Tuesday, July 20, 2010

On Trying to Write

Today I have arrived at the study seeking morning sunshine, warmth on my skin, natural air, space and time to allow the expansion of stories and ideas that clutter the page and clutter the mind. So I step out onto the little deck that opens from the study. There is birdsong and slanted light accenting the intricate fibers of spider webs. The mosquitoes are put to bed. The day will be warm but the night still lingers in the air.

I seek quiet and find it, seek words and stumble. The quiet helps me find footing. Scrambling to locate toeholds, I jump from a muddled manuscript in progress to a muddled journal. I switch pens. I stare at the horizon. I watch birds in flight. It is easier to turn to the volume of Ted Kooser I have carried through the French doors, easier to venture into his Iowa farmyards than to locate the elusive figures emerging from the shadows of my pen. Easier as well than face the inevitable shadows of memory or the silhouettes that extend into those unknown places of a thousand tomorrows or the equally unknown of the book unwritten. The faces in Kooser are familiar but not mine. The birds we share, or at least many of them. His words are lovelier, his images more honed, but it is language I need. Language and memory and metaphor and idea, and mixing with the sunlight he helps ease me into this dark world of my own making, this density of inky pages and monochrome figures needing to become flesh.

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