Books

Friday, August 19, 2011

At the Helm

I am posting this photo I took the other morning of a spider web--one of dozens and dozens in the trees along the path where I walked. I'm not going to make a metaphor out of it--I already did this, once upon a time, in a poem, and enough is enough. Anyway, seeing scads of these all at once kicks any artist's ass pretty hard. Are you kidding? Forget about the Internet, or TV, or whatevs--I'm competing with this? Nature is better, and best. I bow down.


What I'm thinking about are these weird interior images and feelings I get when I'm trying to steer a story toward a particular point on the shore. Heaviness in my arms as I try and try to make the turn, but the story is still reeling out ahead, or maybe in the opposite direction. What's this all about anyway? Why can't I make it go in the direction I want--easily? Why this big drama, as if I'm Captain Bligh, turning the helm in the big storm to get around the Horn?


I carry around such vivid images of the physical work of writing--they are so real to me I don't even question them. They can hover all day.


I just got to the end of a story. I hope it's good. It has been a separate world and a respite from what's on my mind, and the bad dreams I've been having every night. I have to type it next. Another image; the three stories that need typing, and the section of the novel that goes in the can, never to be touched again. I'm dragging them all forward. Heavy chains, clanking.


I am waiting. For what, I won't say. I write what comes, dream the bad dreams, photograph the marvels. Meanwhile my body has a strong sense of what it needs to do to keep the show on the road. One of the many aspects of life that is private.

2 comments:

  1. The heaviness in your arms is a visceral image. Sometimes I take those symptoms of physical exertion as a sign to back off--do I need a nap? Am I overdoing it? It's good to know the struggle may mean that I'm close to completing the work.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Alice,
    I wasn't sure how to contact you so I apologize for leaving a note on your blog!

    Liz Dawson suggested I contact you. I'm a playwright/writer who lives in Montclair.( I also blog on disaboomlive.com about disability and parenting issues) I'm close to finishing a memoir and she thought that you might be teaching a class that would be beneficial to my work. Do you have another email address at which I might contact you?
    Best,
    Katinka Neuhof
    katinkaneuhof@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete