Saturday, September 11, 2010

Exercise for the Mind...Reading and Writing despite all the distractions.

The longing to communicate, to bring the top of the hill view down to the valley and the quiet of the night into mid day, to capture the beauty of a face ever changing is evident in all man’s art and many of his technologies. But if we always, as a people, had the photographic devices we now have, perhaps the gift of verbal description would not have developed as potently in mankind’s abilities.

I suspect part of what got me thinking about this topic is that I have just started reading David Denby's Great Books where he describes his journey, at age 48, of returning to Colombia, going back to school to become a reader again. He read various journals and news but he wrote that he had no concentration for real reading. " My rhythmn had changed. I was a moviegoer, a magazine reader, a CNN- watcher. " ( p.36)

Words take using.

Reading, decoding dense pages that are unrelenting visually, except for the variation of small shapes that chisel out sounds and mound up meaning takes concentration but can yield place, person, happening, history, continuum, or even, that most proximate and yet distant terrain, an internal landscape.

Inner landscapes have no camera but the picture that emerges from the work we lay our hands to, the daily arts of living and the music, the canvases, the literature and the love we are able to make of our lives.

I am a believer in story. I hope the art of reading does not pass away.
Today I posted a piece, with pictures, no less, on my write purpose blog.  I still am not sure why I have two blogs, it's not that I believe in compartmentalizing.  I think of  "Bread on the Water" as the more playful and visual of the two spaces and so  I decided to publish the California history, early personal memory, tribute to 9-11-2001  essay there today. These thoughts which I had written this morning would be right at home on "Write Purpose,  but here they are...questionable fun, no picture, just a little jam for the bread.

Often I write in my journal  (my ink on paper journal) and think of sharing some of it here on line, but that means typing it up and then the editorial eye, the more critical eye emerges, the eye that opens up after the first draft ink has dried and the first draft out- pouring has cooled.  Lava is hot stuff, but when it cools, lava  rock is often quite light and  porous, you know, full of holes.  That's okay, I guess, holes are good for peeking through. Reading and writing is a joy and it is also work...I thank you for sharing any of it with me.


GretchenJoanna said...

This post is exercising my mind, and also making me want to look into Denby's book, which I hadn't heard of -- that I can remember, that is!


Jeannette, you are a great wordsmith. I love the way you honor words, reading and thinking in this post. I know my daughters, who are very computer savvy, still love books, paper, the hand written letter etc. I trust each generation will.

Thanks for doing your part to keep us thinking.