overwriting (from the archives . . . and not)

I've always been conscious of the way things look, but even more so of the way they could be written.

I want to live as a poem. And maybe that is also why I so enjoyed the structure and ceremony of [my friend's] Catholic marriage rites, with their ancient beauty, their time-crafted rituals, their unabashed deference to tradition and comme-il-fautisme.

I feel like a madwoman at times - I chase after literary images and fetishize the mundane, if I have to.

And maybe that is why I like to be a tourist in life - that sort of behavior is forgivable in tourists. Encouraged, in fact.

I want to see life as a work of art - is is, sometimes. After all, art comes from life, coaxed from the grey quarry of the quotidian by the impractical, cloud-eyed miners of beauty. They swirl dirt around until they see a glistening speck, and then, by the strange alchemy of desire and imagination, they blow it into the pure gold of poetry. Silly they are, sometimes, but how else to endure it all? [. . .]

They/we are an odd lot, we self-described, self-appointed poets. We try to chronicle life, but maybe we only chronicle the shadows on the walls of our personal Platonic caves. And if we do wander outside to the fire, we warm our hands by it dumbly, almost callously, only to unfreeze our fingers long enough to stumble back into the cave and write about what we see flickering on the wall inside.

Are we fools or are we wise to isolate ourselves like this? Inspiration happens outside, but art can only be created in isolation. I suppose it's all about what one considers important - creativity or activity. Which loss would we shed more tears for? There never is a clear answer.

September, 2007 (on the way back from a friend's wedding).

My best moments, the best memories I've made have come when I was so busy being alive, there wasn't even time to touch pen to paper.

Once, I saw a quote by Colette; paraphrased from memory, it was something like "No great love story has ever been written while making love." Ah, there it is - the quandary of the writer. Does one write one's life or live it? The best manage both, in equal and complementary measure.

April 2, 2009.

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