Beyond FUN: A Celebration of Circles
Lisa Kenney over at Eudaemonia started a terrific discussion about the challenges so many writers face as they struggle to juggle 1) the drive to learn a new, challenging craft, 2) the desire to work at that craft as much as possible, and 3) the constant distractions and demands of everyday life. She also discusses exploring difficult personal/family issues in one’s writing, an issue I find fascinating. John Elder Robison (JER for the remainder of this post) brings up some interesting points, as do the rest of the visitors who’ve left comments on this particular post. Check out the full piece “Where My Head Is Tonight” and discussion thread here.
I find the comments sections of so many bloggers’ posts just as fascinating as the posts themselves. Over the weekend, Jen P commented on my last post that her husband has Asperger’s Syndrome like JER; when JER noted that he’d visited Jen’s husband’s blog Planet3RRY before, he added “It’s a circle, I guess,” to which Jen responded that she’s happy to be a part of the circle and added: “It feels a lot less isolating!”
So this issue of isolation came around full circle for me since 1) it’s discussed in Lisa’s recent post and 2) it was discussed by many of the moms who responded to my questions about life with children with autism. Author Patry Francis over at Simply Wait has talked about this before, too, referring to her blog and the community it created as a unique alternative to the graduate program in creative writing she’d always wanted to attend. It’s not only the feeling of being in a community that keeps so many of us blogging; for those of us who simply love to learn, blogging leads us into realms of reality we otherwise never would have experienced. It can be addicting, to be sure, which leads me back to Lisa’s original concern about simply juggling it all.
Reading is another addictive past-time. While I love to write reviews of books because the process of writing them helps me revisit what I’ve learned from a work, share it, and put it into a concrete form that helps me remember more details much more clearly, lack of time and the need to move on to new projects (and books!) often makes writing full reviews of every book I read a tempting but tricky endeavor. Not only has Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, for example, been reviewed a zillion times, it’s such a monumental work that I loved so much that it would take me a month to even write a rough draft of a worthy review. So I’ll simply link to a review I just discovered in the New York Times archive and now cherish: “The Heart’s Eternal Vow” by reclusive author Thomas Pynchon. Written when Love was first published in 1988, it’s an inspired tribute. Fair warning if you plan to read this book: some plot points I thoroughly enjoyed discovering along the way are mentioned in Pynchon’s review.
Suffice to say I found Márquez’s writing astounding and his plotting perfect. Every word he writes seems to resonate either with beauty or meaning or hidden implications that may or may not be later revealed. I love his character descriptions, which he bestows on even his most minor characters:
“She attracted his attention because of her mother-of-pearl whiteness, her happy plump women’s scent, her immense soprano’s bosom crowned by an artificial magnolia. She wore a very close-fitting black velvet dress, as black as her eager warm eyes, and her hair, caught at the nape of her neck with a gypsy comb, was blacker still. She wore pendant earrings, a matching necklace, and identical rings, shaped like sparkling roses, on several fingers. A beauty mark had been drawn with pencil on her right cheek.”
As Márquez is quoted in Pynchon’s piece: “In reality the duty of a writer—the revolutionary duty, if you will—is that of writing well.” While Gabriel Garcia Márquez makes this look easy, many of us know and appreciate just how difficult it really is. Which not only leads me to an immense appreciation for a master like Márquez, it brings me back to Lisa’s discussion of what writers do and why the hell we put ourselves through it. What a circle it is, indeed!
Circles Photo from Kensington (Ontario) Festival of Lights © 2003 Tara Kovaliv