Monday, May 19, 2014

laziness and joy

A writer’s work is the product of laziness, you see. A writer’s work essentially consists of taking his mind off things, of thinking about something else, of daydreaming, of not being in any hurry to go to sleep but to imagine something … And then comes the actual writing, and that’s his trade. That is, I don’t think the two things are incompatible. Besides, I think that when one is writing something that’s more or less good, one doesn’t feel it to be a chore; one feels it to be a form of amusement. A form of amusement that doesn’t exclude the use of intelligence, just as chess doesn’t exclude it.

- Jorge Luis Borges, from Seven Conversations with Jorge Luis Borges

Little Stones at My Window

by Mario Benedetti

Once in a while
joy throws little stones at my window
it wants to let me know that it's waiting for me
but today I'm calm
I'd almost say even-tempered
I'm going to keep anxiety locked up
and then lie flat on my back
which is an elegant and comfortable position
for receiving and believing news

who knows where I'll be next
or when my story will be taken into account
who knows what advice I still might come up with
and what easy way out I'll take not to follow it

don't worry, I won't gamble with an eviction
I won't tattoo remembering with forgetting
there are many things left to say and suppress
and many grapes left to fill our mouths

don't worry, I'm convinced
joy doesn't need to throw any more little stones
I'm coming
I'm coming.

"Mystics are experts in laziness. They rely on it,
because they continuously see God working all around them.
The harvest keeps coming in, yet they
never even did the plowing!"

- Rumi

"Who knows what advice I still might come up with," says Benedetti, and I feel the same way, even if the advice I come up with is mainly for myself. 

If you have read my book, Asking, then you may have read the poem, "To a Young Poet," in which i dispense all sorts of advice. One point of urging, has to do with procuring a chaise longue - a very elegant piece of furniture for receiving and believing, and also dreaming, day dreaming. Mine is in the upstairs window - perfect for staring at clouds, into space. There's a ledge for tea. I sit and read, and write in my diary. The computer is in another room altogether, and when I'm smart, I'll have turned the power off so I don't think I should run down and check for any emails that may have come in. 

It seems appropriate, anyway, to talk about laziness on a holiday Monday. It's very difficult to be truly lazy, isn't it? The to-do list gets in the way....

Which is why I've often said, here, that you must write this down on your list: stare out the window. Listen for those little stones of joy. 

In the meantime, there's a trick with the light I'm learning to do.....


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