For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.
- Mary Oliver
The weight of the world
Under the burden
under the burden
the weight we carry
- Allen Ginsberg, from "Song"
The authors you first come to when you begin writing, those early influences, are often the ones you turn to when the weight of the world, though it is love, it is love, is heavy indeed.
This morning I wanted the comfort of poetry, of a poet I trust, of a familiar volume, dog-eared and loved.
Roo Borson's Night Walk. Which is out of print, it seems, though there are used copies that could be purchased.
Roo Borson from "The Transparence of November,"
"Whatever small flowers
I may have mentioned in summer:
And from the same book by Roo Borson:
Their lives are longer, slower than ours.
They drink more deeply, slowly,
are warmed, do not shiver at dusk.
The heart unwinding makes a small noise.
Who would hear it?
Yet the trees attend,
perhaps to us, perhaps to nothing.
Ignorance, maybe, not of
flowering, but leaves and bark.
Trees. Dusk. Hand-coloured photographs
of the world before we were born.
Not sweet, but as water is,
sweet to a mouth long closed on itself.
A reminder then, to drink deeply now. To remember that along with whatever other burdens we carry, we carry love.
I was reading something this morning, lost now on the internet, where the answer to the complaint about 'not having enough time' to write or paint or create or do whatever it is you feel called to do, is:
that you have as much time as Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Da Vinci. As much time as Jane Austen, Rainer Maria Rilke, Margaret Atwood, Mary Oliver and Virginia Woolf. You have the same 24 hours, the same 7 days in a week.
I use this excuse myself sometimes, even though I know it's not true - not enough time.
Most of my books were written when I didn't have enough time. Chloe was born when I was in the midst of edits on my first book. I've written most of my current work in progress between 5 and 7 in the morning. I have a friend who wrote her entire novel beginning at 5am before she goes off to her full time job. Another friend writes between endless, intense freelance gigs. I don't know how either of them do it, and sometimes I'm not sure how I do it either, though it's true, I have more time than many writers I know.
The other question, what is your proper work?
If you haven't the answer for this by now, then when?