Tuesday, October 28, 2003

NO: I Am Not Writing

Spent the morning doing a small proofreading job, so I'm not feeling writerly. Under the ferocious proofreading/editorial gaze, ideas shrivel like banana slugs in a salt mine. (It took me five minutes to write that, and I'm not satisfied with it.) (And now I'm thinking it would be funnier if I showed the changes with strikethroughs. Ah hell. And a gaze isn't comparable to a mine. Fuck it.)

Think of this as a writing exercise.

Nature colors. Purple loosestrife (yes, I know what damage it does). The watercolor skies, cloud melting into air, of March. Fall in Pennsylvania. The softened, bleached tones of November before the snow falls. The fading of green to blue to slate of mountain ranges on a grey day. The molten, almost hallucinatory green under basswood trees on a sunny day. Old stone, old brick. Blue shadows on snow, rusty iron, smoke, slate, lichen, moss, turned earth. The palomino hills of California. The bone-colored moon rising in daylight, the golden moon rising just past sunset.

smells: And you thought I was overwriting about color. You poor sucker, you.

Lilacs in the rain. The iron tang of snow in the air. (Yes, you can really smell it coming.) Burning leaves, burning wood. (Not a romantic smell to me so much as a homey one.) Fresh ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, basil in the sun, and all the spices I'm not allergic to. Tomato vines. California's thousand fragrances, from rosemary to redwood to eucalyptus. Miso soup – it smells like Grandma's house, though it shouldn't. The flesh and sweat of my lover. Hot tea. My own hands after I've been peeling lemons, limes, oranges. Plowed fields. Barns. Yes, I like the smell of cow manure, especially when it's been spread on the fields on a March day – when it's starting to warm up, but there's still snow in the sheltered places. Vetiver, oakmoss, sandalwood, petitgrain, all the essential oils I use in making soap. The first whiff of salt in the air when you get near the ocean. Rising bread, baking bread. Dusty old stores, the kind with wooden floors. Especially if they're selling hardware or used books.

sounds: "Hi, honey, you're home" from any of my housemates. Gabriel's purr of recognition. Most church music. Lots of other kinds of music. The wind. That sweet thunk when a bat connects perfectly with a ball. Someone I love reading aloud. Someone with a good voice reading aloud. Thunder – I love thunderstorms, and I miss them. A friend or family member's voice on the phone.

art: "It's a stunning exploration of negative space. Do you know why it's a stunning exploration of negative space?"
"No, why?"
"Because Jesus wants it that way."
(Five extra points to anyone who can identify the film.)

interests: (Alphabetized for your reading pleasure; not exhaustive by any means) Arthurian legends, baseball, brain/mind link, bread baking, California, cats, cross-stitch, depth psychology, dream landscapes, edges, fat, feminism, gender, geology, ghost stories, God, grief, herbs, history of war, home, intentional communities, labyrinths, landscape, mythology, nanotechnology, nanowrimo, occasionally getting enough sleep, old houses, overdyed silk, psychology, PTSD, publishing, reading, rebellion, religion, ritual, rocks, sacramental theology, sacred places, semiotics, soapmaking, textiles, theology, trees, true crime, used book stores, vampires, Victorian era, writing, writing the disaster.

stuff: Books. Things with sentimental value. I never threw anything away until I moved out here, and I'm still wading through boxes.

lit: Almost any genre – but it must be well-written.

dislikes/allergies: Not the same thing at all. (That wasn't what I meant at all.)

Dislikes: Sloppy craftsmanship. The refusal to see, grow, think, or feel. Emotional manipulation and nonconsensual power games.

Allergies: Damn near everything.

OK, now I'm writing.

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