I want so much to write. I’d like to be still for a day or two; to draw. To draw at a rate more like I was in October— daily. Or nearly so. To have space for things to percolate and bubble to the surface from below.
Instead, I’ve been kept moving, pulled in multiple directions— and good ones. I’m feeling positive and interested in both the work and other pursuits I’ve been drawn to lately. But I miss the drawing, and its attendant writing.
I look forward to my week upstate at Christmastide, to be still some. And of course to time spent with my family and the animals. Wanders around the Farm to say hi to the Dudes*, take photos, and listen to the quiet of winter up there. Walk the fields. Watch murder mysteries with Mom; talk books and politics with Dad; see a movie with the brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews. (Probably the odd game of euchre or gin rummy.)
Some quiet nights in the second floor with a big orange cat lying on the bed as I read or type away on my laptop. Maybe he and I will get lost in the attic for minute, time traveling through old things, cast aways in an uninsulated room where the occasional bird finds her way in but not out— leaving behind, at length, a pile of airy bones in the low-ceilinged space beneath the pitched roof. A room mostly neglected and filled with the memories of several generations. (My kind of room)
All these things will make me feel rested and calm; remind me that no one is ever at the helm in this world. Not for long, anyway, and there is a comfort in that. Just as there is comfort in watching slow snow falling on the grass, gone brown in the fall in preparation for the long winter’s sleep.
Sometimes it can be done with reading on the train. And sometimes it needs to be done by formulating, or finding, some clear thing out of the jumble of tangled strings and wires— the ones that formed knots in one’s head during the tumult of the day.
First: you may disagree, but I don’t demean a beautiful wood grain by referring to it as white noise.
Sometimes the most powerful tonic is a meditative white noise. It’s one of the things I love about the hustle-bustle of this town. Everything retreats as you wander; as you dive inward for a moment— take an amuse-bouche of psychic space. A slice of some steady static can be a city person’s version of soft, reassuring silence.
As a farm girl, I tell you it’s a quieter version of the symphony of cricket-song, late on an early summer’s night. It’s a cacophony of release.
That’s what some few of we Brooklynites call Manhattan— the ‘Hatters*. Also, Work Island, The Big Town. Often accompanied by a groan (implying the MTA, etc)
I’ve been spending a fair amount of time there the past few weeks, and it’s been brilliant. I’ve had to re-calibrate my perspective; always a healthy pursuit. Seeing my town with fresh eyes. Remembering why I’m here.
I missed my accustomed, promised Thursday post yesterday, but I was okay with it, fine with it, as I’ve been posting nearly every day for a month. Hope you feel soft towards my remiss as well.
For now, enjoy this dynamic of skyscrapers and rhythmic windows in the perceived (and sometimes actual) heart of NYC on a fine sunny day. Looka’ that crane, building more UP!
If you’ve never done, check out This is New York, by Miroslav Sasek. It is timeless New York.
I’ve been on a new trajectory. It’s great; it’s weird, It’s new. I love new.
I also love Old. That’s neither here nor there. I’ve been feeling like a teenager again, lately. In the sense where I’m acutely aware how temporary so many people in one’s life tend to be. It’s not a judgement call; only acknowledgement of reality.
Most folks are temporary. There’s a time during which you overlap. It ends.
The thing to always remember is that you’re permanent. Be permanent to yourself. A solid. And recognize those who exhibit permanent qualities in return— they’re your rocks. Will help get you to your True North. The Keepers.
One of the reasons I enjoy poetry is because it comprises all of my favorite ways of making. It’s creating images with words, yes; a kind of storytelling. But it’s about so muchmore than just the correct or precise words —more than denotation or connotation— it’s also about design.
It’s about how the words interact with the space around them; make a composition, make aural and visual rhythms; remainders as important as omissions.
As in any kind of composition, the negative space is crucial.
When I was young, probably in college, I’d occasionally hear a person talking about this or that luminary, describing them as a “Rhodes Scholar.” My lack of awareness at the time meant that I’d only ever heard the phrase, not seen it spelled out. I had no idea. In my adventurous young mind, I heard it always as Rogue Scholar, and that turned itself into something I longed to be. Was it some sort of philosophical pirate? An intellectual outlaw? How did one arrive at an occupation or a moment where ‘actual’ scholars began describing one as a rogue of same? There was an implied concurrence that such a person was, indeed, learned, an expert— but somehow off the beaten path, or got to it by some unknown route. Delicious. Intriguing.
I realize it all sounds rather silly, but the idea has never disappeared from my mind; it has percolated in the recesses. In retrospect, I’m sure I knew it was my own fiction, but I was loathe to lose or destroy the whim. It’s probably still what I want to be when I grow up. Perhaps, if I ever found a grant for creatives, recipients thereof will be known as Rogue Scholars™. (The title alone will act as the first phase of weeding, of triangulating appropriates* for the honor.)
*Ha! That’s an appropriation of an inappropriate word. Maybe appropirates.