Always doing

Posted on 21 August 2005

I am having trouble writing these days. I am having trouble doing everything but, as I write this, I see I am full of nonsense. I am always doing. Since I returned from Los Angeles, I have driven Rob to airport, worked many hours at store and on orders for holiday, have had the deck power-hosed, and am slowly putting our house in order. I have neglected it horribly, not for two months but for more like two years, no more – the Mexican tile floor hasn’t been waxed for three years. As there are only so many hours in the day, I have simply not had the time is my excuse. There is too much else that I want, need, to do.

Writing, for one. Bah humbug. I hate writing at the moment. I call myself a writer but I am a fraud. Oh yes, I write in my journal. I occasionally write this blog but I do nothing, nothing, toward earning a living as a writer. And I am sick of the guilt. And I am fed up with my procrastination. I am not a writer. And yet I would like to be but how to find the stamina, the resolve, the dedication, the time?

Oh yes, I have been wallowing, big fat lazy wallows, and I have to remind myself that I encourage others to wallow. I think it good for the soul. I think one must wallow till one is fed up with oneself, until one can laugh at one’s exaggerations. I am nearly at the point of laughing…

What I want most is to be excited about life and there have been times, with my writing, that I have been excited, but these moments are rare and I can’t remember the last time I felt this way. I find myself holding back, analyzing too much, not putting what I want on paper. I’m sick to nearly death of my passionless state, of my moaning and groaning, of my little white lies when someone asks me what I’m working on and I pull something from the past just not to look a fool. I’m working on nothing, nothing.

And then, last week, or was it the week before, I was at Banyan Books, exploring the discount table, and found Roger Housden’s”ten poems to change your life”. I waivered at first about buying it because I knew and loved six of the ten poems but I thought “what the hell, it’ll be nice to read someone else’s interpretation” and so I bought it. (I returned yesterday and bought three more copies.) I have just finished it and intend today to start back at the beginning for I felt something stirring inside, a small spark, a confirmation that I still have fire in me somewhere.

Long ago, when I first started writing, I wrote, much to my amazement and horror, “I spread my legs and exposed the blood of a woman.” I nearly edited the sentence; it embarrassed me so. (Thank goodness, I know a good line when I see it.) Since then I have become more outrageous (outrageous for me) with my writing. And it has become easier to write that which shocks my inner censor and my mother. (Oh will I ever grow up?) I love writing that is grounded in the body, that isn’t high brow, that is accessible to all. I love when the body is used as a metaphor for nature, writing that speaks of the body – every square inch – and reveals that attitude to body, whether it be joyful or shameful, carries over into world view.

So I am reading Housden (who I am now in love with) and he includes a poem, formerly unknown to me, by Galway Kinnell called “Last Gods” and it is so delicious and erotic, I become excited. And Housden’s explanation arouses me more. The poem, unexpected from the title, is about love making, touching, tasting, eating (oh yes… the author, according to Housden, reminds us “how entwined the acts of eating and making love are, both of them an entering and being entered.”) But it’s the simplicity of Kinnell’s language and his unabashed delight in the animal body and the mingling of two bodies, and how he aligns it to the pleasure of the gods that sets my head spinning. Listen to the beginning of the poem:

“She sits naked on a rock
a few yards out in the water.
He stands on the shore,
also naked, picking blueberries.
She calls. He turns. She opens
her legs showing him her great beauty.”

I have never heard the vulva (that Housden mistakenly calls “vagina”) being so lovingly described. The poem gets better and better and makes me wonder how I could ever think it ugly (oh I remember, my mother told me it was) and how sex is such a gift (is gift from the gods too corny?) and how we (notice the person shift) are not free enough, open enough, joyous enough.
I once wrote an essay – I have no idea where it is – about love-making and I noted that how we are sexually with another tells all about the relationship. If we are hesitant, silent, shy, agressive, in bed, we are most likely the same with the other in all aspects of the relationship. The one informs the other. I wonder about a world that is more often than not afraid to speak of the body and its “private” parts (unless pornographic), that is even ashamed of them – and unfortunately this applies to women more than men. This can’t be good for the soul.


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