Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

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Monday.
Me.
Tuesday.
Me.
Wednesday.
Me.
Thursday.
Me.
Friday.

~ Witold Gombrowicz, in the opening of Diary.  Just before the outbreak of World War II, young Witold Gombrowicz left his home in Poland and set sail for South America. In 1953, still living as an expatriate in Argentina, he began his Diary with one of literature’s most memorable openings.


Notes: Quote – Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels. Photo: via seemore

That one. The quiet healing road.

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I am torn between two ways to handle this doldrum that has been going on for weeks, really since January, when I did at least get down a few small poems. The first way is to give in, to enjoy the light on flowers— yesterday white daffodils and white iris in the dusk— to enjoy this beautiful place, rejoice in the animal presences (Bramble at last comes up here to my study and curls up on the daybed…), to live the slow quiet rhythm of a day as a kind of healing. The other way is to ask a great deal more of myself, to drive myself, and hope to break through into deeper, more valid places.

~ May Sarton, Tuesday, March 9thThe House by the Sea: A Journal


Notes:

  • Image via Mennyfox55
  • Related posts: May Sarton
  • Inspired by Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” – […] I shall be telling this with a sigh / Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – / I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference.

all of a sudden in a supreme moment of light

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Yesterday I had a beautiful letter from Eugénie about old age (she is in her seventies).

Ici la vie continue égale et monotone en surface, pleine d’éclairs, de sommets et de désepérance, dans les profondeurs. Nous sommes arrivés maintenant á un stade de vie si riche en apprehensions nouvelles intransmissibles aux autres âges de la vie – on se sent rempli á la fois de tant de douceur et de tant de désespoir – l’énigme de cette vie grandit, grandit, vous submerge et vous écrase, puis tout á coup en une lueur suprême on prend conscience due “sacré.”

“Here life goes on, even and monotonous on the surface, full of lightning, of summits and of despair, in its depths. We have now arrived at a stage in life so rich in new perceptions that cannot be transmitted to those at another stage – one feels at the same time full of so much gentleness and so much despair – the enigma of this life grows, grows, drowns one and crushes one, then all of a sudden in a supreme moment of light one becomes aware of the “sacred.”

~ May Sarton, March 3rd,  Journal of Solitude


Notes:

 

Time to pull in the boundaries and lift the drawbridge

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It’s a season when one gets spread out almost too thin in too many human directions, but come January first I am determined to batten myself down, tighten up, go inward. I feel the day must be marked by a change of rhythm, by some quiet act of self-determination and self-assertion. Everyone earns such a day after the outpourings of Christmas. We are overextended. Time to pull in the boundaries and lift the drawbridge.

~ May Sarton, The House by the Sea: A Journal


Notes:

Journaling yesterday. Blogging (in the “receptacle”) today. We are all in the same boat.

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Growing old is certainly far easier for people like me who have no job from which to retire at a given age. I can’t stop doing what I have always done, trying to sort out and shape experience. The journal is a good way to do this at a less intense level than by creating a work of art as highly organized as a poem, for instance, or the sustained effort a novel requires. I find it wonderful to have a receptacle into which to pour vivid momentary insights, and a way of ordering day-to-day experience (as opposed to Maslow’s “peak experiences,” which would require poetry). If there is an art to the keeping of a journal intended for publication yet at the same time a very personal record, it may be in what E. Bowen said: “One must regard oneself impersonally as an instrument.”

~ May Sarton, The House by the Sea (1977)

(Robert) Coles himself says elsewhere in the piece, “Not everyone can or will do that— give his specific fears and desires a chance to be of universal significance.” To do this takes a curious combination of humility, excruciating honesty, and (there’s the rub) a sense of destiny or of identity. One must believe that private dilemmas are, if deeply examined, universal, and so, if expressed, have a human value beyond the private, and one must also believe in the vehicle for expressing them, in the talent.

[…]

But I believe we learn through the experiences of others as well as through our own, constantly meditating upon them, drawing the sustenance of human truth from them, and it seems natural to me to wish to share these aperçus, these questions, these oddities, these dilemmas and pangs. Why? Partly, I suppose, because the more one is a receptacle of human destinies, as I have become through my readers, the more one realizes how very few people could be called happy, how complex and demanding every deep human relationship is, how much real pain, anger, and despair are concealed by most people. And this is because many feel their own suffering is unique. It is comforting to know that we are all in the same boat.

~ May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude (1973)


Notes:

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