I get it. To err is human, to forgive is divine. But you know. It wouldnít kill you to apologize.
[Santo Spirito, Firenze]
[venerdž 10 agosto 2018 ore 15:01:00] [¶]
Thinking still about being and becoming. Diventare, divenire, divinare. This from Ursula K. Le Guin, in an old post over at Brain Pickings:
But all the same, thereís something about me that doesnít change, hasnít changed, through all the remarkable, exciting, alarming, and disappointing transformations my body has gone through. There is a person there who isnít only what she looks like, and to find her and know her I have to look through, look in, look deep. Not only in space, but in time.
Not ideas about you, but you.
[Santo Spirito, Firenze]
[mercoledž 07 agosto 2018 ore 09:06:27] [¶]
The morning after you come home, the first morning in a while that you wake up back in your bed, is the last morning that you are forty. And you wake up with this line in your head:
You have been, and you have been becoming.
In the minutes between sleep and wakefulness, the line seems almost to make sense. And even the month feels like itís gathering itself. As if in all this quiet, itís becoming August.
Later in the day some other lines come (you are walking down the corridor of the house, Andrew is away at yoga, the cat is in one of her somewheres):
August in Florence. The house smells of peaches—and quiet.
Today the Poetry Foundation gives you an “August Morning” by Albert Garcia. The poem is new to you, but from the start it feels like a birthday poem. And even as you read for the first time you can feel yourself swimming up to meet it where it crests:
How do I start this day, indeed.
Afterwards you find some notes you made months ago, on an essay by Toi Derricotte. The essay is titled “A Woman Writer Aging.” (Donít worry. Itís not like it sounds.)
She talks about mining her pain. You practice saying it to yourself:
Mine my pain.
You think of Lucy Barton and what she says of pain:
...I think I know so well the pain we children clutch to our chests, how it lasts our whole lifetime, with longings so large you canít even weep. We hold it tight, we do, with each seizure of the beating heart: This is mine, this is mine, this is mine.
Back in Derricotte then, you re-read this part:
But this is the good news: Iíve worn out the past. Now I get to begin a new life. One in which, day by day, moment by moment, I make adjustments, I take care of the present, I live it as it is now.
What is that thing youíre always trying to tell the women around you, the ones who seem so resentful of wrinkles, time, truth?
Listen. You are becoming more yourself.
And then this part, when she has a beautiful and expensive dinner with a dear friend—someone she hasnít seen in ages:
We hadnít had time to sit and talk for months. It was exciting, some parts fearful as we stretched to talk about the changes...
How she talks about the friendís new beauty:
But, truly, when she walked up to our table she looked beautiful—sixty-four and she looks forty—and when she told the story about how her shoulders were released by doing yoga—she had had to always be on guard, ready for violence—I could see that was where the beauty came from. A relaxation had opened up her throat so that something like happiness was able to come up, a light that must have been trapped in her chest. She looked beautiful, not because she had added something but because she had taken something away that had been holding her back. Now she looked like herself. So I understood weíre all supposed to be beautiful.
Listen. Weíre all supposed to be beautiful.
And this too, though for different reasons, for a different country of your mind:
I was working with my young assistant today, laughing and complaining about my over-the-top commitments, and she said, also laughing, thatís the price you pay for ambition.
You pause at the word ambition. You think of Lucy Barton again, and of what she was taught to call ruthlessness.
I think of Jeremy telling me I had to be ruthless to be a writer. And I think how I did not go visit my brother and sister and my parents because I was always working on a story and there was never enough time. (But I didnít want to go either.) [...] But really, the ruthlessness, I think, comes in grabbing onto myself, in saying: This is me, and I will not go where I canít bear to go...
Of what you were taught to call selfishness.
But maybe ambition is different. This is what Derricotte says of ambition:
And it stays in my mind, that these long hours each day and through the night, for all these years, consistently performing my tasks, going down my list of commitments, responding in the most efficacious way to letters, requests, e-mails, phone calls, writing recommendations, reviews, evaluations, calling people, even for the friendliest reason, putting myself in the position to be visible, has been excruciating. I who have spent my life not only responding but, first, before responding, double-checking myself again to make sure everything is spelled right, everything sounds intelligent, everything does not reek of my stupidity or anger or want.
You who have spent your life not only responding.
[Santo Spirito, Firenze]
[venerdž 03 agosto 2018 ore 22:08:07] [¶]