Monday, March 5, 2012

When the morning voices are silent

“If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans. I get out of bed to trap them before they escape.”
Ray Bradbury

“Self-consciousness is the enemy of all art, be it acting, writing, painting, or living itself, which is the greatest art of all.”
Ray Bradbury

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WHATEVER THIS IS, it is not a 'dry' spell.  It may be an altered state, like being hit with soft lightning.  Nothing is singed but the circuits seem fried.  Not one thing works the way it did even a few weeks ago; small domestic tasks, creative intentions, simply staying awake, all are beyond my capability.  Do powerful solar flares turn humans, or some of us, into sleepwalkers whose arms and legs have become almost too heavy to lift?  I guess that would produce sleepshufflers.  More accurately, sleepsitters.  Merely considering such a notion probably condemns me to eating lunch at the crop circle table.

Last week I thought I'd caught the end of a thread about a correlation between a lightness of mind - being open and available for enlightenment -  and a perceived greater density of body, slowed movement, reluctant joints, gravity's target demographic.  It would not be shaped into a coherent, familiar form and I thought it needed a new shape, a fresh voice, a reduced self-consciousness to emerge as anything other than half-baked.  It still sits in draft form, abandoned after I tried to force the momentary weightlessness of the entrechat - or an old favorite, jumping as an elevator starts to descend - into a shotgun marriage with the windows (not windmills) of my mind.  An ill-fated union or at least not one for which I had the necessary flair.

I DO stuff myself full of the morsels Mr. Bradbury lists and I know the state of wanting, working to trap what they suggest before anything escapes.   My morning voices feel short on pep, lacking conviction and seem to wonder aloud when they will be allowed to go back to their bed.  It is NOT a dry spell.  It feels more like a too-small house being taken over by too many relatives with boundary issues who didn't bring even the most essential items since they knew they could mooch off me.  I feel like I've been sleeping on the floor of the sunporch, then spending the rest of the day trying to clean the kitchen and not succumb to the vapors, though that would give me an excuse.

Mr. Bradbury, I was certain, would not suffer a whiner nor would he tolerate any excuses.  We are writers, we write.  Since this is what I have in the moment, in keeping with his ethic, this will be what I write today.  I hope tomorrow's morning voices have emerged from their anaesthesia.  I hope my missing parts will be restored.
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"The mere attempt to examine my own confusion would consume volumes."
James Agee

15 comments:

susan t. landry said...

i am inclined to be glib and ask what is worse: too many voices or none at all? but i do understand what youre saying...
for me, the too many voices tends to take a physical form; i am unable to sit down...i literally feel tugged in too many directions at once.

(btw, *huge* James Agee fan, here)

Rubye Jack said...

I see no lack of voices here, only a very well-expressed mind who seems very in touch with herself. Much more so than many others.
It sounds like things are changing for you or in a bit of flux as you perceive from a different plane. Or something like that?

beth coyote said...

The Ray Bradbury quote...ain't me. Today I fell into the slough of despond, happens sometimes. I made myself write. I made myself. And that's the best I got, for now.

Donna B. said...

loved the Bradbury quotes... I seem to be crossing a desert of silence myself...wanted to stop by to say HI...been way too long...

Melissa Green said...

Dear Marylinn, clearly this is more than a dry spell, a writer's block. Whatever the malaise is, you've begun to describe it, and therein lies the beginning of your power over it.

Already you've described it as 'an altered state, like being hit with soft lighting.' This phrase encapsulates
the feeling but with the writer's sure touch, returned to you here. You have your old wit back,shaky though it may be when you write 'sleepshufflers. More accurately sleepsitters. Merely considering such a notion probably condemns me to eating luch at the crop circle table." It is all witty and wry, and though it does nothing--at the moment--to lift the body's heavy limbs and return our capacity for your normal creative capability, I think naming it will start the process of sweeping the virus out of our household altogether.

You had the thread of an idea lately, and thank God you were wise enough to put it in a Draft folder, until your strength has returned and you can write what you intended about 'enlightenment.' For now you have to be patient, and know and believe that the idea is still waiting for you , when you are ready for it.

Again, there is wry humor in describing what this altered state feels like--you know you have done as Bradbury has, stuffed yourself with every conceivable nourishment, but it feels to you--and you make it vivid to us--a too small house being taken over by too may relatives with boundary issues--forgive me for chortling here--who didn't even bring the most essential items because they knew they could mooch off of you. Again, the old Marylinn is returning. And of course you would be delegated to sleeping on the sunporch, probably with no heat, and expected to put meals on the table for these ingrates and scroungers.

You are writing. You have written this to describe to us and to yourself this awful, altered state. You have stood up to Mr. Bradbury and declared that you have done all you can do--and I think you will discover, after this spell is over, that this was the beginning of how it all changed. You are a writer. And you wrote. xo

RachelVB said...

You are not alone today. Not in the least. Mr. Bradbury has been here too, I'm certain of it. Even though he claims not to. Every day is new. Every day brings new voices - small or feverish.
xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Susan - Here, on Tuesday, there DO seem to be many voices...and they were all permitted to speak. At least there were not too many choices, just enough. For today.

I fear that Agee is nearly forgotten, glad to know the fan club is bigger than I thought. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marylinn Kelly said...

Beth - A thanks to you in the Tuesday post for this comment, the "no matter what" school of writing. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Donna - We do hit those quiet patches, the trick being not to allow silence to overpower us, or not for long. Glad to see you here. I know I've been missing in many places for quite a while. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rubye - Rubye - Thank you, for I am not always certain of anything approaching clarity. It may be that this, let's call it an exercise, helped me be less stuck. Flux is a fitting word and perceiving from a different plane is always accurate. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Melissa - I can't honestly say it is malaise, though it feels that way in certain moments. I brought what I could summon to try and pin it to the mat. And by doing so, may have opened the door to a "no matter what" post on Tuesday. I wrote yesterday, I wrote today. Thank you. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rachel - Small or feverish, or both, or neither. Trying to wrangle the interior voices into a seemly shape before committing them to the page may be where I go astray. Order may be overrated. xo

Angella Lister said...

i don't think I've ever read a more precise and lyrical description of what it feels like to be creatively stuck, unable to pick apart the threads. And also to the way the body becomes involved, that too. I have been in this place. I know it well. You may be in a gathering cycle rather than a sowing one, despite this beautiful writing. Be gentle with yourself. I will try to do the same with myself. Hugs.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Angella - Thank you. There is a factor of creeping anxiety that shows up when it seems we are being kept at a distance from ourselves or our voices for too long. Learning to relax into that is a challenge. We are asked to be patient about so many things, you think it would become easier. xo