Why the malaise? I wanted to blame it on laugh tracks and advertising and fake news, cynical expat that I am. Then I read Jamie Lee Wallace’s post on Live to Write, Write to Live, and it made sense. I haven’t been alone for weeks. Alone for me is more than no one else in the house, it’s more like no one within miles. With no time to talk to myself(aloud), bounce ideas off my dog and submerge myself in multiple books, well, I just don’t have much to say.
I think I’ll look at as many interesting things as I can in this last week in the U.S., laugh with my mom and fully immerse myself in foods and wine I don’t usually have access to. I’ll be back when I can manage to memorize another poem, or the mountain air clears my head. Peace to you all. Abby
I’ve been in the US for five weeks now. I’m walking dogs, trying to make a little money to take home. I’ve booked a flight home in a little over two weeks and paid for it with my first official writing job(!) writing some content for a friend’s travel blog.
What usually happens when I’m here, has happened again. I have less and less to say. Not always a bad thing 🙂 Some beauty is all I have to offer this morning.
My blog buddy Dannie Hill recently published a touching post, Heart Words, about writing that make us feel a real connection between characters, and in turn ourselves. His post made me think about what I admire in writers and what kinds of words are difficult for me to write.
I have a high regard for authoritative writing: Gore Vidal’s unwavering confidence, Camille Pagilla’s erudite swagger, Chris Hedge’s revelatory bravery. But in my own writing I lean toward another of my favorite writers, Joan Didion’s, methods “ it seems…perhaps… I think…” Because, as she quotes Lionel Trilling, I too believe, “Some paradox of our nature leads us, when once we have made our fellow man the objects of our enlightened interest, to go on to make them the objects of our pity, then our wisdom, ultimately of our coercion.”
This week’s recitation, Rice, by Mary Oliver is an ideal example of authoritative writing. She affirms my belief that poetry is the most effective arena in which to make our demands on society, and, the best language for effecting change. Hear it here, then walk out into the fields…
Many poets take you by the hand, and with great care, show you their world and their wisdom, a great gift no doubt.
But, James Tate affords the reader more opportunity than that, his poems present themselves, as if he has swung open his arms and said, “Here is what I see! Now, what do you think of that?” One can wander the rooms of his vision for years, seeing marvels anew and gaining fresh insights. His world never recedes, never dulls. This week I recite from his masterful book, Distance From Loved Ones. Hear it here!On my Ytube channel.
Saturdays are for Bathing Betsy
by James Tate
I am thinking about Betsy almost all the time now.
I am also thinking about the relationship between
a man and his watch. I am amazed at how each sort
of animal and plant manages to keep its kind alive.
Shocking poultry. Maybe there’s a movie playing
downtown about a dotty fat woman with a long knife
who dismembers innocent ducks and chickens. But it’s
he reconstruction of the villa of the mysteries
that is killing me. How each sort of animal
and plant prevents itself from returning to dust
just a little while longer while I transfer some
assets to a region where there are no thinking creatures,
just worshiping ones. They oscillate along like magicians,
deranged seaweed creatures and their gals, a Nile landscape
littered with Pygmies. I’m lolling in the banks.
I am not just a bunch of white stuff inside my skull.
No, there is this villa, and in the villa there is
a bathing pool, and on Saturdays Betsy always visits.
I am not the first rational man, but my tongue
does resemble a transmitter. And, when wet, she
is a triangle. And when she’s wet, time has a fluff-
iness about it, and that has me trotting about,
loathing any locomotion not yoked to her own.