Thursday, November 30, 2006

If These Walls Could Talk...

...they would tell you the story of my life. How one July in the mid-1970's, a baby girl with a thicket of dark hair, joined two experienced 30-something parents and two older siblings in the nondescript white house on the low rise of a hill. They'd tell you about her rocking in her mother's arms in the tiny sun-drenched nursery--how she would become the mother rocking a series of babies all her own in the same space.

These walls would know too much of me, living within them as I have for twenty-nine of my thirty-one years. Truly, this house has become a second skin--a curved whelk I've unintentionally worn on my back for a lifetime. The wall's stories reverberate--my girlhood memories amplify my children's in my ear and it is deafening and comforting all at once--a fractured lullaby. An entire family came here--by chance, choice, or birth--and all have gone from this place by circumstance, opportunity, or death...

except for me.

I have become mother in the house where I was once child. With plans in motion for this to change within the next couple of years, I sense these walls going quiet. Keeping their thoughts to themselves...the past just existing without the pressing need to drown out the new stories being written here. A poem by Jeffrey McDaniel echoes this gathering silence:

The Quiet World

In an effort to get people to look
into each other's eyes more,
and also to appease the mutes,
the government has decided
to allot each person exactly a hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.

When the phone rings, I put it to my ear
without saying hello. In the restaurant
I point at chicken noodle soup.
I am adjusting to the new way.

Late at night, I call my long distance lover,
proudly I say I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.

When she doesn't respond,
I know she's used up all her words,
so I slowly whisper I love you
thirty two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line
and listen to each other breathe.

--Jeffrey McDaniel--


November falls away...for me, a month plagued by illness and buffered with friendship and family. Of shifting creative tides from gently eroded low to wild cascading high. My pen is in command of me again...over 35,000 words written for my new manuscript. Six new poems composed. A half dozen reviews penned for upcoming magazine issues. An even thirty journal entries of three pages each...dozens of emails for work and for enjoyment. Four letters hand-drawn and cast into the mailbox, like bottles into the sea. Seventy hand-written pages filled in my random notebook where my creative seeds are often initially sown. Five notes jotted quickly and sloppily to the children's school. Countless comments made on students' papers and midterm exams. A dozen posts here in this month.

December first, for me, will begin a month of observed written-silence for this blog. As I gratefully sink ever deeper into my current projects this fresh Winter season, I will divert my words and energies in the direction of my still empty notebook pages. But, I will continue to post here--every day, in fact, a feat I have never attempted before. Following the lead of the pioneers I stumbled across here (and subsequently) here--though it will be for my own creative reasons--I will be offering a photograph each evening to share and express a moment from my day. I am an unskilled photographer, budding, awkward, still unsure of myself. However, in many ways, being vulnerable with a camera, giving a visual access to my life feels deeply personal to me. A weekly self-portraits will likely still appear...Poetry may lure me in with its lyrical sirens song, and if it does--Thursday will be my weekly wildcard, because some things demand expression and words are my truest medium.

If these walls could talk--they would...but, by their silence they form the structure, they are the blank slate, and they might just outlast us all...
Link

20 Comments:

Blogger melba said...

When you write it all out it seems like so much, doesn't it? Be proud. Hold your head high.
I am glad there will be more!
XOXO,
melba

10:16 PM  
Blogger madd said...

I loved this post..all of it, every single wonderful word..thank you for sharing this..m

10:24 PM  
Blogger katie said...

stumbled upon your post through misty's blog...

such a beautiful post, what a gift you have with words. i can't imagine how it would feel to live in the house of my childhood, it was so interesting hearing about how it felt for you.

mothering magazine was my favorite when i was raising the girls

11:14 PM  
Blogger deirdre said...

Delia, your words feed me, time and again. I'm grateful. The volume of writing you've done in this last month is staggering and inspiring. I'll miss your writing in December, but will look forward to pictures and the occasional written post.

12:43 AM  
Blogger Deb R said...

I loved that poem SO much. It's the first time I'd ever seen it.

I've been admiring Vanessa's photo posts, but I'm not sure I could stand to go wordless for a month. I'll look forward to seeing your adventure in expressing yourself through photos in December!

12:59 AM  
Blogger Remiman said...

L-HT,
It seems to me that you have found yourself in words. And, you are very good at it.
I'm tempted to try "allot each person exactly a hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day."
Stop a lot of idle chatter.
rel

4:10 AM  
Blogger Becoming Amethyst said...

Delia, this weekend I am helping my sister move back into the house that we spent a large part of our childhood being raised in, so I will be thinking a lot about you (as usual ;-)) as I am lifting furniture through those old doors again. I can't wait to watch your month unfold in pictures, it is an utterly magnificent idea. Save a few words for me though, won't you!
love x x x x x

5:31 AM  
Blogger gkgirl said...

wow...you were really on a roll
with your words...every word in it...

and that poem.
that poem.
thanks for sharing that.
:)

6:39 AM  
Blogger b/sistersshoes said...

When you settle into a house, you don't think about the next people who would love it there.

happy friday
love for the weekend
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox darlene

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Dennis said...

This was wonderful in every way. The poem was an extra treat! Thanks for sharing that gem.

1:59 PM  
Blogger paris parfait said...

Sounds like you've been very busy writing - good for you! It is a gift to read your words and I'm glad you'll be posting daily. As for photography, I'm an amateur too, but it doesn't stop me from trying!

3:11 PM  
Blogger blackdaisies said...

my head is reeling with all the wonder of your words, the house you grew and live, the expressivenss of your thoughts, that gorgeous poem and everything you are doing ...

... i look forward to your photography :)

4:24 PM  
Blogger la vie en rose said...

i love the poem you shared with us. i just love the way it ended.

i bet you'll be able to see a big differenct in your photography from the first of the month to the last. practice really is a very important key.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Patry Francis said...

Congratulations on your super-productive November!

p.s. Loved reading about your house, and how it contains so much of you.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Left-handed Trees... said...

Thank you all for your positive feedback...I hope you will follow me on my visual-blogging journey for the month of December! Regular posts just laden-down with words will return again after that...
--D.--

10:43 PM  
Anonymous acumamakiki said...

this will be exciting even though i'll miss your words.

6:49 PM  
Blogger ren.kat said...

I'm so impressed with how productive you are! (and I hope that your stomach heals quickly) What a neat idea for a month-long blogging project. I may just act on that inspiration. . .

Such a rich post. Having lived in 42 houses and a number of spare rooms, couches and walk-in closets, I'm enthralled with what your walls can say.

12:03 PM  
Blogger Nessie Noodle said...

I am so excited that you are taking this journey... it is really difficult, and I yet, really really fun to do. I have had a wonderful time trying to pick a moment each day to post. And it is great to read what others are guess is going on in my world. I hope some of the photos speak for themeselves, other are supposed to leave you guess.

Good luck! I will stop by and cheer you on~

8:46 PM  
Blogger The Whole Self said...

i look forward to seeing more of your gorgeous photos!

11:17 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

Wow, you have done so much! I am inspired.

I have been feeling so zapped of creative energy...And feeling like I need to breath a little, and not just write and post crap. This is a great idea. I may do it, too!

I think your pictures are so good. I look forward to seeing them.

:)

1:22 PM  

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