This morning, Dan Leo left a very poignant comment for my "lost at blogging sea" post. Instead of paraphrasing, I'll just include the entire comment:
Hey, Jen, you know I love to write, but believe it or not I'm also a big fan of not writing when I have nothing to say. Here are some lines from a poem called "so you want to be a writer" by Charles Bukowski:
if it doesn't come bursting out of you in spite of everything don't do it. unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut, don't do it. if you have to sit for hours staring at your computer screen or hunched over your typewriter searching for words. don't do it...
if you have to sit there and rewrite it again and again, don't do it. if it's hard work just thinking about doing it, don't do it. if you're trying to write like somebody else, forget about it. if you have to wait for it to roar out of you, then wait patiently. if it never does roar out of you, do something else...
unless the sun inside you is burning your gut, don't do it...
Those were good words. They definitely ring true as far as other creative endeavours I've pursued. It made me wonder about something though. Last week in my painting class, a woman who is rather new to artistic endeavors told me that she was intrigued with the open spaces in the still life. She liked the spaces between the objects. Those words were music to my ears. Those words meant that even though she may not yet have the skills to translate what she sees, she sees it! She's thinking like an artist. I told her this and said that negative space can be some of the most exciting space in a painting. The space between objects can has its own weight, its own atmosphere, its own tension and excitement. Even if you're painting an object, what's not there and how it's placed can have as much impact on the painting as what is. I was wondering what the negative space in writing would be. I write in this blog, but do not in the least consider myself a writer so when Dan Leo stopped by this morning, I thought, aha! Dan! Dan is a writer...
So Dan... what would you consider the negative space in writing? Would it be the pauses in between sentences? The economy of words? Would we even see the negative space in the finished copy or would the negative space have occurred when the writer was taking a break? Would the reader only know the negative space was there somewhat like a contrail informs a person that a plane had gone by? Where is the negative space in the written word and is it as important for the written word as it is for a painting or drawing?
For those of you not familiar with Dan, you should be. I don't read all that Dan is writing right now, but I have been a faithful follower of his Arnold Schnabel series, "Railroad Train to Heaven". The memoirs of Arnold, a brakeman from Olney, PA who's on mental disability, is also a poet, who spent part of the summer of '63 partying with The Rat Pack, Jesus, and just recently time-traveled via a painting to visit with Proust and Toulouse-Lautrec, are not to be missed.
Any of youotherwriters out there, feel free to chime in. I'd ask BP, but he's merely the grammar police...
Addition to the other writers who might so graciously chime in... Dear. Lord. How could I forget to add THIS ONE and THIS ONEand then there's THIS ONE!?!??
Blogging has felt like a chore lately. What started as a refuge from daily crap, a place to let creativity or crazy ideas run rampant, has become a chore in itself. I used to think that blogging might bring us closer to our true selves. We could show those things, say those things that might not be shown or said in the rush of daily life, but as I crawl through the brambles of egos and agendas I begin to wonder which self we end up showing.
Are we bringing our
pearls to the table or are we spreading out the twisted, contorted parts that
we feel we can’t show polite society? Do our true selves show up or our alter
egos for better or worse? Maybe while heading out on our journey of expression
and discovery, we discover that what is oh so sweet is not out here, but is right in our backyard.
Update: I just remembered a Leonardo da Vinci quote I read the other day. It was, "art is never finished, only abandoned". I was thinking, the same could be said about blogs.
Kathleen shocked us all last week with the confession that she once was given no choice other than to go to the bathroom in her office wastebasket during a lengthy conference call. It was this very confession that had Kathleen asking us to share our own "Peefessions" in her Peefessional.
Kathleen felt she was onto something. Well, I did a little research this weekend and found out that Peefessionals have been around almost as long as man has had toilets and has not been able to get to them on time.
Behold! Located deep in the bowels of Vatican City was this oil painting entitled, "Relief is Within", circa 1215AD. It seems that man has never been able to hold it and therefore has also needed a place to rid himself of his guilt.
I have a soft spot in my heart for Peter even if he didn't write most of his songs and did very few of the lead vocals. While young girls were swooning over Davy, I liked Peter. Some of this may have stemmed from the fact that he seemed familiar to me. I saw myself in him. No, literally... I went through a number of years looking like Peter Tork. It was that androgynous hell some girls go through right before adolescence. I was no longer a cute little girl and hadn't yet sprouted those female-defining breasts. On top of this, my mother thought my hair was unruly so I was kept in pixie cuts or worse, the dreaded bowl cut. Michael York, Peter didn't take your haircut... I did!
At some point my Peter-likeness started to fade. My chest grew bigger and my hair grew longer as I entered that Jurassic wasteland known as adolescence... a time when noses rarely fit their faces. I exchanged one hell for another and suddenly looking like Peter didn't seem so bad.
Grizzled and I spent some quality time at our lovely Home Despot this morning. We were checking out some replacement carpet for the small finished room in our basement. Although the lamblets are getting older and aren't spilling as much and hopefully won't be spilling beer for awhile, we still wanted something that would wear well, would survive rough treatment, while still looking somewhat presentable.
We found a couple of patterns/piles that we liked. Now it was a matter of narrowing down the choice of color. I hate choosing colors from a 3x6 inch swatch. I know that no matter what the color looks like in the store, it's going to look infinitely different on the floor and in the varying lights of the day. I also didn't want something that would be dated too soon and although I wanted something that would hide dirt, I didn't want one that looked dirty before it even was.
Grizzled found a color that he liked. He asked me what it was. I replied, "Cork, the label says it's Cork." We went on to the next and found one that was named, "New Bud". My first thought was, new bud on what?? A new bud is going to look infinitely different depending on what tree or bush it's on.
We went over a few more colors when Grizzled said he really liked that Pork one although he thought it was a little yellow for pork. I looked at him, feeling both disgust and sympathy. "It's CORK" I said. He blushed a little and said he thought pork was an odd color name choice for a carpet... He then said he kind of liked the color next to it... what was that? I looked. It was Honey Glazed. I kid you not.
Yesterday was a premo bird-viewing day from my desk. Here is a lovely view from my desk. It looks out onto my neighbor's lovely garage. There's also a firebush right by my window and it's always getting bird action.
I'm familiar with the usual cast of bird characters that the seasons bring, but this year has been a bit different. We of course had an extended visit from the Red Breasted Nuthatch and now, as spring is underway, another cute little bird is in our midst. It's the Acadian Flycatcher! I can't say that I've ever heard of one up until now let alone seen one, but I've had a couple of crazed ones hanging in my shrubs.
They're funky little birds, about 4 inches from tip of beak to tip of tail (photo not mine, apologies to the rightful owner. My bird was moving too fast, although I have many lovely shots of the bush). They have a really bizarre flight pattern and can zip to
and fro. They can fly backwards and they can hover. I saw one hover right in front of my window. It probably wondered why the woman on the other side of the window appeared to be hovering and flapping her wings while yelling, "WHAT ARE YOU!!??!" I finally found a photo online and another in a birding book that led me to believe an Acadian Fycatcher might be what it was. A neighbor confirmed that they had been seen in the area.
As I mentioned, my window had major bird action yesterday. While the cute little flycatcher was zipping about, some Finches frolicked on my neighbor's rose. A pair of Mourning Doves were cooing at me from the garage roof and a Downy Woodpecker was plucking out bugs from in between the bricks. A couple of Cardinals were also on the scene as well as some spastic Robins that no doubt have been having their way with the old fermented crab apples on the front tree.
I know it's probably crazy to get so excited about a new bird, one that's even considered common, but if we can get new birds in the hood, it gives me hope for a new neighbor or two... maybe even ones that don't need to wear a flag lapel pin.
... and it wasn't due to Grizzled. A little after 4:30 this morning, I heard the apothecary jar where he keeps his spare change, start to rattle. I also heard the floorboards start to creak. I thought he had gotten up, but no, he was lying beside me. He was awake and had heard the glass lid on his change jar rattling as well. I then thought it was one of our daughters coming in after a bad dream. I called out, nope, no child. I then thought it was the dog, but that was when the dog came bursting into the room as though something had pinched his behind.
Of course the thought of burglars is never far from my paranoid mind, but the dog wasn't barking. The items on the top of the dresser stopped shaking, the floor stopped creaking and the dog plopped down. I put it out of my mind and went back to sleep. About 90 minutes later, Grizzled woke me up to tell me the cause of the rumbling. It was one of those rare Midwestern earthquakes. The New Madrid fault was making some adjustments. The real action happened downstate where they experienced a 5.4 earthquake.
BG and BP- they said it could be felt in portions of Ohio and Wisconsin as well? Did your earth move this morning?