Saying that I haven’t been writing is not completely true, either. I have been writing quite a bit, but it has all been for myself. It’s the sharing that has felt like effort. I’ve a thick black notebook I bought myself in Oxford that’s been slowly but surely filling with diary entries and notes to myself and quotes I like and lists and all sorts of assorted other jottings, even the odd drawing. There’s a daisy from the field next to Christ Church College pressed between the pages, and an odd greeny-grey mark from where I dipped my finger in my absinthe and drew it down the page in Auvers-sur-Oise. It smells of the leather of my satchel and a faint hint of my perfume - though I may be imagining the latter. It’s the first time I’ve kept a proper diary - not a notebook, not an online journal - in a good long while.
I’ve written before about how I lost my voice for a while, and how I got it back, and how important honesty and writing are to me. The practice of keeping a diary varies for everyone, both in approach to and want of doing so. I think it works for me, not just because it means I keep a far more detailed record of my life than I had before. I am, in essence, having an extended conversation with myself in those pages. I was so so scared that I was going to stop writing completely after my father died, because I was pretty sure that if I lost it again I wouldn't have the energy to fight to get it back. Instead, words have become more of a necessity for me than ever before; they are my solace and my distraction (I have read more and faster this year than any since I was still in elementary school), but they are also my filter and the way through which I approach the world. That is, I think, a good part of the reason I have been copying so many quotes down alongside my own writings:
Why does tragedy exist? Because you are full of rage. Why are you full of rage? Because you are full of grief. — Anne Carson
I don’t want to have the terrible limitation of the person who lives only by what can be made to make sense. — Clarice Lispector
She wanted a story, a narrative; she wanted to be whole, not broken. She believed it would keep her “from flying into black bits.” — Carole Maso
Here is our problem, Sylvia: how to feel enough anger to survive and yet not to soil one’s ability to love, how to love, open oneself up, be free, and not be destroyed. Is love always a body climbing over a forbidden wall with a spotlight & machine gun on it? Is honesty always suicide? Would we all die like you, if we were honest? — Diane Wakoski
Bravery and submission are far closer than one realizes. Each is risk, each receives its own reward. — Anne Quinn
(What I most need is to record experiences, not in the order in which they took place – for that is just history – but in the order in which they first became significant for me.) — Laurence Durrell
I always planned on coming back to this blog. Sometimes you just have to let things happen organically, and it feels like time. I have such things to tell you about, too! The rest of my time in Paris, my Van Gogh pilgrimage, adventures with friends from Canada, stores for monsters, my exploits in jobhunting and what I do in between...
I'll do my best not to disappear for so often or so long any more.