Friday, June 20, 2014

one joyous sadness after another

Vivaldi Years

by Gerald Stern

I lay forever, didn't I, behind those old windows,
listening to Bach and resurrecting my life.
I slept sometimes for thirty or forty minutes
while the violins shrieked and the cellos trembled.
It was a crazy youth, wasn’t it?, letting
my mind soar like that, giving myself
up to the poetry the way I did.
It was a little like Goethe's, wasn’t it,
a little like Eugene O'Neill's, one joyous
sadness after another. That was the everlasting
life, wasn’t it. The true world without end.

Listening to: Vivaldi's Spring

Reading / thinking about: Philippines by Hélène Cixous

From the book by Cixous:

"Every one of us has a secret book. It is a cherished book. It is not beautiful. Not great. Not so well written. We don't care. For it is goodness itself for us. The absolute friend. It promises and lives up to what it promises. We forget it but it never forgets us. It knows everything about us but it does not know it knows."

The writing life may have this aspect to it as well - the soaring from one joyous sadness to the next, and again.

And this is okay, if one finds oneself in the presence of those secret books, and if one is led to write them.

And sometimes you receive a letter from one of your publishers telling you your book is due to be pulped in 3 months due to lack of sales. Well. If you ever had half a thought to buy a copy of Blue Feast, now is the time.

The author's life, minor poet's existence: full of such ignominies.

Yesterday's consolations. A seagull soaring in the utility corridor as we walked in the drizzle. Seemed to be putting on a little show for me and dog.

The misty atmosphere was so lovely. The field where just a couple of days ago I took photographs of dandelions, has now been cut.

Back home, the plants are thriving in this cool, wet weather.

And just one last note before I wish you a beautiful and free weekend.

I've posted a couple of new images on my Crated Gallery which are, of course, available for purchase. A nice way to support this blog, if you think about it. :)


  1. Just purchased your book. Your words are going to travel down south to me in Minnesota. Reading your blog has connected me to poetry again. As usual, gorgeous photos! Thank you.

  2. Hopefully you have enough copies for yourself, your family and friends. Sigh. I self-publish thru an online site and they print on demand, whether you want one book or ten - also, you can advertise it on your site and people can order their copies directly from lulu - and from amazon. Info for your next book, maybe?? Your photos are spectacular - love the misty fields. And your dog's face. He is a noble one!

    1. I do, or I will, once I order a few more :) Thx Sherry. I self-published my book Hive, and that was okay for that book. I think it depends on the book and what you want from it. I'm glad your experience with Lulu has been good. Thanks for your lovely words about the photos :)

  3. Oh dear, Shawna..
    never doubt how many respect and depend on your words and your photos....your blog for guidance in a world that needs exactly what you give us. There are so many of us, invisible and unknown to you, because we take so freely of what you give and never manage to let you know. Perhaps you can use the pulping of your book for an essay or poem someday. You manage to make worthy everything you ponder deeply.

    1. This means a lot to me, Edna, thank you. I do love your idea about turning this experience into a poem or essay :)


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