I am not supposed to be blogging during this weekend writer’s retreat in the hills of Virginia.
Seeking Focus and Illumination
I won’t say that blogging is not “real” writing, because I do not want to be drawn and quartered. But for me, personally, blogging is a different kind of writing. I do not spend time in mental and emotional preparation; I do not write and rewrite and revise and fuss. Blogging is more like journaling with (it is to be hoped) less navel-gazing. I don’t have to make myself sit down and focus on it – I have to drag myself away from it.
This weekend I’m to be focused on my “real” writing.
This weekend is about illumination. Finding my truth through the fog of everyday life.
So when I saw the Weekly Photo Challenge was Illumination, well, I just had to tap out a few words.
This morning I was up before dawn, sitting on the porch drinking black tea and watching the light break through the mist.
My friends and I arrived at The Porches last night and sequestered ourselves for several writing hours before coming back together in the kitchen to share a supper of soup and salad. We read some of our writing aloud, about Sylvia Plath, a guy masturbating in a movie theater, and the magic of a perfect sentence.
But I’m not supposed to be writing all this. Focus, Mel. I just wanted to share my photos and a bit of illumination that I had this morning.
I wrote once about a bittersweet elemental longing I find is brought on by the calls of migrating geese and migrating trains. This morning, I found this wonderful phrase that describes it:
Divine Dissatisfaction — don’t you love it?
Here is the full quote, which actually has nothing to do with geese or trains. It is included in the welcome packet at The Porches:
“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and (will) be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
Martha Graham to Agnes DeMille
Sitting on the porch, I pondered the idea of divine dissatisfaction and gazed at the brightening horizon. I heard a flock of geese approaching, their melancholy yet hopeful calls reaching me through the fog. In the distance, I could hear a train approaching, leaving behind and going towards.
And I must get to writing! May you be illuminated!