Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bedside Tables

Books migrate from one side of the bed to the other.  This is Rob's side.  He read Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud, by Martin Gayford last week, and now it's my turn.  

You'd think my side would be the tidier one, but it's usually a leaning tower of books.  

I've been thinking a lot about confidence, and maybe partly it's because of this book that has been passed from one bedside table to another.  I have one novel that is hoping for a publisher.  Meanwhile, I'm deep in the next.  This is a fine place to be in many ways - the anonymity, the complete loneliness of the project can be good for the writing.  I'm trying to remember that.  What a free space it is.  Nothing or nobody to mess up certain thought processes.  The struggle is to maintain a level of confidence in what I'm doing, even though there's been no real outside affirmation.

The endurance of the artist, the writer.  Gayford says, "When we look at an artist's work - the seventy-odd years of Picasso's output, say, or Titian's - we are encountering not merely a lot of pictures, but an index of their vitality and tenacity, the vigor with which they continued to move and think and care about what they say, day after day, year after year."  This is comforting somehow, right?

I've been out of sorts this Easter weekend.  At Christmas I'm always hiding my out-of-sortedness, so it feels.  This is what Freud says about Christmas holidays:  "I shouldn't want to look forward to anything that wasn't work, it would be too destabilizing."  It's in the insanity of writing that I find my equilibrium.

I'm in that spot where I just want to get back to the writing, the early morning sessions. But am also rather terrified that I've lost my nerve, something that happens frequently enough, but this feels a bit larger than usual.  Who hasn't had the thought that it would be smarter to chuck the whole so-called creative life, in my case the life of an obscure and decidedly minor writer.  But usually in the next thought, I'm chucking the idea of chucking it.  Honestly though lately I'm afraid of how long the idea remains in my head.


  1. I love the peek at your bedside tables and now need to find a copy of the Martin Gayford book! Just a couple of days ago I entertained the thought of giving up art too and getting a "real job" and making money. It was such a novel idea it was almost exciting. Not likely to happen though. I wish you the best, holidays can be unsettling.

  2. thanks for looking in here Polly. i'm sure making money is over rated : ) not likely to happen for me too deep!

  3. Obscure and minor? Great name for a band, but hardly you. However, there is grace in that, too. It's the climb.


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