Monday, December 26, 2005

Ballard's morning notes.

I woke up this morning to quiet. My thing for the New Year is to find my silence, the room inside myself and try to begin with it, before I start the day. I am returning to the first writing teacher I ever had, Madeline L’Engle. I blame her for ruining me for all other workshops and teachers, b/c she always told me no one could ever teach me how to write. No one could teach me how to listen to myself. That’s pretty powerful knowledge at 17.

Sometimes I loose my way. Okay, I loose my self a lot. A few years ago I met a teacher who told me Teresa, you need to invent your self as a writer, create your image as a poet--market, connect. He, honestly is probably the most financially successful writer I will ever meet and he’s damn good at this. I am not. Or maybe I am, sometimes I get lost in my own stories, which I’m sure is how Hansel felt when he tried to return home following a trail of bread. No one expects the birds.

Chekhov : you must once and for all give up being worried about successes and failures. Don’t let that concern you. It is your duty to go on working steadily day by day, quite quietly, to be prepared for mistakes, which are inevitable, and for failures.

Dialectic Number One: I spend a great deal more time thinking about what kind of writer I want to be verses actually writing.

Dialectic Number Two: Writing and thinking is key to my survival as a being. It frees me and entraps me, sometimes simultaneously.

When my sister’s son died four years ago I was there, when other people were throwing up in the bathroom or crying in the waiting room, I was rubbing her back, telling her stories b/c even though he was dead she had to give birth to him. When the nurse, took me aside and told me the baby might be born in pieces, that I should be prepared. I wrote myself a story. I said, here I am, I will write my way out of this someday, I will forget. I have never forgotten.

The stories (poems) we keep writing are the things we may never be free of. I know every detail of that room, his foot print on paper. I know you can enter a place, thinking you can be respectful of someone’s grief, enter into their pain b/c you love them and yet it’s a goal you can never attain. I also understand sometimes you can become trapped. There are rooms in love you cannot enter. Places you cannot be.

Pay attention to the dialectics. Be mindful of the birds.


LJCohen said...

T--time and time again, what you write touches me in my most secret poet's heart. Thank you for the gift of your words.


David said...

I was going to email you this response because of its personal nature. But, now that I have entered this blogosphere as a participant, I must force myself to be openly expressive in this community of writers (as writers like yourself and Rebecca have done for some time now).

Anyway, many of the things you say in this post reverberate strongly. You say:

The stories (poems) we keep writing are the things we may never be free of.

After experiencing some of the most gut-wrenching trauma a man can experience without going mad (or perhaps I have?), I looked towards my craft as a way to extricate myself from memories of burnt flesh and body parts strewn, of loved ones crying and rocking. What I have learned, however, is this: the more I tell the story of trauma, the more that story is engrained in my bones.
I will never be pulled from the wreck, but after diving into it time and again, I at can at least accept and absorb it.

Lyle Daggett said...

I can't find anything useful to add, but just wanted to thank you for writing this. I moved me much.

Ana Bozicevic-Bowling said...

Teresa, I'll keep the birds in mind in the coming year. It's a good motto. Thank you! A.

Pirooz M. Kalayeh said...

Follow the birds!

Great quote from Chekov. Great post from you.

Glad you're kicking ass.

Have a good holiday and New Year, T.

Kisses to your children and heart.

5000, P.

Mella said...

This is a beautiful, powerful post. As a writer I'm always hoping that somehow writing will free me from some of the pain lurking in my heart and my past - but it's never the case.

It seems that the more I write, the higher to the surface it rises.