Friday, 20 July 2007

The Muse Hovers Near

Maybe it's because July is my favorite month of the year. Maybe because progress is finally happening on the house, so my mind is eased a little (even thought the pellet furnace and under-floor heating system is going to cost almost 5,000 euro! Yikes!) Or perhaps it's the simultaneous arrival at our place of three editions of the New York Times AND a New Yorker issue of rare excellence. Or maybe it was the afternoon I spent last week chasing down a news story for the Post-Gazette. (it didn't go anywhere, but I had a lot of fun!)

For whatever reason, a really delicious and long-absent sensation is moving over me: I think I am going to Write Something.

The Writing sensation has never been terribly omnipresent, even in the years when I wrote news for a living. But when it does move in, it's like an intoxication. I become useless at other pursuits save the contemplative. I walk or sit, and think and consider. I take notes and make outlines and stop in the middle of conversations because some little detail or word or memory or color suddenly completely sucks up all my attention. I prepare myself. I read and re-read things: old notebooks or diaries, a collection of essays and poems and post cards accumulated over the years. Some are serious: Joseph Mitchell's "Up in the Old Hotel" always does it for me, as well as poems by Rilke and Roethke, and a few old emails from friends in faraway places. And the Modern Jazz Quartet.

All this is usually my way of circling around some particular subject or event or story line that's slowly taken shape in the last week or month, something or someone particularly piquant or fascinating. It used to be news stories that did that, or a snippet of conversation overheard. One time it was a song on the radio combined with the sound of wind in the trees, as heard from behind the wheel of a top-down convertible going 50 mph. (someday I'm getting me another rag-top roadster. I promised myself that.)

I realize that right here among us we have a character of remarkable depth and richness and texture, someone whose reality truly is stranger than any fiction I could conjure up. It's almost ready-made, really... all I have to do is re-read everything me and Paddy have written in the past year or so, and mix in some hindsight, and have a glass of wine maybe, and set this thing to spinning... I've got no idea what will become of it, but at least I'll be off the streets for a day or two.

So, if I neglect my blogging you'll know that is a good thing, really. Because when I'm really Writing it's like I've fallen in love, or I have a new baby, or I'm on a big winning streak at the horse races. I'm probably working my tail off, but I'm having the time of my life. There's nothing in the world like it!

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