13 October 2007

every tendril uncurled

"Writing feels like work," said my editor-to-be when she interviewed me. That's what happens when you spend the day typing articles and news briefs. "So I paint and do pottery because it feels like rest." Her novel has been sitting for ten years.

I am trying to sketch for the first time in years on a Saturday afternoon in a bakery courtyard: empty wrought iron tables and chairs, leaves blowing across red brick patio stones, the stucco side of the bakery, grey and cracking.

It's hard, just a few lines on paper, infinitely harder than writing.

There is an absolute quality of removal--as if something inside my head is stretching, trying to dislodge, almost the tingling of new exercise. I am trying to unwind all those knotted brain cells, those tendrils that you see plaited across a dissected brain.

I am trying to draw finches and vines in the arbor. I am trying to draw a bell lamp that's painted grey. I cannot get the glass belly of the bulb right; it doesn't look rounded at all. I have no color to capture the sky behind it all, intense blue and the ribboned power lines hanging black against it.

The snapshot, the summary, that's what I've been practicing these five months at the newspaper. I don't mix colors or sketch until things look right. I don't labor to arrange or tease out words. I don't stop what I'm doing just because a phrase is ringing in my ears.

Phrases don't ring in my ears. I don't whisper them beneath my breath until I find a pen; every adjective poised, every pause premeditated.

This weekend stands quiet, released from one job and not yet begun at the other. Every job has been a season, none intolerably long. This change continues the motion, the assurance the I can work, the satisfaction that I can earn some living with my pen, even if it leaves me quieter.

I must search every aspect for grace: in orange slices and reassuring smiles, in encouraging words that temper my cynicism, in the newness that has me bending my mind in new ways and making lists of resolves, trying sketching for rest and instead finding myself begin to write.


jamie said...

i love how your write.. so much its so filled with beauty and grace and smoothnessss

Hope Elizabeth said...

excited for the new season. :)

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