The Letter Project

August 30, 2009

Special Delivery (18)

Filed under: Letters — Theresa Williams @ 12:18 am
Tags: ,

In this letter, Lauren, of The Letter Project, responds to my last letter to her (#17).  She assures me that, despite some doubts about her situation,  her creative life is in tact:  “the world is incredible! How could I not be a writer? I need to spin these experiences into some kind of word-weaving, or explode.” –TW

mid-August  09

Dear Theresa,

When I received your letter I read it right away, standing at my window, reading very fast. Then I put it back in the envelope and put the envelope in my desk.

It’s just that when I finished reading it I felt very warm and whole –a smile spread across my face. So many good words. I think I had to put them away for a little while, keep from… getting lost, I suppose, in the wholeness/closeness I felt.

See, when I spend time away from people –friends, family, Ryan even –I find myself growing distant, scabbed over, callous. It’s easier to stop thinking about people when they aren’t there physically in front of me. Maybe a self-protecting impulse, to fend off sadness. Maybe a flaw in my character.

Sometimes even phone calls aren’t enough; phone speakers drain so much from familiar voices, make them alien.

So written words really get me. The knowledge that somebody cared enough to set aside time for me, wanted to communicate, trusts me with their thoughts. It means a lot to me –so thank you, so much!

In terms of my writing: I’m proud of how I haven’t faltered. Since May I’ve written seventy-odd pieces, some crap, some not. I’m experimenting, I’m developing my voice, my imagination.

Generally I trust writing and shake off my doubts. Doubts creep up, though, especially when I read great poems (I’ve been reading more poetry than I ever have) –some pieces inspire me, but others bring on a cold, shaky feeling. I fear I won’t ever attain… oh, what to call it? Power? That stirring in your heart when you read something exceptional. That opening of your imagination. God, it’s amazing! And I fear that I won’t stir anyone. 

But this writing business isn’t about pleasing other people, is it. More of a personal journey, an exploration. Risky stuff, and difficult.
O, I do love it.

So. This limbo is not a bad state for me, don’t worry about me. This summer is a helluva lot better than last summer, even last winter. My keel is even(er). I can deal with the intermittent loneliness (though often I have more company than I need). I’m doing my best to deal with being away from Ryan; we talk every night and visit when we can.
How I see it: I’m a boat crashing on to some destination, fragile and full of mysterious cargo. There’s some holes in my hull, but I’m staying afloat. I’m well. I’ve got birds of good omen straggling up, winging their way towards me.

Plus, summer brings introspection. Well, any season does, but I have a lot of time to myself now, when I can flatten out the crumpled polaroids of my interior life. My journal is good for that. I try to have a non-multitasking moment every day, too, where I go outside and simply take in the scene. A couple weeks ago I was crossing the train tracks on Ridge Street. There were these drying weeds, color of sand and rust, with the grey corrugated metal of the warehouse behind them, the gold afternoon light on everything. Wish I’d had a camera then.

And a few days ago I saw this large dead cicada in my backyard… watched it fade from green to brown. Nothing ate at it. Perfect husk.

And the day after that I had the most blissful plum while sitting outside in the still, dusk heat, insects rattling around me, birds shrilling and darting around…

The world is incredible! How could I not be a writer? I need to spin these experiences into some kind of word-weaving, or explode. 

All summer I’ve been thinking of something that Goethe wrote (in a letter!): “Everything is forcing itself upon me… everything comes to meet me…”

I love that feeling! Openness to the world.

Anyway. Life is progressing in some direction(s). Eventually I’ll be back in school, doing the academic thing again, but for now I can be a little bit of a wild animal, foraging and scuffling and living without a set time-line. And that is good, for now.

All for now. Love to you.

ps. I have read “Journey to the Interior,” but think I’ll have to read it again. Been awhile.

Also I have a children’s book that was my father’s –Little Pictures of Japan, I think it’s called. Forties’ era illustrations accompanying Basho poems. I don’t think any of them are lineated as haiku, though; heaven knows who translated them, back then. I’ll have to show it to you sometime.

pps. Uber excited for the Microlettes.


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