'Some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams, If you're wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn't love you any more.'
Will there really be a “Morning”? Is there such a thing as “Day”? Could I see it from the mountains If I were as tall as they?
Has it feet like Water lilies? Has it feathers like a Bird? Is it brought from famous countries Of which I have never heard?
Oh some Scholar! Oh some Sailor! Oh some Wise Men from the skies! Please to tell a little Pilgrim Where the place called “Morning” lies!
Published in 1955
AWRITERSRUMINATIONS: I have a story to go with this poem. In my sixth grade english class, we had to memorize a poem and then read it aloud from memory to the class. This was the poem I chose and it was also the beginning of my love for Emily Dickinson. In both 7th and 8th grades I did projects on her and felt an odd kinship with her reclusiveness and intensity and unconventionality. I still have a copy of her collected poems that my father bought me. I can remember the day so clearly: me taking the book to him as I had done countless times when he and my mother took me to a book store. I always picked out more than I should but he never complained. I hope to always have that book.
“To create anything is to undergo the humbling and strange experience—like a mystical visitation or spirit possession—of making something and not knowing were it comes from.”—from The Lives of the Muses by Francine Prose
I seem to write these to you often but you have asked me a few questions and I feel the need to answer them. I have not read Montaigne and did not know that he was an influence of Woolf’s. I know she was a lover of Milton and Tolstoy and even learned Russian to read the latter.
I’m thrilled to hear that you may want to contribute an essay on a writer you love. It’s so hard to choose which writer, if you wanted to do one on Nin and one on Woolf, go for it. I may end up doing more than one over time. I just like the idea of having to articulate my love for a writer and sharing my ardor with other people. I may do it more regularly because I just like writing and this tumblr has really gotten me writing on a daily basis, which I think is a great thing. I’d love to do more of these essays on different topics. If the writers go well, we could also do short pieces on painters or musicians that we love. Just a thought.
On the topic of music, you also asked me what kind I prefer and what other singers and bands I like. As you can tell on my tumblr, I am a fanatic for Tori Amos. Few come close to her power and virtuousity but I do gravitate towards other singer/songwriters like Ani Difranco, Sarah McLachlan, and Charlotte Martin. Current bands I love are Coldplay and Arcade Fire. I’m a bit on the alternative side but I also love Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison, Janis Joplin, and Led Zepplin. My tastes are diverse and I even include pop as well. Add classical and opera too. I am a profound believer in the power of music to bring people together and to provide an escape from life. I have mentioned too many people but I do love them all and many more that were not mentioned. And yet, even with this long list, nobody compares to Tori Amos. She is the ultimate artist to me. Her music moves me deeply and stimulates me and transports me and I have never connected to another musician in quite the same way.
“For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”—Anne Lamott (via wordpainting)
here’s the thing. i do not hate skinny girls. i do not think jutting hipbones are ugly or that seeing ribs is unnatural or that you are wrong or not a “real woman” or whatever because you are thin. i’m not for that kind of girl on girl hate. i don’t see it as productive at all, and i try to make…
I just had to reblog this because it needs to be read and it needs to be absorbed. I have my own body image struggles. I’ve had them since childhood and I’ll probably have them for the rest of my life but everything in this passage is true. We should not have to wait for society to deem us worthy or beautiful because we would be waiting forever. The fashion designers and magazine editors and movie directors are not going to change but we don’t have to fall for their trickery and their lies about what is acceptable. We don’t live in a movie or on magazine pages; we are not stereotypes. We are not our bodies no matter what they look like. They are part of us and they are important but there is this endless richness beneath all of that and it comes from our minds and our intellect and our passion. It is our essence; it is art and poetry and laughter and vivacity and imperfections and idiosyncracies. I’m twenty but I already see the mistakes I made as a teenager. When I see younger girls, especially the ones who don’t fit the mold, I want to tell them not to waste so many hours on self-loathing; to stop thinking everyone is judging them; to stop judging themselves and thinking they are ugly. I want to take all the love I have and lavish it on every one of them but I can’t. I’m not their mother and I’m not this world. I want to tell them to read and discover and create and dream and write and sing and watch the sun rise and forget about everything else. You are singular. You are worthy. You are enough. The saddest part is that I feel capable of giving these affirmations to them but not to myself. We still have so far to go but redheadbouquet, with just her words, is making a tiny change. I guess that’s all we can hope to do.
For all the people out there who follow me and love Tori Amos, I have just started a tumblr devoted to her. It’s called http://allabouttoriamos.tumblr.com and it’s just a place where I will post more quotes, lots of photographs and videos and anything else Tori-related and that satiates my appetite for her music and personality. If it interests you please join and share the passion. I don’t have any photos up yet because tumblr apparently only lets you upload so many pictures per day and I have hit my quota but there will be postings soon!
“Some people are afraid of what they might find if they try to analyze themselves too much, but you have to crawl into your wounds to discover where your fears are. Once the bleeding starts,the cleansing can begin.”—Tori Amos
His casket is fumed oak. Cheeks rouged, mustache and nails still growing, his thin lips rest in set mockery; as always, silence is his last word. My mother floats like the ash of a burnt note along the banks of flowers. Distant relatives whisper politely about money. Two attendants laugh to kill time in the afternoon.
At last I understand his stillness. Now his nails curl into my palms, his snarl grows in my throat. Buried all his life in his body was a lost mine that explodes in the fire.
You asked what I would recommend by Katherine Mansfield. She created a fairly slim volume of work over her lifetime—less than one hundred stories all together and never wrote a novel. I often don’t like recommending writers because we all have different tastes and someone that I like may not be to your needs. What I can tell you about are certain stories of hers that I find compelling and enriching. Those stories would be “The Garden Party,” “Bliss,” “Miss Brill,” and “A Dill Pickle.” Other stories that are considered great but that I have not read are: “The Stranger,” “The Fly,” “The Man Without a Temperament,” “Je ne parle pas francais,” “Marriage a la Mode,” “Prelude,” and “At the Bay.” The last two of which are about the same family and explore her native New Zealand. She writes of relationships between men and women, she also writes of the conflict between innocence and experience, of young women coming to terms with adulthood, and she especially explores isolation and loneliness since she herself was an invalid who lived abroad in Europe and always felt a kind of estrangement from the London literary circles to which many of her friends belonged. I have not read her entire output yet. I will be posting an essay I am writing about her soon and hope that you will consider participating in the call I made to writers yesterday to write about an author they love. I know you are a Woolf fan, just as I am. Mansfield was a contemporary of Woolf’s and even inspired a bit of jealously from her but do not expect writing that is as philosophical or voluptuous as Woolf’s. Katherine is more subtle, satirical, domestic, and subdued. She uses symbolism, impressionism, and characterization to supreme effect and though her stories may seem deceptively simplisitic there is a rich tapestry of symbols and associations underneath. I find her to be a rewarding writer but you may not. By the way, I’m going to try to read some Anais Nin soon. I know she is a favorite of yours.
“Loneliness is like sitting in an empty room and being aware of the space around you. It is a condition of separateness. Solitude is becoming one with the space around you. It is a condition of union. Loneliness is small, solitude is large. Loneliness closes in around you; solitude expands toward the infinite. Loneliness has its roots in words, in an internal conversation that nobody answers; solitude has its roots in the great silence of eternity.”—Kent Nerburn (via rootee) (via fuckyeahsolitude) (via citygypsy) (via bugseatbooks) (via booklover)
There’s been a lot of talk lately about how technology is changing our lives but not in a good way. Experts point to kids always jabbing the keys on their cell phones to send text messages to friends that are right beside of them; or how families don’t talk anymore; how we’re all reading less and have dwindling attention spans. All of these are valid arguments. We all recognize that the digital age is upon us, that we are inside of it, that we are living in ways that were inconceivable a few years ago and more advancement is sure to be on the way. The experts also often bemoan our social interaction and warn that, if we continue to communicate more and more through devices and machines, face-to-face interaction will suffer. We will be less able to engage with one another, will be more distant and detached, and awkward. I’ll concede that experiencing people through a bright screen is not the ideal relationship but maybe instead of causing our friendships to degrade they will reinforce them. Now. if a friend or lover is far away, you can talk to them more immediately and they are more readily available. Or maybe when it comes to strangers, meeting them through a blog is a better way of interacting with someone. Maybe we will see people more deeply, for what they think and feel, what they are expressing through their words, rather than the artifice of their dress or image. So often, in real life, we denigrate people with one glance. We decide who is worth our time and who is not based on arbitrary judgements about beauty and class and intelligence. The people whose blogs you read every day, the people who move you with their writing or make you feel understood, those are the same exact people you could be ignoring at the post office or the grocery store, the ones you look past and never notice. The internet is revealing our interconnectedness, our interdependence and, yes, it comes with negative aspects that need to be addressed and resolved, but it also comes with this new possiblity that was not available to the generations that came before us. Through a keyboard and a monitor and fiber optic cables we can forge lasting bonds with people all over the world; we can reach out; we can speak; we can listen and we can finally be heard. I know of nothing more monumental or revolutionary than connecting to another human being. That is real power; that is true progress and advancement.
http://musesofart.tumblr.com is inspired by a book I read last year by Francine Prose entitled “The Lives of the Muses.” It has photos of various women who have inspired the passion and creativity of artists.
About a week or so ago I got the idea of having writers who follow me write essays about a writer that they love. I shared this idea with another blogger, redheadbouquet, and she really liked the idea. So I am putting out the call to anybody who might like to participate. Choose a writer that you love and write a passionate essay about them. Post the essay on your site and then I will reblog them on my tumblr and share them with other people. If this interests you, then just let me know. Redheadbouquet is considering Sharon Olds and I’m thinking about writing of Katherine Mansfield. These are not time-sensitive essays. We all have things going on in our lives and we all write at our own pace. We may establish a certain week in which we will publish the essays but that’s about all.
TO THISISMYDANCECARD: Thank you for the words you wrote to me. I was not expecting them and I am also glad that I started following you as well and I look foward to what you will be sharing in the future. You don’t know how much I needed those words.
TO DIAS-Y-FLORES: I live in small town, USA. I live in a rural place in North Carolina. I enjoy it most of the time because I’m shy and reclusive; I love the trees and the grass and the hills and having all four seasons. But I am much more liberal and intellectual than most of the people I come in contact with and I just have a great deal of conflict with where I come from but I am working that out.
TO REVEILLERLIMAGINATION: I must quote you, I hope you do not mind. “Why do you THINK I have insomnia still? Because I hate this town and want more than anything to run until my feet hurt and I don’t know where I am anymore? Because I think to much? Because I’m a writer and this insomnia comes with it?…Because I stay up late reading or writing because it’s the only sacred time I have without the interruptions school and life throw at me?..”
I know what you are talking about and I so relate to you. I was like that in school too. I’m about to start college in a few months, hopefully, and I feel a great deal of ambivalence about it. You see I love to learn; knowledge is my main passion in life but I also like to have time to myself to read and dream and, as your name indicates, revel in the imaginary. I’ve never felt cut out for this world. I feel too sensitive. I feel it may never accept me and I may never be at ease with it. Just wanted you to know that I “get” what you’re saying. I’ve been there; I’m still there.
TO ONHERWAY: Thank you for your message. I’ve often been told that I am “wise beyond my years.” My mom calls me an old soul. It’s odd because, in many ways, I do feel old, especially intellectually, but, in other ways, I feel very inmature. I haven’t had a lot of real world experience since I live so much in my head. I suppose I’m not too old or too young, I’m somewhere in between like most of us. Just trying to find the proper balance.
I just want to say thank you to all the people who look at my blog and read the postings. You can’t know what it means to me. I really am a nobody living in the middle of nowhere and to be able to connect with people all around the world is absolutely amazing to me. I cherish your support.
I’ve been thinking of books lately; of their feel and their presence in my life; of where I’ve found them and how I’ve found them, either new or used, in great condition or somewhat delapidated. I’ve thought of the thrill I used to get in buying them for cheap prices. How I’ve depended on them and relished them and abused them. But then I see the loneliness too. I see that I own books in numbers that can never be matched by people, aquaintances, or friends. I see my isolation, my abstraction. I think of the hours I’ve spent reading instead of with my father who is gone now and ,even though I love words, I think I’d trade all of them in for him. I think I would make that exchange if it were possible. If Charon came for me, I’d offer him books instead of coins and tell him to lead me to the one man I loved most. My love for books is separate from my love for certain people but I often wonder which is stronger, more ardent, and, in my adoration for an inanimate object, what am I saying about myself, that I should love something that cannot love me back; something which asks nothing of me in return? Books are a different kind of intimate relationship. They are incomparable and I’ve always been a bit ashamed that I find in books what I cannot find in people, that I can detach so cleanly from the world around me and luxuriate in the nonexistant, the ethereal. I’ve never felt fully real, fully fleshed out and the books are partly to blame. They simultaneously take me out of myself and yet make me more self-aware and conscious. They are what I have chosen to glorify. They are my beloved, my spirituality, my religion. The knowledge, connection, and beauty they infuse into my life sustain me through each day and affirm my identity. But I can’t help but think that I turn to them because of an element that I am inherently lacking; that I’m living more in the books than in my own life, not sure which world I am in most of the time and losing too much of myself in the words of others instead of creating my own. These contradictions and idiosyncracies may never be resolved but I will accept them as a part of the wondrous mess of my existence. I’ll never give my books up. I will guard them as I would guard a human being because, in a way, they are human, they are all that human beings yearn to be; what we dream and love and despise and deny and idolize and endure. They are these living, breathing organisms that live beyond us and do not need us to survive. They provide us with continuity and constancy. They open themselves up wide to us and seem to have the capacity to hold all the nuances and prisms of our identities and dramas. When I am so often prone to thinking about what I have lost, it is books that remind me of what I still have: this life, this love, this voice, this moment.