Wednesday, January 08, 2014

What is the passion that drives you?

As a writer whose life is immersed in words, I have an inevitable fascination for artists who paint and draw their images instead, people like J.M.W. Turner or Georgia O'Keefe or Thomas Hart Benton or Monet. For them there was a need to create their works non-stop, as if they were trying to keep up with the flow of what they saw and felt before they were caught by the avalanche of ideas that came constantly. They had nothing like the angst writers' biographies so often describe, no blocks, no hesitation or self-doubt. With or without applause, their lives were too filled with the passion to get the image on paper or canvas to worry very often or very much about whether someone approved. Yes, they felt competitive, yes, they made choices that were sometimes flawed, and many succumbed to a life that seldom held a cautionary approach, be it with their lovers or their families or the way they lived.

Musicians are much the same. I recall Philip Glass answering an interviewer when asked if there was ever a time he didn't think about music. He said it was always with him, that often he felt he was holding down a cauldron of sound, letting a little of it out at a time, but worlds of it waited to be released. No, he said, there was never a moment when he didn't hear the music.

The point here, one to be explored in other posts to follow, is that it is the same for writers, despite the ongoing angst. We are never without the image and sound of the words that grab us. A phrase on a piece of scrap paper is as much evidence of this as a formal page typed in its final revision. I find notes old boxes of forgotten stories, in the pocket of a coat, in a drawer of receipts, in a handbag, or pushed between the pages of a book. I find the outline of a story on the back of bill envelopes from years ago. They serve as the apprentice notes for stories not yet written or ones that don't need to be, or that appear later as if out of the blue, having already been seeded, but they are as ubiquitous as the idea of breathing. I think writer's block is not a sign that inspiration is not there but rather a sign that so much of it is, we can become afraid of opening it up, like Glass' cauldron. For if we do, then we experience a passion that won't let go. We take a step that can't be retracted, and we can't assume an instant longer that we don't care. We do. The words are there.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The Magic of Mystery

If I sent a letter to every mystery writer whose book or short story brought refuge from the slings and arrows of everyday--and often outrageous--fortunes, the effort would take days. Do they know their effect? Sinking into a good mystery has no comparison--becoming absorbed by who did it or why, entering minds that are devious or deranged, having someone really good at their job learning the truth and making things right again--lovely!

On the sidebar check out the Categories section. I've listed some of the writers whose work came to me in unexpected ways. I also have supplied a list of links to resource and writer websites. There are many more available for those who like to explore the genre. These are just my personal favorites.

Monday, April 30, 2012

What is it you value most?

Know that you are worthy.

Live this day believing that.

We may have forgotten that we are already worthy, unique expressions of God by the sheer fact of our existence. It is like the prophet said, for sure, that "Now we see through a glass darkly." Yet that is altered in an instant when we allow who we are to show itself without disguise. Then we do see, in an instant, "face to face."

Friday, March 09, 2012

The Spirit Within

If we do not look for the infinite variation that surrounds us, we are closing ourselves off from a multidimensional perception of reality that can bring the awareness we are never alone, or separate, or lost. The truth is that we are always being given guidance and we are always being loved by All That Is.

Evidence of this lies in our unique selfhood, which in its vitality illuminates our days and has been offered to us as a gift. It is confirmed when we allow ourselves to feel compassion toward the unique vitality of each other and of all the creatures of the earth.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Thoreau's Reflections in "Walking"

"We had a remarkable sunset one day last November. I was walking in a meadow, the source of a small brook, when the sun at last, just before setting, after a cold, gray day, reached a clear stratum in the horizon, and the softest, brightest morning sunlight fell on the dry grass and on the stems of the trees in the opposite horizon and on the leaves of the shrub oaks on the hillside, while our shadows stretched long over the meadow eastward, as if we were the only motes in its beams. It was such a light as we could not have imagined a moment before, and the air also was so warm and serene that nothing was wanting to make a paradise of that meadow. When we reflected that this was not a solitary phenomenon, never to happen again, but that it would happen forever and ever, an infinite number of evenings, and cheer and reassure the latest child that walked there, it was more glorious still.

The sun sets on some retired meadow, where no house is visible, with all the glory and splendor that it lavishes on cities, and perchance as it has never set before--where there is but a solitary marsh hawk to have his wings gilded by it, or only a musquash looks out from his cabin, and there is some little black-veined brook in the midst of the marsh, just beginning to meander, winding slowly round a decaying stump. We walked in so pure and bright a light, gilding the withered grass and leaves, so softly and serenely bright, I thought I had never bathed in such a golden flood, without a ripple or a murmur to it. The west side of every wood and rising ground gleamed like the boundary of Elysium, and the sun on our backs seemed like a gentle herdsman driving us home at evening.

So we saunter toward the Holy Land, till one day the sun shall shine more brightly than ever he has done, shall perchance shine into our minds and hearts, and light up our whole lives with a great awakening light, as warm and serene and golden as on a bankside in autumn."