Saturday, June 23, 2012
I used to say that every day was worth recording, worth writing about. I said it a million times in this very blog. I don't know if I ever truly believed it but certainly I tried to practice it as often as I could. For the year 2003 I have 99 blog posts recorded. For the year 2004 there are at least 44. After that it declines to a mere handful. This means that for a couple of years, at least, I was writing, when at my lowest, once a week.
I keep forgetting how much this is a discipline, and not just raw talent. I used to fancy myself Virginia Woolf and remembered what she said about her diaries being the equivalent of her sister's sketchbooks. I do try to draw at least once a week, if not once a day. Yet how afraid am I of facing a blank page and not knowing what do. I keep forgetting how important it is to describe the smell of the rain.
I've been so full of festering lately, of ugly thoughts and feelings at people and situations beyond my control. I keep forgetting the way wet earth smells. I've written some things, but so much of what is happening inside me lately is utterly private, so much of it is what is most vulnerable in me. I've been trying to think of ways around it, of saying without saying and trying to at least get the pure emotion out, even if the details must remain sketchy. I keep forgetting how much I want flowers in my home, if grown only in glass jars at least. I keep forgetting to mention that I planted lavender.
The problem with studying literature is that so much of it makes you self-concious. When all you do is read and write and not think, you absorb it still (I used to think that too, which is exactly why I began studying literature), you get the essential bits. It doesn't matter if you've read King Lear. What matters is that the person you're reading read someone who read someone who did read King Lear. It trickles down. But when you do study literature it all becomes too near, too apparent, too inescapable. You think, good god Ire, writing about nature? How tritely romantic of you.
And you keep forgetting of how vast the grey sky looks when you emerge from the subway. You keep forgetting that just a few weeks ago you stood in the rain and heard the thunder and felt it rumble deep inside you. You keep forgetting that you should have written that down, at some point, no matter how busy you were.
Discipline and practice. Artistic sensibility is so much more than a blunt tool you can store in your mind's attic and forget about until you need it again. You keep telling this to people and you keep forgetting to take your own advice (as so often happens with really good advice). You can't even begin to describe the way this song makes you feel right now and you used to be able to do that at least.
How much more alive does writing make you feel? How ashamed am I that when reading about Frances Hodgson Burnett's life the sheer volume of her writing seems completely unreachable. I worry so much about having something to say. There's a blog post I meant to finish soon, about something that's become more important for me lately; it had a point and a purpose. But if I can't make myself write here at least once a day, give meaning to whatever happened during the day, how am I ever going to finish that or any of the other million things for which I keep saying "some day, some day, soon, I'll finish them as soon as I have time"?
I keep forgetting and you just reminded me. I keep forgetting how long it has been. Eight years. Eight years of thinking too much about it, of never taking that last step, of saying, I'll be ready soon, I just need to read this other thing, I just need to be a little smarter, a little more knowledgeable, just a bit more. And I just kept forgetting how much the actual writing made me happy and how much better the practice of it made me.
It doesn't matter, I suppose. I'm here and I think I may, at long last, be waking up.