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The city is quiet on this July 4th holiday; abandoned by people with other places to be. My city, now. Mine.
I have turned my seat toward the window, not the wall. This is what I see: Out the big window, the brassy silver of a hot day. The air is fuzzy; a haze of unresolved clouds to the south. Cars countable on one hand down the long length of Denver’s Lincoln Street.
Entry hall and desk to the right in the open plan space. Kitchen and dining in a counter clockwise sweep. Art everywhere, in every minute-hand tick of view. Kristina’s green painting. Beside it, a Van Gogh print with the same green; the artist’s rope-seat chair echoed in the antique chair below it. Through the door to the bedroom, an encaustic abstract in brown wax and black ink, like looking at the lath of a very old house. Paintings, small ones, faces, small angry cat, abstract; then left to a new monotype that explodes in the eye, black like Franz Kline and Motherwell, red-dotted like Adolph Gottlieb asking for attention in the space. Black chair, black coffee table, a march of street art on the slanting gallery wall behind.
Pressed to my side, little grey Amelia, full of insistent need, face on the laptop, paw resting the length of my thumb, a furry tracer of my movements on the keyboard, dozing in her crunchy purr.
Not in the writing, yet. But in the head where the writing happens; the place of molecular attention and itchy contentment. The full place. Notebook and tape recorder offering up small feasts. Quiet fluttering with thoughts, directionless, seeking a place to land. No one. No other place. Nothing missing. No regret. No need in the where I am.
These are the writer days. The best ones. A most peculiar zone of comfort that resists explanation—although I guess I’ve done exactly that.
Happy Fourth of July.
eSalon, this morning. eSalon always seems to give me ideas for posts. And this is one of them.
My dear Salonistes were, as they always are, very complimentary about the discipline with which I approach my writing. I wonder whether I deserve that praise.
For a creative—of any sort, I imagine—isolation is a double-edged gift. Alone-ness gives the writer the room to explore and the time in which to do it.
Even with the demands of a full-time job, fiction fills the spirit. Always has. The creating of characters makes one whole; it compensates for the voices that don’t raise a greeting when one returns home; the Other whose presence is a testimony to one’s days.
I am, by nature, a solitary sort, self-sufficient and self-sustaining. The music in my head is mostly always enough company for me. I guess I’ve always been that way. Those folks who can carry on relationships and still fulfill the “asks” of creativity? I am filled with admiration for them. I don’t exactly belong to that tribe. I see their campfires in the distance, but I rarely invite my self over for the weenie roast.
Another analogy: I cook for myself…elaborately, sometimes, and with great care. And I adore the act of cooking for the few, cherished others in my life. One aim, opposite poles. Are we starting to see a pattern here?
One might suggest that writing is a desire come into the light…the expression of a need for the company of others. An argument might be made for that point of view. We write to be read. We sing to be heard. We paint and dance and create poetry to draw from ourselves some unique hold upon the beauty of thought. And we do it to see it shared.
But being around others…there is, sometimes too much energy there. I can feel it, hear it, knowing that another person is near. I cannot not-know that another soul is present. I cannot not-attend to them. I tune myself to them, their mood, their thoughts. Like an emotional sponge, I soak them up. I am an open nerve ending. Can’t help it: It is my nature.
And still. I cherish my quiet. The quiet solitude that lets me create the imagined worlds in which I live. I love it…just as much as I love knowing that somewhere, sometime, I am the cherished subject of someone else’s thoughts.
P.S. Next week, my 600th post. Stay tuned…