Spent the weekend revising text for a publisher’s deadline. Now waiting to hear if the revisions worked, bracing myself for another rewrite. Ugh, ugh, ugh. But as I learned many years ago, if you can’t take criticiosm gracefully and act on it, the writing life is not for you. It isn’t up to agents or publishers to tell you what is wrong and how to fix it. But if it doesn’t work for them, something needs careful attention.
Appalled by the shootings in Arizona and thinking about hate speech, violence, paranoia, militant dysphoria, militarized societies, invisible foreign wars and untreated emotional illness or anomie. No easy answers. How can we make a difference to the societies in which we live?
The accidents of our lives bruise us into dirty individuality. —Gregory McGuire
As if overnight, the garden has bleached and dried out like brittle straw: fennel crisping, grass gone to seed, bushes overgrown and browning. A young drug addict in recovery is coming along to help me cut back the bushes, creepers and young trees on Thursday. He has a desperate look in his eyes, but I am not sure that it is desperation for sobriety. We shall see. As I get older, the lives of others become simultaneously more transparent and more mysterious, like one of the artist Joseph Cornell’s light boxes.
Found a poem by Mary Oliver that brightened my morning:
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.