Some days I have something to say, but the something is non-specific, just a general awareness of the fullness of life - I want to raise my hand and say, "I feel it too! I'm here." On these days I think of Allen Ginsberg, "the best minds of a generation, starving, hysterical, naked." I think of William Carlos Williams, with his plums in the icebox, images holding everything, "no ideas but in things." I think of Jack Kerouac - "the only ones for me are the mad ones, the ones desirous of everything all at once, burning like fabulous roman candles across the sky."I think of all the nights as a teenager that I stayed up writing in my journal, drinking diet coke from a wine glass. (Okay, that was just once, that I remember.) I think of my friend who is adjusting to being a mom and needing permission to be imperfect, to be messy and confused - permission that life is still life even when you bring a child into this world, even when the pressure for perfection is strong. I think of how much solace she found in Anne Lamott, "Mothers Who Think" on Salon.com. I think of the power of writing to remind us we're not alone and the paradoxical aloneness so many writers feel. I sit sometimes and stare at the books on my bookshelves and marvel at all the lives represented there - all the people who journeyed to discover they were writers, who birthed the ideas represented in the books, who labored to put those worlds on the page, the joy and satisfaction and dissatisfaction that must have brought them. I think of writers going through that journey for centuries and here we are, still going through it - a reminder that no amount of struggle answers questions in a definitive way. That answers are illusory. That questions comprise life. That there are no ideas but in things.
Worth reading if you're in the right mood:
Anne Lamott, Letter to a Pregnant Friend
to a statement made by Kurt Vonnegut on PBS.
This poem, by Susan Scott Thompson: We pulled each other closer in the turn.
Around a center that we could not see.
This holding on was what I had to learn.
The sun can hold the planets, earth, the moon.
But we had to create our gravity.
By always pulling closer in the turn.
Each revolution caused my head to whirl.
So dizzy I wanted to break free.
But holding on was what I had to learn.
I fixed my eyes on something out there firm.
And then our orbit steadied so that we could pull each other closer in the turn.
And if our feet should briefly leave the earth, no matter, earth was made for us to leave.
And arms for pulling closer in the turn.
This holding on is what we have to learn.