write what inspires you

// Sunday, March 15, 2015
sunset in big sur, october 2013

I recently read an excellent post (discovered via where my heart resides‘s Facebook page) about seeing the beauty in what you have, about finding inspiration from others instead of discontent from the comparison between their lives/moments versus yours, and it reminded me of back when I used to write creatively, back when words were pretty things to paint with, to make art with and hope that someone would read it the same way, hear it in the voice I meant to convey, so that the commas were pauses and stops and hidden thoughts, so that the repetition was something more, something magic.

I want to write like that again.  I want others to feel, and I want to feel, rereading my writing (in that limited way that you can, when it’s your writing and not something you’d never thought to phrase that way), the way I just felt reading about apple slices and comparisons and forgetting the here for the there. Because there are so many things expressed in that post that I have thought in far less eloquent terms; if I could write something half as pretty as that post, I would be happy. Things like this secondary opening, with the emphasized line about moving out of the way, which subtly becomes a refrain:

The second happens, for me, in another manner entirely. It’s hopping on my phone to Google a recipe in the grocery store and I find myself habitually opening Instagram – oh, I’m sorry, I’m totally in your way, let me move over here by the oranges – and gracious, that stir fry photo she just posted looks way better than the sauteed kale I’d planned for, and yes, I have snap peas at home, maybe I should pick up some water chestnuts and sesame oil?

Except that, most times, it’s not about stir fry at all.

It makes me think of that poem about oranges, that isn’t about oranges at all except that it is. But (after a decent amount of Googling, because “I titled it ORANGES” was not exclusively a line in that poem…), what I am really referring to is the poem Why I Am Not A Painter by Frank O’Hara, and not actually a real poem about oranges, and I didn’t remember that, instead I remembered the lines that resonated with me from the poem:

Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven’t mentioned
orange yet. It’s twelve poems, I call

There’s something to be said for the fact that I until just now I had no conscious recollection of what that poem was called, or who wrote it, but I talked about painting with words. That’s what I want to get back to: the place where everything blends and blurs together and fiction as reality just as much as reality is fiction.

I wrote a lot of words about how a dinner party inspired me, but what I forgot about is just how much words inspire me and how much the written words of others can serve as a catalyst to ignite thoughts you didn’t even know you had. I forgot how much a gorgeous standalone piece of writing doesn’t need the context of the author: I’m not familiar with Design for Mankind at all, other than reading that one post. And I’d forgotten how that can come to be, how a piece of writing can just click. So this is my way of encouraging you, of asking you, to write what inspires you. Because wonderful pieces of writing can grow up and out from that place.

This weekend has been all about spring cleaning, about organizing and starting fresh so that things – and ideas – don’t get buried in clutter or winter dust but instead come back into the daylight. I’ve dusted every nook and cranny of my room and swapped out my warm and cozy plaid flannel duvet cover for my less warm but more cheerful ivory floral spring/summer one. The weather app on my phone might say that we’re getting snow squalls this afternoon (?!!), but I’m ready to welcome spring with open arms. Today is for writing (and a few errands and the last bits of cleaning I have left), for appreciating that spring is only five days away.

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