Wednesday, November 28, 2007

wednesday morning thoughts...

I got up early this morning so that I could get ready and be out of the way for the painter who is returning to finish our bathroom. Just as the coffee finished brewing he called to say he can't make it until tomorrow because of an emergency. He's a nice Italian man (like my husband, but twice as old) who has a daughter the same age and with the same name as me. These little details seem to give us an instant comfortability with each other and it makes me miss having a strong father-figure in my life. Maybe it's not fair to put it like that because, after all, I do have a father and our relationship seems to slowly be returning to some level of normal after a very sad and distant couple of years.

But where did that come from? My god, I sat down to tell you how happy I am that the painter can't make it today because that means I can use this extra time to enjoy a strong cup of Costa Rican coffee at a leisurely pace and finally update my blog. I've been missing my blog lately. Funny how that happens, ey? Sometimes I yearn to write like I used to. What I mean by that is that I have this perpetual assumption that I used to be a better writer, that I used to be better at capturing the moment, and that these days my blogging has become too much feeling and too little description. It gives me this floaty sort of feeling (yep, there's another feeling) and I find myself really hungry for the grounding factors of details and description. After all, my favorite thing in the world are the details.

Details: There is a stack of 14 books to the left of my elbow, all of which I am reading. And there are another 5 books in my bag out in the living room that I checked out from the library last night. I've been wondering what it will be like to no longer have a destination for my writing (school) and found myself in a state of elation as I sat with a stack of writing books in an odd shaped chair facing a window whose darkness reflected every ounce of excitement held within my body. The elation, which I still feel even now, stems from the notion that there is really no end to this writing life. And, even though I've known this all along, the re-realization of it never ceases to amaze me.

Oh yeah, but there I go talking about feelings again. Really, what I love most about writing is the way it causes me to associate every single little concrete thing with a memory, an experience, an emotion. Writing is endless like that. I've missed my blog because I miss being immersed in that way of thinking. Painting, on the other hand, is the moment before language, when language isn't enough. Painting is the breath you take before speaking. I only include these thoughts about painting because I have a hard time separating my writing and painting selves. It seems that, over time, I have become one, but never without the other.

On my desk I also have a bronze Dog-Buddha statue. It is a perfect combination of shininess and texture. It is unassuming and quiet, and all of the animals are attracted to it. Louis sniffs it and the cats rub up against it. I bought it a couple weeks ago to remind me to live from my center and listen to my heart. It has also become an internal logo for my web design endeavors. I look at it often and it has a strange, centering affect on me. The body sits cross-legged in meditation, but it has the head of a dog who looks much like Louis when he is at his calmest. Perhaps what I am most attracted to in this statue is the way it radiates love. Can a bronze statue radiate love? Well, if not, then it somehow manages to pull love from the center of my chest--love connected by threads made of filaments of the universe. They are the sort of threads that defy description. I could try, but words never seem to get it right. Words get it wrong, no matter which ones I use. The most profound experience I've ever had with these threads was when my great-grandmother died. I was holding her hand when it happened. The air opened up, just a sliver, and those threads slipped through. She was 105.

Anyway, the painter didn't come today and I have time to write...and this is the inside of my mind. Which leads me to wonder not only why I write, but what causes the desire to share it in this way. In one of the books I'm reading, The Business of Memory: The Art of Remembering in an Age of Forgetting, Lydia Davis asks:
“Why do I want the past (the material contained in my memory) to live on in the present? Why do I want evidence of it now? And why do I want someone else to know, too? Why am I not content to leave it where it is and remember it in solitude”
I am fascinated by these questions and, despite my best attempts, my own explanations fall short every time. I want to have a conversation with you. So tell me, what do you think?


Leah said...

i love your writing. this bit moved me:
"Painting, on the other hand, is the moment before language, when language isn't enough. Painting is the breath you take before speaking."

because i feel that so deeply when i make art. that it is before language, something that words can't touch. i struggle with expressing myself in words, but not in images. but i so appreciate your ability to express with words the things you feel!

Melba said...

I love thinking. I love thinking about thinking and why we have our thoughts. I also know some people have no interest in this. another reason why I love reading your blog. I love the way you think.

Melba said...

I tagged you to write about your Creative dreams (if you want of course!)

Olivia said...

I loved where you wrote: "The elation, which I still feel even now, stems from the notion that there is really no end to this writing life." Isn't that the most amazing thing? (I actually DO feel this now, post-NaNoWriMo; it's a brand new feeling for me. It never, ever has to end!)

I think that it is hard to separate feeling and description. And that you will drift from one to the other, sort of like in a flow.

I also think that sometimes we need a witness to things in our lives, especially for our thoughts. From someone who is interested, from someone who cares, from someone who understands. Book authors only get that when someone writes or tells them long after their book was written. Bloggers get feedback within days or hours.

I think you are an incredible writer, Jessie. Definitely the best I know who is not already published. I notice no difference in your writing, but you probably won't either, once you get in the groove after a few days of writing to your destination of choice...

I like conversations. This is great! I love the way you think, too.



laundrygirl said...

I love the hopefulness in your voice, which I can hear as I read your words. Great questions by Lydia Davis. Makes me go hmmm.... I don't know why, but I find it important to leave my mark on the world. About ten years ago I focussed on making patchwork blankets for all of the important people in my life. My thought was that if I died a sudden death (I always image myself dying unexpectedly) that these people would have something to wrap themselves in and think of me. Strange? I don't know... Now I think about making my mark by scattering my artwork all over the world. I have watched that happen as I sell little tiny pieces on etsy and mail them all over the place. Somehow, I think we all NEED to share our stories with others so that we can be witnesses for one another's lives and dreams. It seems to make life more significant somehow.

Loralee Choate said...

Personally, I love the way that you write so deeply and with such emotion.

I also love hearing about your coffee from Costa Rica. Sigh...

bella said...

I think that your writing conveys the perfect amount of feeling and detail. It takes me a while to read through your posts sometimes because I like to understand what you're saying, or maybe I just want to enjoy the way you've poured the words onto the page? It's a combination of both, I think.

Fiona said...

I'm well Jessie, just packing up my things and moving to stay with my mum for a month to save money before moving to Spain in January where I have been offered teaching work! Now time to really being the creator of my life.

I love reading about your writing process, again it reminds me of my own - you must be a Natalie Goldberg fan too. She really inspires me too!

Fiona xxx

The Dream said...

I am so with what Leah wrote ... and YOU, Miss Jessie, create through word AND paintings. You Rock!

Maddie said...


I LOVE your feelings because they
bring your words to life with
spirit and passion and very tender

And I love memory because they are
pearls of my life lived with
love and hope and dreams.

Jess ~

this line...

Painting is the breath you take before speaking.

was stunning ~ it is the
"gust" i actually feel in
your writing!

megg said...

sigh! I have MISSED YOU!! You always ALWAYS say what I either need to hear or what resonates deeply with my journey! I got goosebumps when I read the passage from that book - what incredible questions. I think I will journal about them today and see where it takes me - I'll let you know!


bee said...

i echo what everyone hear says.. what sparked for me as well, was that "painting is the moment before language"...i think that that is why i am so attracted to visual forms of expression.

let's have a fancy coffee/phone date soon...i'd love that. (well, not the phone part, but the reconnecting with you part)

Anonymous said...

So funny-- I was already to say the same as I see in the commetns above-- but am saying it anyway-- I LOVE when you write: Painting, on the other hand, is the moment before language, when language isn't enough.

So beautiful--

Maddie said...


Anonymous said...

I think you can write your ass off!
I think you write with a perfect balance of words, feelings and imagery.
I always love coming here to read your writings

Olivia said...

Did you have a birthday, Jessie!

Happy Birthday to You,
Happy Birthday to You,
Happy Birthday dear Jessie,
Happy Birthday to You!

With love,

Fiona said...

Wishing you a happy birthday!


Fiona xxx

Jessie said...

thank you for all the birthday wishes! it's actually not my birthday until december 9th. but i am not against starting the celebrations early! :) heehee! :)

misti said...

I have been walking around for two weeks feeling just about like the end of your post. Holding onto memories, wishing for them to be there again and for them to never go away. It is very suffocating at the moment.