The Mystery of Language

I see a relationship between impressionism, some kinds of abstract paintings, and the poetry I want to write—of just suggesting something. Giving only enough information/detail to set the readers’ imagination working. I don’t want everything spelled out. I want mystery in my poems (and my prose)—new worlds.

Here’s an example: Continue reading “The Mystery of Language”

Venice’s Magic and its Relation to Magical Realism

venice-2647436_1920I visited Venice for the first time in 1994, and it was love at first sight. It reinforced my notion that our ego consciousness is surrounded by the waters of the unconscious, and I had found a city that demonstrated this perspective. Daily life goes on while the city’s structural foundations are rooted deep in the Venetian lagoon, just as our ego, our conscious perception of ourselves, floats on the collective unconscious, the inner sea that surrounds us. Continue reading “Venice’s Magic and its Relation to Magical Realism”

Writing back to life

writer

It’s wonderful to be writing again after my daily commitment was severely interrupted by launching and marketing Fling! I felt hollow during that time, as if something vital were missing from my daily diet. What is it about writing that is so necessary for me and I’m sure for other writers?

When I sit down at my computer, or in front of a sheet of paper, another world opens up to me. It’s not unlike what I experience at night before I fall asleep. The word “fall” seems key here: during those hours, we descend into the unconscious, into another level from our surface life. While the brain may be cranking out a conglomeration of images we’ve collected throughout the day, I don’t believe that’s all we’re doing when we sleep. I think dreams are more mysterious than that explanation implies.

How do you explain the imagination and all it encompasses? How do you constrain it by rationally trying to identify its source, its ability to help us soar on the back of words and create new configurations that end up being stories or poems? You don’t. If you’re a writer, you wed memory, words, and imagination in a marriage that always surprises. And that’s what I missed during those dry days when I didn’t have access to that realm. I’m happy to be back.

The Mystery of Language

I see a relationship between impressionism, some kinds of abstract paintings, and the poetry I want to write—of just suggesting something. Giving only enough information/detail to set the readers’ imagination working. I don’t want everything spelled out. I want mystery in my poems (and my prose)—new worlds.

I love this Rothko quote: “Mark Rothko, painting his stripes in Greece, was asked: ‘Why don’t you paint our temples.’ He replied: ‘Everything I paint is a temple.’”

I’d like to think that everything I write is one. There seems some evidence for the idea that we are changed by the things we create—actually shaped by them. Ralph Ellison shares this idea. He says the novels we write create us as much as we create them.

My husband and I got into a discussion of poetry and our different approaches to it, his training being in new criticism, mine in more contemporary work. He recognizes that I’m onto something Melville was alluding to in Moby Dick—the gap between language and what it tries to depict…how language organizes and creates our way of seeing.

After this conversation, we looked at some poems I had written recently, and he was reading them differently. This time he was able to grasp what I was doing. We talked of how our training can shut us down, put blinders on us. He said, “Joseph Brodsky believes language has a life outside of us and uses the writer.

I agree. I think it’s true that in the beginning was the word. Language is absolutely mysterious in its relationship to humans and the things it touches.