Thursday, January 17, 2013

hot february (jan - may 2011)

I have this idea that it's a good idea to go back to what was written two years later and see if anything still ticks.  Not as a real-life, news-flash, of-the-moment blogpost, but as a piece of possible writing, something worth looking at again in time to come.

Anyway, it motivates me to cull  and index my posts so that what I'm doing here feels more archival than wastrel.

But frankly, I was not looking forward to looking back at 2011 --  a year I set out to post not at all during the odd months and during the even months I remember only squirming with dissatisfaction so intense I finally gave up and went elsewhere.  A case in point, for illustration:

I am wearied (again, always) of the form my blog has taken, does take, always threatens to be taking.  My private focus (a word that means "hearth" - that most homey heart of the home) that keeps refusing to escape its own smallness. 

What began as a way to say something unmuddied by the grasping fingers of time and change, a private writing room where those who would could read, a kind of oratory in the woods, a chamber like Dickinson's where the soul selects her own society, begins to seem to me a lobby. With glossy magazines laid out.  Plants that look plastic. . . .

Caught by the pleasure of hearing responses from faraway friends and friendly strangers, I want that response more and more, that eye contact, that small applause. 
But that wanting distracts, distorts. Everything I write becomes a self-justification, a bid for sympathy.  Time is limited: what I need more is a chambered space  - contained, restrained in the way the private journal cannot be . . . 
Something.  Less solipsistic, more wide. More intimate, less confessional.  A way out by way of going in. A way of moving into the clearing.  A way of singing in the woods.
All of these terms are unsatisfactory.
(MONDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 201 the recurrent CONFESSION:)
Most of the first half of 2011deserves to be forgotten forever.   But lo!  what is this?  One month alone shone!  February 2011 smoked!

All of these were fun to read again: 

el rencor se sienta sobre el corazon como un sopa pesado 
" . . . In place of "Gr-r-r there go . . . " I can roll my tongue around  el gorro de baño (which means, innocently, "shower cap").  When faced with this moment's particular "What's the Latin name for 'parsley'?" and all other daily games of 20 questions, that tend to drive me around the bend, I can innerly chant my conjugations 

hablo, hablas, habla, 
hablamos, habláis, hablan 

before answering - remembering we all talk - hablamos.  All the time.  It's harmless.  It's what we humans do. . . . "

because of the sweet spot
". . . as for the sweet spot - I love it that Edith Wharton began every day writing in bed for a few hours - no doubt while trim housemaids in starched cap and apron poked the fire, opened the draperies and brought tea in delicate Messein.  You can almost catch the rustle of their silent assiduous bustle in the words with which Wharton finally found a way to populate her page.  

But each of us must write out of what and who and where we are. . . . "

tongues of love, the lettered heart, and other bad translations
" . . . This flower-giving is uncharacteristic of Fritz, though not out of character.  Especially as no words were offered, just flowers, with a silence which is a corrective, I believe, to the too many words said lately. . . .

Without opening his lips, Fritz handed me white tulips.  And I was touched, moved even, though our hands barely brushed.  It was, if you like, I like to think, a kind of speaking in tongues.  A purer kind of language. 

Or at least, less open to bad translations. . . ."

Things I Will Stop Doing Sometime Soon
" . . . And while we're at it, do stop apologizing to your younger self - she didn't know what life was bringing, she likes you anyway,  she's still here holding your hand.  Start talking to that wise old woman you're going to be.  Let go and turn away from the things you do that offend your soul - latch on to the graces and blisses that make you feel alive - which is what repentance is meant to mean.  Live in this body:  respect its needs for the hill-work, for early sleep and early rise, feed yourself as you would a cherished recuperating guest.  Grant this mind access to the work it needs.  We mean something like that. We think. It's anyway a place to start. . . . "


in different lights

" . . . This is my gift, making him laugh when he's decided to be sadly serious.  We were praying together, just the two of us.  When I gave thanks for our "supple marriage," he let out a startled snort-cough.
And afterwards, gleamed at me over the top of his glasses, grinning still reluctantly, Supple?

- Yes.  Don't you think so?  Isn't it amazing when you think of all we put it through and still it's strong. Supple, not brittle.  Aren't we lucky?  . . . "

FEBRUARY 30, 2011 - taking questions 
" . . . What are you doing here?
I am trying to write something and crossing out lines like the heart of what really matters and the thread of light in this mazy murk and meanwhile my mind keeps wandering away to that article from Sunset (June 1993) in the waiting room at the DMV about braising/deglazing and now I'm thinking how a clutch of yellow onions in beef broth/with balsamic, respectively, would be rather divine if stirred (with a little garlic) into those 15 varieties of beans.  And then maybe some smoked paprika?  a bit of sage? . . . "

FEBRUARY 32, 2011 - the end  
" . . . After saying my magic-symbolic words of transformation and putting the pigeon-now-dove into their hands, I tried to keep my face suitably sober as these two tear-softened gray-haired brothers together tossed their pigeon-dove into the air.

Being a mixed creature myself, I was jubilant standing amid the grievers to feel that maybe my cycle was grinding into action once again. . . "

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