Mary Monday: I want to write with quiet hands....

farmers market flower seller, originally uploaded by pilgrimgirl.

Yesterday I started "NaNoWriMo," along with numerous other friends and every member of my family (yay!). I won't be writing a traditional novel--I'll mostly be writing on my dissertation with some essays and blogposts along the way. I already write hundreds of words per day, so this is an experiment in seeing if aiming for a particular word count is any more satisfying than my usual methods.

A few weeks ago when I was hanging out in the Tattered Cover bookstore and was overwhelmed by its vast selection, I got discouraged. Surely the world already has plenty of novels and poems and books of history...but I am moving forward with my writings anyways, all the while hoping that the universe won't begrudge me the opportunity to tell my stories.

So today's poem is about writing, as an inspiration to all of you poets and novelists out there.

An excerpt from "Everything" by Mary Oliver

I want to write with quiet hands. I
want to write while crossing fields that are
fresh with daisies and everlasting and the
ordinary grass...let them be

songs in which nothing is neglected,
not a hope, not a promise. I want to make poems
that look into the earth and the heavens
and see the unseeable. I want them to honor
both the heart of faith, and the light of the world;
the gladness that says, without any words, everything.


Elissa Minor Rust said...

Do you mean every member of your immediate family? Are your kids doing it? That is fantastic!

G said...

your family is awesome.

and, btw, I sometimes get down in a similar about my own art. I like how you put it, your own moving forward in the face of that discouragement: "hoping that the universe won't begrudge me the opportunity to tell my stories."

that works.
good luck :)

Ali Schmidt said...

thank you for your sentiments.. i have been struggling with moving my own creativity lately and seeking inspiration or the will to let go of current expectations and embrace process once again!

ECS said...

This Mary Oliver poem popped into my mind today, which I think is appropriate to share here :)

West Wind #2

You are young. So you know everything. You leap
into the boat and begin rowing.
But listen to me.

Without fanfare, without embarrassment, without
any doubt, I talk directly to your soul. Listen to me.

Lift the oars from the water, let your arms rest, and
your heart, and heart’s little intelligence, and listen to
me. There is life without love.

It is not worth a bent
penny, or a scuffed shoe. It is not worth the body of a
dead dog nine days unburied. When you hear, a mile
away and still out of sight, the churn of the water
as it begins to swirl and roil, fretting around the
sharp rocks – when you hear that unmistakable
pounding – when you feel the mist on your mouth
and sense ahead the embattlement, the long falls
plunging and steaming – then row, row for your life
toward it.

~ Mary Oliver ~

jana said...

Yes, the immediate family. John & Catgirl did it last year and this year the other 2 of us are joining in, too. :)

Thank you. Beautiful. Mary's work speaks to me on so many levels. And every time I read them I see or feel something new. I loved being on Cape Cod because it's where most of her poetry was written--I felt so close to her & her world there.

G & Ali:
You are 2 of my favorite artists. May the muse bless you both!