Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Edges - where things meet

I found myself in the pre-dawn dark this morning thinking about edges. I picked up my pencil and the journal I keep nearby for those moments of inspiration you don't want to lose, and I started writing:
In this one leaf
here at the edge where the pavement
meets grasses, meets wildflowers
and fallen branches
near the water's edge,
a story -
how can I decipher it?
It wanted to be a poem, so I kept writing, and it kept coming, and now it exists, inviting more work, reshaping, edges between lines and words, punctuation marks and spaces...

Edges - where one thing meets another.

One of the ways we all live, because there is no other way; we live on the edge/s...

We don't live isolated and alone, even when it feels like it; we live on those edges where one thing meets another, one person meets another, or a shoreline, or where the pencil meets the paper.

We live on the edges of eras, when one is ending and another beginning (as now), when one can see what lies on one side of the edge, but the emerging one is all a blur, unsettling, destabilizing - and one wants to hold the edges in place, keep them clear. But they're not.

Not like how the edge of the pavement meets the grass along the park trails, but more like the shoreline in constant change...in the fog...the ice floes still undulating with some force operating underneath.

Writers love to write in metaphors. Because trying to say things straight out is usually more distorting than a good metaphor, or a great story.

We like to write stories - fiction or non, we love to write stories. Because some of us feel like we've been in our heads long enough - and they haven't necessarily taken us in a good direction, freed us up, healed our world, or even told the truth.

Because something more is going on than we can ever comprehend.

So we search with metaphors, and the good ones get us closer to the truth - because they suggest, they don't explain, they point, they don't attempt to determine, they leave the door open rather than slam it shut. "Okay, NOW I understand." But you don't. Not that way.

A brilliant line like this from Jorie Graham ("High Tide" in her book Never):
Everywhere memory slicks its pebbles back and forth at the bottom of its riverbed,
like happiness drifting over what exists...
And I could sit with those lines all day long and still not come to the end of my probing.

...I feel scribbled-in. Something inattentive has barely
written me in.
I could read a thousand pages of social analysis, theology, or academic papers and not have as much to ponder as from those lines, or learn as much.

I may go hungry being a writer (because this culture disparages writers and makes them do something else so that they must write in their 'spare' [meaning less valued] time), but I think I will be better fed. I know life will be richer. And I know the searching will never end - which is the beauty of it, the beauty that meets and is shaped by and along the edges.

I choose to live on the edges...

Margaret Swedish

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