Tag Archives: Jane Hirshfield

This and That

Well, I’d planned on posting, Thursday, getting back into the swing of doing so every Thursday. Didn’t happen then, but here I am now. Reckon I’m still more en-fogged than I thought.

Last Tuesday, apart from being St Patrick’s Day, was also the release date for two books by one of my favorite poets, Jane Hirshfield: The Beauty: poems, and, Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World. I ordered these, over a month ago, from our local independent bookstore; and they arrived, Thursday. I haven’t had a chance to do more than flip through ‘em, so far. Perhaps next blogpost, Thursday?, I’ll have something to say about them.

Meanwhile, spring has sprung, and the weather’s warming up. As usual, I’m not ready to relinquish winter. This particular one started off strongly, but petered out too soon. (Even folks who don’t like winter were commenting, asking what’d happened.) We had huge dumps of snow, early on, and deep sub-freezing (and sub-zero) temps; but midway through December, it became more like autumn. Most of February had shirtsleeve afternoons. As much as I hate saying goodbye to winter, it does mean I’ll soon be able to plant my beloved sunflowers.

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Telluride is having their 2nd Annual Literary Arts Festival, May 15-17. I missed being able to go, last year, and (alas) I won’t be able to make it this year, due to getting clobbered by tax payments. Here’s hoping third time will be a charm, come next year.

That’s pretty much it. No theme. No ponderings. But, still, a post. A “something.”

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Filed under Inspiration, re: Writing, Sorting It Out

Stop Waiting

I spent at least half an hour, this afternoon, not knowing what to write for today’s blogpost. Time and again, what came to mind seemed self-indulgent (yes, even for a blogpost) or lacked substance. I coulda skipped the blogpost, waiting until next week or whenever inspiration finally struck. But I’m a writer, and am working on becoming a professional one. Waiting to inspired before I write is an indulgence I can’t afford. And I know from experience how often inspiration follows initiation. Professional writers simply clock-in and get to work, period. No ifs, no ands, no buts, no whining.

This kinda segues into whether one is supposed to write everyday. Well, the incredibly overwhelming majority of writers whom I know about do some sort of writing, each day. It’s like any other desired habit, it’s persistently attended to and done—even when it’s difficult, even when you don’t wanna. I know my own writing benefits when I make it a daily thing. To be sure, there are exceptions. Jane Hirshfield and (possibly) Kent Haruf come to mind. And when I’m consistently producing work anywhere near the caliber of Haruf’s and Hirshfield’s, I might reconsider.

But until then, it’s to be an every day thing.

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Filed under Honoring Your Writing and Your Being a Writer, re: Writing, Staying With the Writing

Not Alone

Well, a good bit has happened since my last blogpost. As some of you know, I received a number of hits for this particular post and its link on Facebook. When I posted, I was already turning back toward the light, and that’s been continuing, since. Each of you who reached out, whether through prayers, thoughts, bright blessings sent my way, coming up to me to see how I’m doing and to let me know your door’s always open, and commenting on the blogpost and/or its FB link, or whatever other way, has been a significant element of continued improvement. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

 

To be sure, I still have miles to go. But I’m not traveling alone. And thank you, again, for that.

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I’m a member of a local poetry group that meets once a month. Each meeting, we’re given an assignment for the next month’s meeting. We’ll be meeting tomorrow, and our assignment will be to have written a letter to poet regarding one of their poems that we’ve spent time with, looking it over and seeing what holds it together. The four poem/poets we were to chose from were: “Thanks,” by WS Merwin; “French Horn,” by Jane Hirshfield; “Scars,” by William Stafford; and “I Might Not Have Believed,” by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer. Me, being who I am, wrote to each poet. (Well, to Kim Stafford, who is literary executor for his father, who died in 1993, re: “Scars.”)

Friday, August 1st, I received a postcard from Kim, thanking me, saying his father would have enjoyed my letter. I was stunned when I realized the postcard was from him. (I’d also recently written a dear friend whose tendency is to send me postcards from her travels; so when I saw I’d received a postcard, I thought it was from her. When I got around to reading it, I quickly realized otherwise.) Yesterday’s mail brought another postcard; this one from Jane Hirshfield. I’m still shaking my head in bewonderment.

Perhaps I’m not alone as a writer, wondering whether my words have mattered, whether they’ve made their intended mark upon a reader. It was a stretching out my hand, writing to each of these four poets and writers. I hoped to hear something back, but I wasn’t expecting it, wasn’t gonna whimper if it never happened. The simple act of mailing a letter was, itself, already such a strong connecting action. To have heard back from two of them, and with such gracious and thankful words, and so quickly…? Well, seems my word do matter, do make their marks.

Perhaps, just maybe, even poets as successful, as esteemed, as these four aren’t so different from me, newbie that I am. Perhaps wondering whether ones words are doing good things, now that they’ve been set out on their own into the world, isn’t something that success and esteem keeps from happening. Just maybe, there’s a same quickening thrill when they receive a letter expressing thanks for what they’ve written, that shows someone has spent time with their poem, deepening their understanding and appreciation of it. Maybe the best way they can deal with their exploding-with-gratitude heart is to grab a postcard, write their gratitude on it, and put it into the mail, pronto. After all, being “a name” in whatever circle doesn’t make you less vulnerable. Make your desire to make a difference diminish any.

It might amaze you, the hands reaching out, waiting for your own hand to do the same.

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(Since it’s not on-line, anywhere, below is Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer’s poem:)

 

I Might Not Have Believed

(Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer)

 

Because it is our work to love

I give you precedence.

Before the bills, before the making

of the bed, I set my list aside

that I might hold you first.

 

It is intricate, this loving.

I might wish it to be like origami,

a swan, perhaps.

Perfect tucks. Tiny folds.

 

It’s more newspaper hat,

crooked creases, crinkled,

never quite fitting the head.

 

I learn to bow to the clutter,

kiss what is rumpled,

kneel in the muddle and laugh.

 

Whatever this ache, I thank it,

how it keeps your scent

the axis of my dizziness.

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Filed under Honoring Your Writing and Your Being a Writer, No [One] Is An Island