Monday, October 19, 2015

Writing in darkness

In darkness things merge, which might be how passion becomes love and how making love begets progeny of all natures and forms. Merging is dangerous, at least to the boundaries and definition of the self. Darkness is generative, and generation, biological  and artistic both, requires this amorous engagement with the unknown, this entry into the realm where you do not quite know what you are doing and what will happen next. Creation is always in the dark because you can only do the work of making by not quite knowing what you're doing, by walking into darkness, not staying in the light. Ideas emerge from edges and shadows to arrive in the light, and though that's where they may be seen by others, that's not where they're born.

~ Rebecca Solnit, in her magnificent book, The Faraway Nearby (p. 185)

This really struck a chord for me. Like a string instrument - a chord with a lingering resonance. It feels like the times we're in. It feels like our human moment.

We are dwelling in darkness. Some of that darkness is terrifying. We walk through it blindly. We don't know what's inside it, where the next step will lead us, or if our foot will land on anything solid, anything that can hold us up.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

When the writer isn't blogging....

It's not because she isn't writing, only that life at times overwhelms and it's too easy to let the blogging go.

Why tonight? If you followed me in the past, you know I've been working on a book that emerged from my trip to Alberta - the Athabasca River, Rocky Mountains, boreal forest - and the industrial devastation of the tar sands region two years ago now. I think of it as my ecological lament, and it is that. The lamentation is rooted in the magnificence of the eco-community that is this river, the gorgeous glacial waters, the wildlife, the stunning star-filled night skies, all of which puts the oil sands into context, that accentuates the horror that we now can witness all around the planet as industrial civilization spreads it's tentacles everywhere, and most voraciously and destructively in the extraction and production of fossil fuels for that civilization to burn and burn and burn...

Monday, April 27, 2015

Writing in troubled, troubled times

I say this over and over again - among our most important humans in this time of deep crisis are our culture workers, our artists, poets, story-tellers, those with searing, truthful lenses through which to SEE our world, those with the imagination, the vision, the narratives that can help us imagine new ways of living - because we need them so badly now.

A little while ago I turned on the TV looking for news of Nepal and ran into live coverage of the violence in the streets of Baltimore. Rocks, bricks, and other objects have been hurled at police and several are injured, some with broken bones and one described as "unresponsive."

CNN and MSNBC have unfortunately decided to focus on a CVS pharmacy that is being looted, as if that's the point. Now a police car is in flames, and things are getting worse. Now other stores are being looted, more rocks being thrown...

A long legacy here, one I learned something about during the 25 years I lived in the DC area, in Maryland, just down the freeway from Baltimore,

Friday, March 13, 2015

"New possibilities of perceiving" - overcoming our cultural delusion

Poetry's work is not simply the recording of inner and outer perception; it makes by words and music new possibilities of perceiving. ~ Jane Hirshfield
The power of poems, and of the best creative writing, is this ability to alter perception - not just the perception itself, but the way of perceiving.

Words have often failed us. Words combined with rational thinking and mechanistic science (also much of academia) have fooled us even more. That combination has given western culture a way of perceiving reality, the world, Nature, that is destroying life on the planet at scales not seen since that asteroid crashed into the planet and wiped out millions of years worth of evolution. It is because that way of perception is delusional.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Writing to overcome...

There's been a fascinating discussion on Facebook lately about how hard it is for writers to write because they also have to pay the bills. There's been an exchange of expressed frustrations that so many successfully published writers have partners or spouses with incomes that support them, or jobs in academia, or other sources of independent wealth - which is true, of course. The culture does not support writers

Here in Wisconsin, our fearless (and soul-empty) governor cut the state grants program for writers - because, you know, who needs them?