Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Car Windows and Reverie

My car's windshield got dinged by a pebble some time ago. It started as a small crack on the passenger side. Daily, I think, it's grown a millimeter or two since the incident. Today it had a growth spurt--I think the cold outside air and the warm inside defrosting air pushed the windshield to the brink. Now the car has a crack across the entire width of the windshield. It was somewhat embarassing to be driving around Bellingham with a shoddy-looking car. And the sad thing is, it's fairly new! Luckily my insurance is taking care of some of it. But the gradual growth of the crack gave me something to obsess over.

Somehow, this all made me think of poetry. I really have no explanation as to how my mind works these days. My writing's been really episodic of late. I'll write a bit, then move on. Write a bit, move on, etc.. I do believe that it's been hard for me to buckle down with my writing because of this commuter lifestyle I'm leading at the moment. Here's the thing . . . I tend to think of myself as a "project" writer. When I have a project in mind, I hang on to that project. Some may call that writing from obsession. . . I suppose I do obsess.

But when I'm commuting every other day through traffic, much of my non-travel days are spent thinking of travel, gearing up for travel, preparing my classes which I travel to . . . Additionally, it's not easy traffic (though Meredith's got it worse). There are lots of nutso drivers traveling the strip of I-5 we negotiate. On top of that, the weather's far from ideal for driving in the dark. And yes, it's dark when I leave my house and it's dark when I get home.

Needless to say, I haven't found a place of reverie that I enjoyed the years when I was living closer to my place of employment. My preoccupations have been consumed by gas prices, 60 mile drives, the cars around me.


In other news, I have been writing, though not as spontaneously as I once have. It'll come. It'll expand. It'll crack.


Susan Allspaw Pomeroy said...

O, I'm with you 100 percent. It will come--without that faith, we might as well not be poets. My "commute" these days is all Claire, all day. Oh, and the full time job on top of full time mommy. But I have also been thinking about poetry and writing. Thank you for reminding me.

ruth-e said...

i am a project oriented obsessive writer, too, my friend. thankfully, right now i have a project and this something on which to obsess so i'm writing a lot...

what are you reading? i've been more sporadic about reading in the same way you have been about your writing. and then i finally hit the book that made me hunker down and go cover to cover--i wrote a ditty on my blog about it--and voila'. i'm reading everything through now.

maybe you just need a catalyst. a mini project, like a sonnet pair, or something, that focuses those synapes and then you'll be well on your way...

good luck w/ that commuter lifestyle, o. lv, r

Meredith Josey said...

Just, remember, Olivier, "this too shall pass."

I was just commenting to our friend Lita this morning that I missed certain aspects of life in Utica. Imagine that! As bad as it was, you have to admit that there were very good things there that we don't have where we live: close local friends, open spaces to run Jake and walk, flexibility, free time to spend with each other and with our "projects", some good restaurants, a little more ethnic diversity, freedom on the roads and highways. You're so right when you say, "it's all about the commute."

I guess we can say that this whole experience has significantly strengthened our feelings for what we like and what we don't. That's something.

Neil Aitken said...

The end of your blog entry started to remind me of Vallejo's "Black Stone Lying on a White Stone." Robert Bly's translation renders the ending like this:

These are the witnesses:
the Thursdays, and the bones of my arms,
the solitude, and the rain, and the roads. . .

For me at least, your writing resonates well with this poem.

As for reverie, I think each move we make requires us to relocate our place of reflection as well. It's not a bad thing, more of an opportunity to rediscover the world. For me, the car actually is frequently my place of reverie -- probably a result of being a Canadian used to long distance driving, or perhaps a family trait, an inborn restlessness. Whatever it is I find I have to carry a pen and some old business cards wherever I go -- something to jot down my thoughts even in the midst of traffic.