It’s been a long day

It’s not that I come back to writing after something revelatory or after a profound moment of change, but rather, it’s something small, inconsequential even. I eat berries, I drink stovetop espresso, I run until my knee gives out, I stand in the middle of my room for long periods of time, I water my plants and talk to them….I’m surprised when I eventually do come back to write. I read Alejandra Pizarnik’s line from her poem “Del Silencio” (“Fragments for Subduing the Silence”): Sin embargo, quedé cautiva de la antigua ternura. Each time I read it, I realize that’s all I can do: be tender and patient with myself, and captive in something older than me.

~ Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, from “Writers Recommend” (Poets & Writers, April 12, 2018)


Notes:

Lightly Child, Lightly.

Poetry isn’t a cure, and it isn’t a miracle. It won’t jump your car’s dead battery or fix your leaky roof. It won’t feed your baby or save your dying grandmother. But there are words, phrases, whole poems that—in the grimmest, loneliest, most shattered moments of my life—have offered me a lozenge of light.

Anndee Hochman, in “The Poem Chooses You” in the March/April issue of Poets & Writers Magazine


Notes:

  • Photo: Sean Mundy via A Quiet Life Quote: via Lines We Live By
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

 

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?


Notes:

Bath Time!

Orphaned baby elephants take a mud bath at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya. The elephant orphanage looks after 29 baby elephants orphaned by human-wildlife conflicts and poaching, among other causes. (Dai Kurokawa, wsj.com, April 10, 2018)


In it is summer, and midday, and immortality

“He was an art student, and he spent the day at the lake drawing a study of sky and clouds. Nothing else. The grown-ups had little to say after looking at his creation. But I liked the clouds, they were of the cumulus variety, my favorite, eternal wanderers, clean celestial mountains. They’d hung above Lake Hepojarvi for a while that day, and then left. The cardboard painting was placed on top of the sideboard; it soon fell into the crack between the sideboard and the wall. But then—a few years later—I found it; bending some wire into a poker, I pulled it out, along with a thick layer of dust, dead flies of years past, and a green leg from a plastic toy hippo. I took the cardboard picture and thus appropriated a singular day of eternity. In it is summer, and midday, and immortality. Certainly immortality.”

~ Tatyana Tolstaya, from “The Invisible Maiden” in “Aetherial Worlds: Stories” (Knopf, March 20, 2018)

 


Photo by William Eggleston via Time Lightbox

Monday Morning

Keith-carter-nevermore-1948

Another yawned,

another gazed at the window:

…The blaze of promise everywhere.

~ Mark Strand, from “Always; For Charles Simic” in Collected Poems

 


Photo: Nevermore – by Keith Carter (1948), USA – Source: keithcarterphotographs.com (via Your Eyes Blaze Out). Poem: via 3quarksdaily

20/20

tatyana-tolstaya

My grandfather Aleksey Tolstoy, a famous Russian writer…committed himself wholly to literature… I didn’t start out a writer, and had no plans of becoming one. Although I happily swam in imaginary expanses, I had no words to describe them. Then one fine day, when I was thirty-two years old, I decided to correct my myopia by undergoing surgery in the famous eye clinic… This was in 1983, before they used lasers for the procedure, as they do now, but instead made corneal incisions by hand, with a regular razor blade. The incisions took three long months to heal. All this time, while the eyes recuperated, you could see things only poorly, approximately, through tears that constantly streamed like rain on the windowpane…You had to sit in complete darkness… any light caused insufferable eye pain…The agony was so great that no analgesics, no sleeping pills brought any relief…At dusk my eyes were ablaze, and the temporary respite of night was interrupted by accidental glances at the stars, their light burning like fiery needles. Finally it was all I could do to sit at home wearing dark sunglasses, the black drapes closed, living by touch. Not a single word—neither handwritten nor typed—did my eyes take in during that prison sentence; only music, invisible in its essence, saved me from this existential desert. All that was left of the world was music and pain.

Gradually, something unfamiliar began to happen to my mind. The blindness was still near-total. I didn’t yet dare take off my sunglasses to peer outside, but in my mind’s eye I began to see bright visions from my past. They were not simply visions as before, similar to dreams—no, these were words, phrases, pages of text, plotlines; it was as if someone awoke in my head, a second me, one who had been slumbering until now. Visual experiences now came with a narrative; in fact, they were inseparable from it. If the wording wasn’t exact, then the imagery it conjured seemed obscured by dust or fog, and only the right words cleared it away…

My external eyes were still awaiting the sunrise, while my internal ones were looking around, seeking out details. Here is one. Here is another. Here is a whole bunch. As soon as I was able to emerge from my room into the dim light of the table lamp, I typed up my first-ever short story in great haste. I knew just how to do it—what to write, what not to write—and I understood that what remains unwritten possesses a special kind of power, a certain gravity by absence, similar to a magnetic force that can both attract and repel, a force we can’t see but that is nonetheless there.

This heretofore invisible, hidden world was now within my reach. I could enter it at any point, but it had particular doors—with keys of sound, with lock picks of intonation. The doors could be opened with love. Or with tears.

One day, all of a sudden, my sliced-up eyes could see again; my vision returned completely and immediately, 20/20, as promised. And this was bliss! Meanwhile, I found that the second world, having first appeared to me in darkness, was here to stay; it turned out to be a multifaceted underside of so-called reality, a dungeon full of treasure, an aetherial world through the looking glass, a mysterious box with passcodes to all enigmas, an address book with the exact coordinates of those who never existed.

I don’t know its geography, its mountains, or its seas; it’s so vast, it must be limitless. Or perhaps it’s not simply one world—perhaps there are many. They are unpredictable; they can show themselves to you, or not. Some days they may not let you inside: Sorry, the doors are locked, we’re on holiday. But to the patient and the devoted, they will in the end always yield. The doors will open, and you won’t know what you will come across until you enter.

~ Tatyana Tolstaya, excerpts from “20/20” in “Aetherial Worlds: Stories” (Knopf, March 20, 2018)


Photo of Tatyana Tolstaya at LitHub April 6, 2018

Saturday Afternoon


A man and a child resting in the rays of the sun on Friday in Kiev, Ukraine. (Sergei Supinsky, wsj.com April 6, 2018)

Saturday Morning

Stand still,

stand still, and

stop the sun.

~ May Sarton, from “Now I Become Myself” in Halfway to Silence: Poems 


Photo: Louis Caya with Shiba Inu

5:00 P.M. Bell!


Thank you Doug @ Eclecticity Light

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