Monday, August 18, 2014

It's hard to explain


by Kay Ryan

Stardust is
the hardest thing
to hold out for.
You must
make of yourself
a perfect place —
something still
upon which
something settles —
something like
sugar grains on
something like
metal, but with
none of the chill.
It’s hard to explain.

Listening to Max Richter's Recompositions of Vivaldi this past week. Not for the Vivaldi purists, apparently, if you read the comments on YouTube. But I adore them. Below is Summer:

Last week, as many of you know, I was working on the edits for my manuscript, my novel. Seems even just a little bit more real. And 2015 seems closer and closer - the publication will likely be in the fall. So, a little more than a year from now. I fell in love with my characters all over again last week, and can't wait to share them in book form. 

I've been feeling a bit of angst regarding my entire internet presence, including Calm Things. Actually, I've been feeling a lot of angst regarding so many things, truth be told. Looking for a way forward, re-evaluating, and yet not coming up with much in the way of change. And also the thought that maybe it's not so much change that I need but a kind of reaffirmation.

So how about this.

"It is Beauty that magnetizes the contemplative, and it is the duty of the contemplative to give beauty away so that the rest of the world may, in the midst of squalor, ugliness, and pain, remember that beauty is possible."

- Joan Chittister


"If we go down into ourselves, we find that we possess exactly what we desire."

- Simone Weil

How I love this poem by Wendell Berry. And though I wait patiently enough for stardust, hold out for it, in one way, it's also true that I wouldn't want anyone to imagine me exactly calm. I'm anything but.

A Warning to My Readers

by Wendell Berry

Do not think me gentle
because I speak in praise
of gentleness, or elegant
because I honour the grace
that keeps this world. I am
a man as crude as any,
gross of speech, intolerant,
stubborn, angry, full
of fists and furies. That I
may have spoken well
at times, is not natural.
A wonder is what it is.


  1. I always hold my breath when opening Calm Things. Worried that it might be the last new post, but so grateful for your latest offering. Having been an uncommitted writer for over 40 years, I can only thank you for your work and offer my grateful appreciation for Calm Things. It is a sort of lifeline that I'd love to continue reading for as long as possible. Thank you for sharing it with your followers. Linda

  2. OMG! Thank you for the gift of Vivaldi. He lifted me up, tears and all, before the cacaphinous invasion of the gardener's leaf blower. Linda

  3. Stardust is somewhere inside your own inner galaxy, you just have to look inside, that's just my opinion. Not that I see it inside me very often :-) Thank you for the Wendell Berey poem, it is great. And for the pictures. The light is gorgeous.

  4. I certainly would miss your gently thought-provoking posts and all the light you share but I can appreciate that writing here can be a drain at times too. I am a big fan of Vladimir Horowitz's Chopin recordings, also looked down upon by some critics for the liberties he takes with the music. While purists have their place, I for one, am glad not to be one of them :) xo

  5. Thank you all for the bolstering comments. Just what I needed today. More appreciated than you know.

    Leigh - will be looking for the Horowitz. Thanks for mentioning it.

  6. I am far from calm myself, which is why I look forward to visiting here every night. Happy to have you back...even if for a short while longer. I always have your book to look forward to.

  7. I look forward to reading your blog...always an inspiration to me...and the pictures - so lovely : ) I do understand your angst about it though. I'm in a bit of a slump myself. The words just won't come.

    1. Yes, I think it's natural that this blogging creates angst. It's so public and strange - you never know quite who is reading it or how it's received. Hoping your slump ends soon, dear Vicki.

  8. Is there any chance that you might put that last picture with the red fountain pen up on Crated? or do you sell your photos through other venues? I'm just setting up a four-photo grouping on the wall of our newly renovated kitchen and that photo is perfect. Thanks for all of your lovely photos. Even on days when my mind is too sluggish to absorb your thoughtful observations, the photos are there to speak to me.

    1. So kind! Yes, I've put it up on Crated. It's the only place I sell my photos - the quality is really excellent. Thanks so much, Edna.

    2. Thank you for doing that. I just wish that I had thought to tell you that I need 8 x 10 photos for our frames. Is there a particular reason that you opted for the larger size for that photo? Edna.

  9. Ahhh...oh dear. They don't give me a choice at Crates, it turns out. Plus, because the photo's original format is 4x6 - they size from there.


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