creative ramblings & reverie

Monday, January 24, 2011

Writing Spaces

Are all writings holy, because acts of creation?

image:  Torah Scroll,
Maurycy Gottlieb


The fence is nearly buried in potato-vine.  An airborne tendril of vine brushes my neck, as the weight of a bee carries it down—a kind of drowsy pendulum.  The fuzzy noise of bees tickles the ear.  I’ve brought my coffee out to the little green Parisian cafĂ© table in my inner garden behind the doghouse and sit writing a birthday card a month late to someone I once loved who’s gone to live in Baja California (where cows get in from time to time and trample his tomatoes and torment his dog). 

Having woken early with a headache and taken some Advil and gone back to sleep, I didn’t get up until what is quite late for me anymore, close to ten o’clock.  “Gone are the old sleeping-in-all-morning days,” I write, “or staying in bed half the afternoon with borrowed Verdi records and a bottle of Chianti.” 

There’s a whole list of people I ought to be writing to instead (cousins in Minnesota whose mother has just died, my friend Christian, for making me a violin recording, my Mom for a clipping on Lorca she sent), but I see the jasmine has just come into bloom, and after all these years I find I need to tell him that.  I hadn’t known jasmine until the first spring we were together, when I’d left my husband, come to Stanford.  Now it’s growing easily in my garden.

I want to tell him too about the bust of Eros that I picked up one weekend at the fun statuary shop on Highway 92 not quite to Half Moon Bay (for a display of our Carrara marble book in Chicago last year), set out in my part of the yard in response to the plaster virgin that arrived with my landlady’s new husband last summer.

There are these things that have to be written, lest they and I all disappear.

—Christie (2000)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Writing Spaces

Lewis and Clark, writing the story of the West—

image:  Copyprint of manuscript maps, courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven

This pair of maps is from a collection of manuscript field maps drafted by William Clark as the Corps descended the Columbia River and wintered on the Pacific Coast at Fort Clatsop. On the left, Clark drew a rough sketch of the mouth of the Columbia River, oriented with south at the top of the sheet. The other is one of the cruder examples of a map derived from Indian information, with Clark noting "This was given by a Clott Sopp Indn." It shows a small portion of the Pacific Coast and locates several tribes and villages.