Wednesday, August 5, 2009

These Feet

To write: to try meticulously to retain something, to cause something to survive; to wrest a few precise scraps from the void as it grows, to leave somewhere a furrow, a trace, a mark, or a few lines.
-Georges Perec

A few years ago I wrote about some advice given to me by a professor when he told me: "You are what I call a pure English Major. It's not what you do, it's who you are. Which is why, in your own good time, you will land on your feet." I remember feeling completely validated at the time. I remember thinking, yes, of course; of course I can take my own time, my feet know the way and we'll get there eventually. In reality, as time moved forward, as I shuffled that thought around, I changed the sentiment from purpose to pressure, created boundaries and borders in my mind designed to articulate to those feet the right and wrong ways to land. It's tricky territory when one stops dreaming a dream and begins snipping away until it resembles rigid handbook unfurling with rules and regulations. It wasn't long before my thing, the pounding of the keys, the scrawling on the page - the writing - became a mental ritual of acceptable and not.

I can tell you what I think "good" writing is. Heck, if you step into my home, even if only for mere minutes, you are guaranteed to leave with a book in your hands. I can also tell you how I value my own written words, the hierarchy of what I commit to the page. It's an old game, the one we play with ourselves, mastering the role of critic better than any outside voice ever could, and I'm no different.

Lately though, and this could be lack of good rest, I've been easing up a bit, contemplating what it might be like to value you what I write, to value, if not the words, the moment they were working to capture, the furrow, as Perec pointed out, that those words were trying to nudge into the expanse not of nothing, but of everything.

I like to think I write in this space to carve out a notch on the tree, to make it known that I was here, that I lived it, walked around in it, danced in it a little. I write to retain the "of course" and "I never thought to put it that way" to bring the simple and unexplainable to the dinner table and make it so good it feels like dessert.

I've got some big things in the works, some projects that took their time to peer out from the dark and remind my feet that in order to land, they need leap.


TA Z. said...

I love your shoes.

and this post.

hope we have coffee soon.

TednLisa said...

I second the comment on your shoes. Awesome.