From the Archives
(May 2005) PBS’s Voices and Visions series on American poets included, in its Elizabeth Bishop profile, breathtaking footage of a spot where two rivers—one with blue water and one with brown water—converge. The bird’s-eye view of this colorful convergence is incredible.
Then there’s Cambodia’s Tonie Sap River, which flows north for half the year but reverses its direction during the rainy season and flows south for six months.
When I am at the end of one emotional journey, when one way of thinking or being collapses around me and I feel the tug of strange new powerful forces that could disrupt every process that has grown around me like a habit, blend my colors into a whole new palette and change the course of my journey, I try to think about those rivers.
It is so difficult to just “go with the flow” and absorb the pull of new and powerful presences in my life, allow the colorful waters of my old self and these new forces to converge as they will.
Talking with a writer friend yesterday really made me long for the space to write. It also reminded me of just how much my commitments limit my ability to do that. It's a problem that I come home from work too brain dead or stressed or exhausted to do more than process or veg for way more nights than is acceptable to me.
I was also reminded of just how I much I miss conversations with other progressive (urban?) artists who feel as passionate about their work, about their creative process, as I do, and who have managed to make creativity a central part of their lives.
I struggle to carve out time to devote to my own creations and also struggle with the question of how I might find a way to support myself in a manner that allows me to write more.
My friend’s enthusiasm as I described the structure of my novel also reminded me that it is good, that the layers I have so carefully linked together with so many disparate threads do create a moving, tight story that I need to complete so that I can do what I hate to do most—send my creation out into the world.
My grandmother used to say “Let go, let God.” Since I think of God as a verb, a vibe, a web of connections between things and people—a verb, not a noun—I like this advice.
New connections are converging in my life and, although they’re sometimes overwhelming, they’re also providing an opportunity for me to let go of some of the old parts of me that don’t serve me. I know that I must let go and let what happens happen, that I must trust the process and my own ability to grow and change, trust my heart’s capacity to accept stunning loss and love again, but here I sit, way too often still stunned into silent paralysis as the TV blares or I stare at the walls instead of picking up the pen and spilling my guts.
But at least I’m writing here.
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