Search This Blog

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Jonathan Franzen: Great American Novelist

     While pedaling at the gym this morning I read the following article in Time. It's the cover story this week. I confess I haven't been much of a fan of Franzen, but am definitely rethinking that stance. There were a number of things mentioned in the article that really hit home with me as a struggling writer. Particularly his position on getting work done; he enters, at 7 am each day, an empty rented office he has removed all distractions from including any possible link to the Internet. The Kirkegardian observations about busyness as avoidance of not just work, but unpleasant real life realities, was a bit of an eye-opening slap upside the head for me.  I am an extremely busy person who gets far too little writing done.
     I attach a link to the article here for you in case you too are in the mood for a bit of self-flagellation.

Jonathan Franzen: Great American Novelist

Monday, August 16, 2010

Barflies, rejoice: It's Charles Bukowski's birthday

It's Bukowski's birthday, so I'm sharing two links related to writing; the first about him, the second by him. Each a little gift for us to unwrap. This should be done with a glass of wine, and a toast to Chuck.

Barflies, rejoice: It's Charles Bukowski's birthday

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Celia and Me

     Oh man. Rough week. My firstborn had minor surgery, moved off to college, and some type of evil virus has invaded my lap top. I thought for awhile I might have lost a great deal of my work. A writer's nightmare. But after a few hours of excavation I think we have retrieved most of it. Haven't been able to save the laptop yet. It needs professional help.   
     Friday night I did get to go out, and attended a play. Well, more of an educational one woman show really. It was at a small theatre in my neighborhood and it was about the life of Celia Thaxter. I was excited to see this show because Celia has been a strong influence on me, and I was studying her work long before I made the decision to become a writer. Here is one of her poems, followed by one I wrote about her influence a couple of years ago.

by: Celia Thaxter (1835-1894)
      HE lilies clustered fair and tall;
      I stood outside the garden wall;
      I saw her light robe glimmering through
      The fragrant evening's dusk and dew.
      She stopped above the lilies pale;
      Up the clear east the moon did sail;
      I saw her bend her lovely head
      O'er her rich roses blushing red.
      Her slender hand the flowers caressed,
      Her touch the unconscious blossoms blessed;
      The rose against her perfumed palm
      Leaned its soft cheek in blissful calm.
      I would have given my soul to be
      That rose she touched so tenderly!
      I stood alone, outside the gate,
      And knew that life was desolate. 

      Crossing Over

      I remember my other life
      though it seems like a dream
      about another woman;
      when I was Goody Gordon.
      We bought the rundown
      little white house in Maine,
      as close to a seaside cottage
      as we could manage.

      On moving in day
      I nursed the the first baby
      in the backyard and happily
      planned our forever there.

      And for the next decade
      I tried so very hard
      to be Donna Reed
      making a wonderful life.
      But it was Celia Thaxter
      who kept calling to me;
      come and smell the sea rose,
      tickle your toes in the tidal tow.
      Dance away dainty days of
      rock hopping and inking poems
      in our prettiest penmanship
      but I ignored her until
      we became riddled with tumors
      the wallpaper unfurled, and
      our little house and the twin towers
      caved into smoky soot and sadness

      and there just wasn't any point
      in being Goody Gordon anymore.
      So at last I lay you and Donna to rest
      and took Celia's slender hand.

      Skirts flapping in the chilly winds
      we walk the beach, creating
      a new imperfect life that is
      filled with wonder.