10/11/2005

Tonality

Ernesto noted in his blog

'No one,' Pascal once said, 'dies so poor that he does not leave something behind.' Surely it is the same with memories too - although these do not always find an heir. The novelist takes charge of this bequest, and seldom without profound melancholy.

-Walter Benjamin, The Storyteller

*****

It's been difficult of late to put into words the changes that have happened. Good changes, I'm fairly certain, but like many changes, ones that bear contemplation, which, despite what we are often lead to believe, actually takes quite a lot of energy.

But what Pascal says very much touches on the beginnings of my...motivation? Is that the word I'm looking for? The drive to write, to say something with words. An internal drive, an obsession. But an obsession without words themselves, only the compulsion to find and sew words together. I think perhaps, then, I want to create my legacy (oooo...what a big, important, ego word!), but something to be remembered by. Perhaps, then it is from being afraid to die unnoticed?

Anyway, to changes...connected with ODLP last week in classic style - classic for me, since I have this tendency to arrive places unannounced then demand/request notice. It's because I tend to seize opportunities when they present themselves, then bumble along, relying on the kindness of others. OLDP was terrifically kind with the sudden arrival of this woman he only briefly met five years ago, giving her a hug!

(Backstory - I had an afternoon appointment cancelled last minute, and rather than stay at work, I took myself to campus, drove around to find parking, parked at a meter with only 10 minutes left, walked around campus for 20 minutes trying to get change for the meter, realized ODLP's class was ending soon and didn't care about getting a ticket. And voila'!)

It was an incredibly insightful, encouraging meeting where OLDP gently pointed out that I may be an editor at a scientific non-profit, but that I wasn't really making a living; that my lament of finding very few FilAm memorists was my own call to write; that writing in fragments was the place to start writing - case in point The Book of Embraces by Eduardo Galeano (which I ordered and am now devouring, slowly, but earnestly, for it is like rich, dark chocolate - addictive but only edible in small bites). At the end of our conversation I blurted out something about needing community and a swift kick in the pants to keep writing, and he said he would be willing to give me assignments.

(It was in all a good meeting and when I returned to my car, there was no ticket, even though I was over an hour overdue. I took it as a good sign that I was where I needed to be.)

Then on Saturday I started a spiritual autobiography class with Philip Damon, a retired UH creative writing prof. I had heard about the class last Spring and was drawn to it, mostly because the notice of the class was given to me and because of Damon's ties to Hawaii. When I went to the class, though, I was blown away. On a sheet of paper at the front of the class was a grid which made parallels between the chakra system and the elements of narrative. I had never seen anything like it! Damon then went on to lecture about 2 hours on the ties between our spiritual journey and the narrative form. He tied so many loose ends for me, things I thought were disparate in my thinking/approach to spirituality and writing.

This week we work on description, and I find myself going back 9 years to that Fall when we entertained the idea of moving to Hawaii, of having our first child, of me being a full time writer. I want to write about my love of the Palouse and contrast it to how harsh I found Hawaii. How dreams somes work out well but not without great cost.

*shakes head* Tonality is that ability to hear one note and follow that note through the convolutions of a musical piece. I'm having trouble finding that one note within me today.

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