this (writing) life

little women

Hello friends! It's been awhile, a lot has happened in-between, I feel like I'm barely keeping myself afloat these days. Sometimes I'm so overwhelmed all I could do is drive somewhere beautiful so I can take pictures and forget about the craziness, if only for moment (hence the frequent updates on my Instagram). Though it doesn't go away, it does help some. As do binge-watching Sherlock and The Hollow Crown, or running to my neighborhood bookstore at 9 in the evening to pick up a book, even if I have stacks of unread ones on my nightstand.

I guess the one good thing about all this is how desperately I've been clinging on to words, as if they are my lifeline. One night, I spent hours writing down a rough sketch of my manuscript, and demolished the first chapters that I worked so hard for months. When I finally came up with a beginning chapter that I was satisfied with, it felt like I had won a battle. Of course, it's not always like this, and life is so hectic that I barely even have time to write. But I do find myself reaching for passages from books that I love, reciting poetry I know by heart, even certain phrases from prayers I memorized when I was young.

Here is a poem that especially speaks to me now. It reminds me of the main characters of the story I'm writing, of myself, and life in general:


The Writer
by Richard Wilbur
(listen to audio)


In her room at the prow of the house
Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden,
My daughter is writing a story.

I pause in the stairwell, hearing
From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys
Like a chain hauled over a gunwale.

Young as she is, the stuff
Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy:
I wish her a lucky passage.

But now it is she who pauses,
As if to reject my thought and its easy figure.
A stillness greatens, in which

The whole house seems to be thinking,
And then she is at it again with a bunched clamor
Of strokes, and again is silent.

I remember the dazed starling
Which was trapped in that very room, two years ago;
How we stole in, lifted a sash

And retreated, not to affright it;
And how for a helpless hour, through the crack of the door,
We watched the sleek, wild, dark

And iridescent creature
Batter against the brilliance, drop like a glove
To the hard floor, or the desk-top,

And wait then, humped and bloody,
For the wits to try it again; and how our spirits
Rose when, suddenly sure,

It lifted off from a chair-back,
Beating a smooth course for the right window
And clearing the sill of the world.

It is always a matter, my darling,
Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish
What I wished you before, but harder.

----

I really love the metaphor of the dazed starling in this poem, because that's how I often feel lately. But I'm also very hopeful that just like this starling, I too will find the right window, and 'clear the sill of the world'.

(Photo above is a screencap of Jo March, one of my favorite fictional characters, from the film adaptation of Little Women)

2 comments:

  1. Hi Odessa! I am catching up with blogs again - and writing again in mine. It's been too long... as always I love reading your words.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mimi! It's great to hear from you. Glad you're blogging again! xx

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