Thursday, September 13, 2007

THROUGH THE GLASS MOUNTAIN



from Q and A: Where do you get your ideas? Answer #1
by Julianna Baggott

I'm afraid of truth. Once it's given
it becomes a gift.
Memory cannot retain pure memory
once spoken...
I'd prefer to give away the replica, not a bit of the soul,
to turn the truth in my hand like a globed village snow-blurred.

But poetry demands the soul, and once you give it over, how easy
it becomes, an addiction to something like peeling fruit,
a simple disease, because ideas are simple.

You don't think, you listen. In the morning, I walk outside.
At once, the soul heaves and parts. Everything is talking,
even the rooted irises tonguing air.

--Compulsions of Silkworms and Bees, 2007--


This morning, I got out of bed and stumbled to the kitchen...pot of tea--check, journal--check, Pilot Precise V7 Rolling Ball pen (black ink)--check. The children still dreaming away, M. already traveling North up I-95 and that humming energy rolling through me to get it all down, how Rosie looked back once over her shoulder walking into school yesterday and I could suddenly see her fully grown--with that same confidence at departing from my regular company. I wanted to note how my son burst from my car when given the option to ride in his father's during a routine errand--the joy on his face and his casual exclamation, "It's a boy thing, Ma," as he slammed the passenger door shut. My oldest went straight to a friend's after school, for a homework session, dinner, and sharing secrets I am no longer privy to. This could be an opportunity for fear to creep in about the flight of time...I am getting older, they are getting older, days blur in constant forward momentum. Quite literally, it feels right now, blink and I'll miss everything. There might be perfect grounds for getting scared about it, that is, if I hadn't been writing down every single phase of our lives together thus far and realized I have felt this way before. I have worried about forgetting--but, with my journal, I remember. I record...I bear witness to the small things.

In addition, for the "larger than life" things, I've revisited a book I'd abandoned in my reading...and finally at Week 12, the last chapter--my reward for persisting came with one perfect passage to describe where I have been creatively this past summer: the glass-mountain. Cameron says, "Every project has a glass-mountain phase, a period when nothing is going well enough because the work is simply so hard...This delicate and treacherous stage, the glass mountain of creative doubt, is a slippery slope we face alone...Our glass mountain is our glass mountain, and, like most fairy tales, it is invisible to others, but very real to us." For me, rather than merely climb up this personal-Everest, what has worked is also looking through it and seeing that there is, in fact, another side. That, and catching my own reflection in the glass itself and finding myself there. I am in this book I have been writing. Not as any one character, setup, or situation...but as a mirror of how things look from here to me. I am over the fears I had about what will ultimately become of this work now because it is simply another form of short-hand about my own life: what fascinated me? What characters rose up through these years of finding my voice as a writer? Though it is veiled by the form of fiction--I am still, just as I always have been, bearing witness.

Baggott's poem says "poetry demands the soul", which I might revise to "art demands the soul". Whether we are painting, writing a novel, creating jewelry, taking photographs, raising a child, baking an apple pie, or loving someone without reservation--it is a form of art, and, to do it well means to invest our entire soul. I am only now just understanding this. Until I come through the glass mountain stage of Migration Summer, my nearly-completed novel, other aspects of my life may have to be pruned back a bit to prepare for this season of harvest. This might mean I am a bit more scarce in my online presence, but I come back to blogging again and again because it is another way for me to chronicle my obsessions and curiosities...another small way to honor the "simple ideas" I'm mulling over. I'm not actually making this a "blogging break" as I've done in the past--but, what you will be getting from me here instead will be "postcards from glass mountain"...photos and postcard-sized writing-glimpses at where my life is taking me. "I am afraid of the truth" Baggott reveals above...and I am afraid to switch up my blogging habits as I'm grateful for this space where my thoughts meet up with yours, all of you, reading along. Call and response, give and take--I have gained much by keeping this dialogue going these past years. But, my mountain is calling and I plan to "not think, but listen" because as Brenda Ueland wisely counseled "I have learned...inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic, striving, but it comes to us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness."
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19 Comments:

Anonymous acumamakiki said...

i can't wait for you to see yourself when you come to the other side of this glass mountain my dear friend, you will be amazed as i already am. much love honey. xoxo

3:37 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

I will be here. And i wait for the gift of that book you are going to give us. A signed copy, though. ;)

I think I should do the same, so I can better dive into the pool of what I am writing. I don't want it to fade, before I fully make it come alive in technicolor.

:)

4:04 PM  
Blogger Nessie Noodle said...

omygosh woman, your words.

4:16 PM  
Blogger polka dot witch said...

you always show me something new! a piece of other writers, a piece of the world, a piece of you!

9:54 PM  
Anonymous gautami tripathy said...

Your posts are so refreshing to read. Give so much to to think about.

10:15 PM  
Blogger tumblewords said...

Lovely work, words, wisdoms. The poem is fantastic and then followed by your wonderful thoughts makes this a fine stop! Thanks.

11:53 PM  
Blogger angela said...

i was just thinking along these "time" lines. one of my favorite things about being out here is finding that somewhere someone is running parallel to you, makes me smile everytime.
looking forward to your "postcards" :)

7:59 AM  
Anonymous kimberley said...

Your words are always thought provoking, inspiring and beautiful. But most of all I appreciate their sincerity.

Bright Blessings!

10:49 AM  
Blogger LJCohen said...

Wow--the glass mountain--what an amazing metaphor. May you scale it with grace.

12:07 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

Beautiful Delia! Don't fear them not needing you it just changes. They will never forget or stop needing mommy. XXOO

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Frida said...

Oh my. Susannah told me to come visit you when I visited her recently and now I can see why. That is the most extraordinary (simple, true and going straight into my veins) thing I've read in a long time.

inspiration "comes to us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness". Thank you for reminding me.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Patry Francis said...

I could just REST in this post--if that makes any sense. It speaks to me so clearly, and addresses so many of my own concerns right now. And besides that, it is such a lovely place to be, to linger, to rest.

P.S. I can't wait to read your novel.

11:34 PM  
Blogger Ali la Loca said...

Oh, D.

You make me sigh - in a good way - every time I visit your blog. What beautiful words, what nostalgia...

2:27 AM  
Blogger Graciel said...

I have only just now finished the postcard project Susannah initiated. Because inspiration came to me slowly...I loved the tarot-postcard you sent. 10 of cups/9 of pentacles/ queen of staffs. Thank you for that confirmation.

You, like Susannah, are a Priestess of Words. As my own glass mountain is still being traversed, I will return here for more inspiration.

8:08 PM  
Blogger adi said...

beautiful, beauty full
i loved it word by word
have blogrolled you on my blog
hope you'll visit delhidreams soon :)

1:41 AM  
Blogger Trenting said...

Very Very cool...

Very awesomer read..

1:14 PM  
Blogger Georgia said...

Oh!!! Thank you for writing this... I have been dealing with my own glass mountain and REALLY really needed to read this today as it put it all in perspective for me.

xoxo

4:27 PM  
Blogger daisies said...

i keep coming back and reading this, letting it sit inside me, so much beautiful truth, so much that speaks to me ... thank you beautiful astounding wonderfully talented and giving you ... xoxox

7:50 PM  
Blogger Left-handed Trees... said...

These were some of the kindest comments...I keep coming back and reading them--thank you!
Love,
D.

7:02 AM  

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