unfurlings

I recently read something by Charles Bukowski which lingered in my heart ...

“We're all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn't. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.”

At first, this made me reconsider what was really important in my daily life ... and then, more deeply, about whether the worry and overthinking about trivialities may be telling me something more, after all.

The counting of spoons being a slow-writ poem of the soul. The loom of trivia protecting us from secrets within ourselves that we can not yet tolerate.




As a writer, more and more these days I enjoy best exploring what appear to be trivialities, or non-magicalities. Which is perhaps not so helpful considering I write mostly in the fantasy genre. But I think Charles has it right, and also has it wrong. Certainly, I see in my own life that I become easily obsessed by things which really truly do not matter. On the other hand, in my obsessions I find my smallest self, my most frightened self, and if I can see past the things, the soul-markers, the warning flags - if I can see in to that self, there's a great opportunity for care and repair.

When it comes to stories, I find myself less interested in the great actions than the small ones - the way a hero touches light falling on an old photograph; the tangles of dry memories that drag a heroine's eyes closed. The trivial details, dead-end roads, pointless gestures, meaningless words. You know? All the nothings that make us so much.




Speaking of stories, I have a new pinterest page where I am collecting images which inspire or reflect my current work-in-progress.

The world is brown and gold, wind-wracked, cold, this morning. The blinds in one window are clattering like boat halyards. I hope your own day is lovely.


12 comments:

  1. Yes! I do know just what you mean! What serendipity—I've been reading Woolf's To the Lighthouse and this morning I was listening to a lecture on it. The professor remarked upon the significance with which Woolf could imbue seemingly trivial, insignificant actions. He mentioned the scene early on where the somewhat unlikeable student, Mr. Tansley, is walking with Mrs. Ramsay in the town and he offers to carry her bag. If you were to see it, the professor pointed out, you would see nothing remarkable. A young man takes a woman's bag for her. But the way Woolf writes it, oh!

    "There he stood in the parlour of the poky little house where she had taken him, waiting for her, while she went upstairs a moment to see a woman. He heard her quick step above; heard her voice cheerful, then low; looked at the mats, tea-caddies, glass shades; waited quite impatiently; looked forward eagerly to the walk home; determined to carry her bag; then heard her come out; shut a door; say they must keep the windows open and the doors shut, ask at the house for anything they wanted (she must be talking to a child) when, suddenly, in she came, stood for a moment silent (as if she had been pretending up there, and for a moment let herself be now), stood quite motionless for a moment against a picture of Queen Victoria wearing the blue ribbon of the Garter; when all at once he realised that it was this: it was this:—she was the most beautiful person he had ever seen.

    With stars in her eyes and veils in her hair, with cyclamen and wild violets—what nonsense was he thinking? She was fifty at least; she had eight children. Stepping through fields of flowers and taking to her breast buds that had broken and lambs that had fallen; with the stars in her eyes and the wind in her hair—He had hold of her bag."

    I love best the small moments that mean so much.

    (Blogger won't let me comment as Lissa. I feel so formal!)

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    1. Oh my! That really is so beautiful and affecting. I have fallen quite in love with this young man. I actually haven't read any of Woolf's books, I really must. Although perhaps not for the next couple of months or so while I myself am writing, because even that small excerpt makes me feel rather shabby and ineolquent!

      Thank you for typing all that out for me. It was such a kind thing to do considering how busy your days are. And I must admit, I blinked a few times when I saw "Melissa Wiley." I have comment security on because of tr*lling ... must take it off.

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    2. I probably just need to create an OpenID or something for myself as Lissa. This keeps happening on other blogs, too. I'm logged into Google as MW and it doggedly wants me to sign my comments that way.

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  2. I love your new pinterest page and can see how it inspires the images are beautiful - surely it is the little things in life that make up the whole. I have that Woolf book waiting to be read and after reading the passage above wonder why I waited so long to read it.

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  3. I believe I understand what you're saying, and I agree. The small things can tell so much, if we're paying attention. I love how you said it. Have a lovely day, Sarah.

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  4. And here, the sun is beating down relentlessly....

    Tessa

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  5. i think that is the magic of a quote, look at this way and it is write, look at it that way and not so much. perception of the moment..... a bit like pulling a fortune telling card.

    as for counting spoons, i had a party last week, first one since i lived here. when i counted my spoons and forks... i am missing one of each. your words made me remember.

    trivialities; the mundane can be quite poignant.

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  6. Yes to the small rather than the great. We just watched the last episode of Poldark and I am less touched by it all than I hoped to be...but there was just too much "greatness" in event after event. My favorite episode was the Christmas one, because it was full of smaller, quieter happenings. I think that's why I've enjoyed Last Tango in Halifax more (its been on just before Poldark). It is full of long conversations and simple loving looks and laughter (plenty to frustrate, too). More everyday drama, I think?

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    1. Between you and me, we just watched Poldark for the scenery and Demelza's hair (before she grew it long). The actual stories were aggravating. I wonder why no one in the tv business has appreciated there would be a market for languid stories told gently in beautiful, wild, peaceful scenery.

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  7. This is so very timely for me, after a week of encountering exactly this kind of thing:
    "The loom of trivia protecting us from secrets within ourselves that we can not yet tolerate".

    Your pinterest board is exquisite : )

    And I have to agree with both you and Lesley re Poldark. The stories were so silly and melodramatic. I was enraptured by Demelza walking through fields of wildflowers, or the evening light; or her singing whilst kneading bread. That's the stuff I wanted to watch, endlessly. x

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    1. You and me and most viewers, apparently. Oh, some women liked Poldark's hair, but mostly people just wanted to see Demelza, according to the reviews I've read :-) Eleanor Tomlinson was wonderful too in The White Queen. And what a stunning voice she has.

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