book deviates in its typography from prose conventions, and getting the typeface and spacing right is about to kill me and the publisher. Upside down, tiring, sweating, but holding the pose, inhabiting its discomfort fully, nothing before me, temporarily, but those toes and those joists, I thought about how you gotta love it: the tedium, the sweat, the fierce quiet satisfaction of a commitment to GETTING IT RIGHT’. . .
Yes! I thought. The tedium of every edit, decision on every word, comma, space. How it sometimes feels like my brain’s melting, and how much I love it. Especially the moment I get it right, knowing there’s no perfection. And yes, I think about writing all the time.
Virginia Wolf wrote, ‘Style is a very simple matter: it is all rhythm. Once you get that, you can’t use the wrong words. But on the other hand here am I <she> sitting after half the morning, crammed with ideas, and visions, and so on, and can’t dislodge them, for lack of the right rhythm…profound, what rhythm is, goes far deeper than words. A sight, an emotion, creates this wave in the mind, long before it makes words to fit it; and in writing…one has to recapture this, and set this working (which has nothing apparently to do with words) and then, as it breaks and tumbles in the mind, it makes words to fit it’. . .
And again I thought Yes! Rhythm. Exactly. And it transforms into something inside me, and the reader.
After David Bowie died, I read about him. Watched videos. Here he says the work’s not finished or complete until the audience comes to it. And I read this by publishing media specialist Jane Friedman: ‘The real magic of a book happens when an author’s words and a reader’s mind make something new: page as telepathic intermediary. . . ‘
Yes! Yes! I thought, again. I write not because I must, as many seem to express. Or because I have something to say. Or because a story burns inside. I write because I love the journey, the process, the challenge. The beauty of the moments when I can answer Yes to my abiding question (Am I okay?) in my choice of a word, completion of a sentence, a paragraph, a page. Feeling that rhythm, finally imagining that space between me and reader. What happens when we feel something, think something new. The connection. It starts with me, ends with us. Because we’re always tumbling somewhere into something.
I want to make this year intentional tumbling. Intentional requires conscious awareness. I can do that. I’m a writer who believes in magic, including the magic that happens in that middle space between you and me. Join me.
Where and how do you feel the magic of connection?
Another small journey. Getting to Wise.
A Writer’s Life.
A secret: David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Glynn Frye. I remember the moments I ‘met’ each one. Like I remember the moments I heard Kennedy and John Lennon were shot.
A favorite: Sunshine and big skies.
Photo: Jamie K. Reaser
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