When we are young girls we often dream of being a mermaid, as grown women we realize that shallow living holds nothing for us, it is the depths that drive us…
From Anaïs Nin’s 1950 novel, The Four-Chambered Heart, based on her life: “I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.”
The Eastport Mermaid: Photo by Pamela J. Leavey
Reading Jane Bernstein’s essay “How and Why” brought to mind my own very speculative mind and spirit that is in constant query as to the how and why’s of things. As a writer, my speculative mind and spirit causes me to look deeper into my own heart and mind, and I feel that it also grants me a strong intuitive mind that understands what is deep within other minds, connecting me to depths of humanity and life itself. Reading “How and Why,” I could identify with Bernstein’s running, in that I walk, to clear my mind and “mull” things over. (Griffin p. 11)
When I am walking outside in nature, I lose myself into the landscape that envelops me as though I am one with it. When I am walking outside in nature, I tune out any extraneous real world soundtrack and tune into the concerto of bird song or the rustle of the leaves or marsh grasses whispering in the soft breeze or perchance keening in the wicked wind. My mind becomes clear, empty in that process of immersing myself in nature and it is then that I mull, as Bernstein does when she is running. There is a space in a clear mind that creates from a point deeper, more connected to the soul, which is a vital point of connection needed to write in the first person about one’s self and life.
Jane Bernstein’s essay “How and Why” is available in Connie Griffin’s book “
The practice of reading other writers on their struggles with their craft is so helpful. All writers struggle with finding their voice, creating the right space to work in, shutting out their inner critic and getting past self-doubt. Those are just a few of the issues that writers face. As I continue to work through my own issues with writing and work to shape my first memoir, look for more posts here on Writers on Writing.
Decades ago I read through almost all of Hermann Hesse‘s novels hungry, in fact, voracious in my appetite for knowledge. That has not changed, for I still love to learn. Having spent my lifetime teaching myself a wide variety of things, I am now, finally, almost 3/4’s of my way through classes to finally get my B.A. in Creative Writing and Digital Communications at UMass Amherst University Without Walls. But that is a different story… Today it is about the river.
I have learned so much from the river. I live in the estuary region of the Merrimack River and I spend a great deal of time watching the river flow, sitting in deep contemplation, meditating on the lessons of life. Every day, the river shows me the meaning of going with the flow and being in the moment. It is in constant motion and it is the source of life. It is complex, it is simple, it is calm and it is powerful. It offers no opinions, it just is as Herman Hesse describes below…
“But he learned more from the river than Vasudeva could teach him. He learned from it continually. Above all, he learned from it how to listen with a still heart, with a waiting open soul, without passion, without desire, without judgment, without opinions.” – Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
Sunset on the Merrimack River
When I seek sanctuary from the trials and tribulations of life I spend time in nature. I walk amidst the fields and forests, along the marshes and beaches. I spend time observing nature and becoming one with it. I never cease to marvel at the sights and sounds of nature. I revel in the colors and textures I see before me. I reach out to touch the very palpable flesh of a blade of grass, a pebble or shell on the beach, the bark of a tree. What marvel is the bark of a tree for it is so many colors and textures.
Trees speak to me. They tell me of their struggles surviving in the forest or standing alone in the middle of the field. Trees share their stories with each of us, but we must be open to receive…
Ode to Trees is a lovely essay by Herman Hesse and it can be found in his book Wandering: Notes and Sketches: Continue reading
I often imagine there are faeries as I walk through the woods and fields or along the rivers and streams. The fae folk show themselves to those who believe…
“Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.”
― W.B. Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire
“Not all those who wander are lost” is a line in the poem, ‘All that is gold does not glitter,’ in J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic trilogy, The Lord of the Rings:
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king
Tolkien was one of my favorite authors in my youth, when I was discovering my love for the written word.