Tag: book

The joy of Monday

Written 7 December 2015

Today, i worked at Harbor Artisans in Belfast.  In the peaceful quiet of a Monday, on the heels of a rather busy weekend for the store, i was able to spend most of my time writing.  First, i finished catching up on typing and editing my poems for the year, which included categorizing them into three different collections – two by theme and one for all the rest.  i ask again

However, the magic happened after that.  My hands were not very good for typing today, so i did not want to spend time frustrating myself working on a client’s project when that could happily be done at home where the muttering would bother no one.

Perhaps, i should also admit to a certain amount of awareness – for once, i had a singular sense of purpose.  i knew that this was the direction my spirit should go, into the stories that have been haunting my mind and dreams. Obeying that impulse, i took out the 3 x 5 cards i had bought in order to give my current novel a coherent structure.  For almost a year, this book had been creeping forward in several tablets of paper and in a ridiculous amount of digital files – all haphazard and spontaneous, creeping out during moments stolen from other work. The arc of the larger story has always been there, but the order of the chapters and the fine details about character and location had been unstable. This is a massive amount of information i am parsing in a memory compromised by healing and pain: this book crosses over multiple dimensions, includes at least two beings with the power to eat gods, several dragons and an abundance of characters whom i find outrageously fun to write.

Today, those 3×5 cards began to grow: one for every universe, one color to track protagonist, one for antagonist, then a stack for characters, finally one for all the major scenes, with a delightful number of them already in draft form by hand or on the computer. The book is much closer to complete than i thought. By the time the stack was collated and rubber banded together, i was humming with joy.  My sore body started dancing and moving with energy i have not felt in a long time. haiku Every bit of energy in my body was aligned and blissful.  Supreme confidence and a deep and abiding delight to be living this life filled me up like love.

About two hours after i stopped writing – having cleaned the store, closed the register, picked up the dog and driven home – i began to come down from the elation.  My spirit began to quiet.  A good friend waited for me at the house, we had a wonderful chat, i ate my dinner, all the while feeling my body lower in energy and embrace a peaceful calm.

Only, after she left, stillness started to turn on me.  The space opened to thoughts outside of flow, running against bliss’ current, doubting the certainty of action that had been such a blessing when i chose to work on the book.  It started with my phone impudently flashing bank account’s meager balance to my unexpecting eyes.  There is someone i wish i could help financially, but i cannot get blood from a stone. Every time i look at my washing machine, i feel a huge stabbing of guilt because i am so far behind on that bill, which in turn stoked a panic about all the bills i haven’t been able to pay while i had been unable to throw or move or function and the medical tests i’m having tomorrow and on and on.  Like an avalanche the stress can pick up to terrifying speed and mass as it moves.

i have worked so hard to recognize what is going on within my mind and heart so i do not feed such things, so panic and self-loathing flow through me as quickly as possible, but in that moment i was falling into belief in the worst about myself, ready to ignore the blessings of the day. i could have ruined one of the most sublime miracles of joy i have experienced in months.

i am burningBut, even then, the book saved me.  As i let the complaints about my competency wander through my mind, a character from the nexus wandered in. She manages to do amazing things despite what is a completely broken down situation.  As i wrote one afternoon, probably in early spring, she arose out of nothingness, a bit of the book that i did not expect but that has since been recognized as a pivotal point.

At any rate, by the time she entered the story, she had survived bankruptcy, lost nearly everything, but steadfastly kept working at her passions and helping those she could.  In what is probably the best testimony to my potential madness, i take great hope in the fact that she poured through my hands effortlessly and unbidden.  More often than most would believe, my writing has saved me – even if it is simply by giving a good role model for transcending financial chaos and social devolution.  Almost immediately upon the thought of her, i moved from anxiety back into the exhausted stillness.

Now, here i am, writing again.  The flush of flow has started to rev in my veins and i wonder if i will be up all night writing.  It seems likely if i don’t walk away from the computer after this blog.  It doesn’t matter, i have tomorrow morning for clients, and i will make good on my word to them.  For now, though, i am very tempted to lose myself in the story and the dream and the miracle of language.

the delight in finishing

This is a quick and simple blog of gratitude.

If i did not finish a project today, i have come close.  A solid first draft from beginning to end.  Of course, this could simply mean that i am beginning the long process of editing – but it was delightful to have finished.  The words written in spurts and spasms over the  reminded me that i know how to stand even in the face of troubles.

In a lot of ways, i chose the perfect focus for my energies at this moment in time.  It helped me realize how far i have come and remember all the gifts i have been given.

Now, to start the editing.

Pieces of Loneliness – orbit

Before i accidentally deleted my entire old blog, i had put up a few chapters of a prose work.  It’s working title is “pieces of loneliness” for that is the theme that links all the short stories together.  Some characters are content in their solitude, others fight against it, others are defeated by it.

This is the first story.  Orbit.

Summer’s insanity

three bowls
three bowls

Summer just got a little crazier than normal.  Art in Maine is a seasonal business: we produce much of our work in the winter and then sell it in the spring, summer and fall.  That does not imply that art is not made during the three warmer seasons – at least not for me – i wind up adding the job of selling my work on top of what i am already doing creating it. Here is a freshly updated page telling you where my work will be, both open air markets and the galleries that sell my pottery and art.  Between deliveries, gallery sitting and manning my booth at events, i suddenly go from the equivalent of having two full time jobs to three.  It has taken me four years to get used to this rhythm intellectually; but when July comes and the work suddenly explodes, it still throws me off balance.

Yet, there is immense joy in this.  i love seeing customers react to my pottery and sculptures. For some reason, i never get tired of praise.

maine pots inside
maine pots inside
maine pots
maine pots

Also, this is a great opportunity for me to see what kind of things people want.  Some years it has been small items, others huge works.  I’ve been making pottery for Oli’s Trolley – all Maine themed pots – and i am finding they are selling in my studio even before they make it to Bar Harbor.  This is a good thing.

However, this year may prove to be different.  i unexpectedly added to summer’s insanity.  A few days ago, a new book started pouring out of me.  This one seems to be short, concise, and surprisingly useful.  However, these are the earliest stages.  It is outlined, about a quarter of the chapters written in a wild flood of ink.  Of course, this wonderful gift comes now, flowing effortlessly in every moment i can spare.  It is completely inconvenient that i’m adding to my workload at this exact moment.

But, these words cannot be denied or delayed.  It has happened before.  Years ago, writing what wound up being the first novel in a set, i wrote this poem to describe how that work flowed out of me.  While this book is very different in character, the following lines still explain the compulsion that has overwhelmed me:

 

fire angel
fire angel

fire woman
fire woman

yellow angel
yellow angel

—burning—

i am burning.
a year has passed
and i am still burning.
i wrote the realization down
after that day’s purifying fires
and then brought to page
so many more.
i told the story
with just enough lies
to reveal the truth.
i am burning
from the words i have penned,
and i am burning
with the compulsion
to write more,
to right more,
to finish this work,
to hold it in my hand,
to release it into the world
on paper or in ash,
but either way to complete
this act of fierce, merciful purging.
i am burning.
i am burning.
but, i doubt finishing
this particular rapture
of chapters and characters
will extinguish the heat
that cycles through me
filling me with this calling,
making me vibrate with its intensity,
for, with luck,
with Grace,
the writing will not end
until the writer does.

written in 2009

—-

 

So i am writing until the i am overtaken by sleep.  As soon as i awake, i steal time from other work by picking up the pen.  i am writing while i eat.  My notebook comes into the bathroom with me.  My cat stares at me grumpily while my scribbling delays her daily dose of affection.  Without a doubt, it is all worth it – i do not know what i would do without the poems, the stories, the paintings, the figures and the pots.