Being There, Being Gone

I was recently reading Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg and in it she quoted Hemingway.

“Maybe away from Paris I could write about Paris as in Paris I coudl write about Michigan. I did not know it was too early for that because I did not know Paris well enough.”   — A Moveable Feast

I found this section on “Composting” and having to take in life’s experiences rather apropos this week. I found myself struggling to write about an experience at work, only a few hours after being in the experience and I just was dumping words on the paper. I couldn’t get my voice out. I couldn’t separate myself from the pure adrenaline rush I still had going on. They say there is afterglow after sex; well adrenaline rushes have the same afterglow. It’s rather heady but killer on writing about it.

Photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha on Unsplash That’s Exactly what our pizza oven looks like. This is the brand.

This last Friday night our regular man up front was down for the count, he’d called in sick, and Chef Coffeeman was only doing a half day and Lucifer was the only chef on the line. Mr. T and I were literally dumped right into being on the line out front. I’m not kidding. It was a “well, you wanted to learn. Here you go. Either sink or swim.” There was a bit of floundering at first. Making pizzas that do not fall apart, rip, and come out looking good, is harder than it sounds. I mean, I’ve worked with all of the ingredients before, and I’ve even worked with the dough, made it a bunch too. But it’s very different when you are right there on center stage and you have to make it. But make it we did. Mr. T and I swam. Maybe it was dogpaddling at first, but swam we did.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

We got into a rhythm and a fairly decent groove. It became our dance. We were left to our own devices at one point when Lucifer had to show us a bit better how to make things work, but then he was gone and we were on our own. And when he came back at one point and looked down at what I was pulling from a 700 degree wood oven and said “that’s perfect,” well if you think I didn’t get a glow, then you don’t know me.

Supposedly our pizzas were the prettiest things that guests had seen. The servers were ecstatic we were up there (me specifically because all the ladies have thought I should be up there) and the night went well. I was solo for about an hour and a half and it was so amazing.

But the next morning, I could not write about it. I tried my darnedest but it just was being forced out. I realized I was too close to the subject. I needed to give it some time. I got the bones out and closed the notebook with a slap and a chuckle from my writing group. Dona was able to hear the start of my voice at the last third of the poem, but it needed work.

I worked Saturday, a little more on the line and by Sunday, I could gel more into the poetry. But even so, I’m still too close to the subject. It’s going to take the week, or at least days to let it settle in my mind. I keep thinking that I have to get it out now! If I don’t I’ll forget it in a flash and I’ll never get what I want to say out. I panic a lot about losing the story. It’s that feeling of an idea in your head that you spend minutes repeating it, rushing around to find paper to only not have it come out right when you finally have found a piece of scratch paper, a receipt, and a pen that finally works. It’s never as good as that first thought. I always worry that I will lose it.

I hate that feeling. It’s a feeling like I’ve missed out. Gosh, right now I feel that panic as I type. It’s a frantic feeling that makes me super agitated. I haven’t figured out how to calm that Crazy. Lucifer was good at getting me to do that sometimes, but I don’t have the luxury of Lucifer. I need a crazy calmer. I’ve always had a feeling like I’m going to miss out.

But anyways, back to being there, not being there. I need to step away from the writing subject sometimes. I always think I need to be in the season to write about it. Granted, it’s easier to remember how to write about thunderstorms when they are happening. And winter snows, and such, but sometimes I don’t need to be there to find myself in my mind’s eye, traveling to a place and being there in my head. I can sit here right now and be driving up the highway at my grandparent’s cabin, and I probably feel it more than if I were there trying to take it all in. Getting distracted by everything else.

Photo by Jordan Steranka on Unsplash This is that afterglow feeling. Right here.

Right now I can feel the rush in my blood as I finished out the night swinging pizza and feeling like this super bad-ass chef. It’s as heady as  kiss on the neck. Which I know from experience. I can actually make the adrenaline rush come back. Whew! I think I should go write about it.

Do you find yourself needing to step away from a place, situation, season, to write about it?  Tell me about it. And also, who has read A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway?  What about Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg? Have you got a review of those books? I’d love to hear it.

Kate

A Writer’s Depression

Writers have been known to have trouble with depression and yes, suicide. I think it comes with the territory. We are melancholy people to begin with, though I have to say I do have my giddy moments. But everything has a melancholy twist to it. The ying and yang of life.  The light and dark. I used to dwell much more in the light of life, and my writing reflected that, but as time goes by, I grow up, and write more, the dark has a way of infiltrating.  While I hate to admit that at times I get depressed, it’s a fact of life. From the self doubt that comes with the whole writing thing, to just general depression in life. Not enough to go and end anything, gads I’m not that desperate, and I am not mocking people that are. It is a very serious thing.

I hate to sound like one of those people that thinks they know everything, but I really do think writers struggle with the down moments in life more than other people. Maybe it’s all the thoughts jumbled together. Maybe it’s how we look at life. But there is something to be said for true writers having the down times.

For me, I can definitely say that is my issue.  It doesn’t help that my muse is 19 time zones away and it feels like a solar system or two in distance. It doesn’t help that I’m a woman and well, women always have those down times of the month. Mix that with cold weather, the frustration of where to submit one’s work, and the self doubt that “my work isn’t good enough to ever be published…”

Portrait of Virginia Woolf by George Charles B...

Portrait of Virginia Woolf by George Charles Beresford

Heck, just writing about being depressed is depressing, but come, we all know it happens. I actually started thinking about it because of a post Nathan Bransford did a couple years ago. It was more the suicide thing, but still it applies. See here  Writers and Suicide.

That being said, I’m not going to say that all depression is a bad thing due to the fact that I feel depressed writers write the most amazing things. Would Keats have written half his poetry if he had been with Fannie? And they were a happy couple with money and no worries?  I doubt it.  Granted, Virginia Woolf is another story.  And Ernest Hemingway had a medical condition. So I give him some leeway.

I have written four or five poems in the last week. I’m horrible depressed, but it’s doable. And if I can type out poetry because of that, well, so be it. My forms of depression are usually short lived. Thankfully. Usually donating blood helps. I actually have one of the genes that is related to why Hemingway killed himself.  Hemochromatosis is a disorder where your body stores too much iron in every part of your body. Including the brain. And iron oxidizes. Just think of your brain on a rusty nail. No, I do not have hemochromatosis, but Mr. B does, and I happen to carry the one gene that tends to make one absorb and store too much iron. Hence why I donate blood at least 4 times a year. And it helps, but that doesn’t take into consideration my general nature. And that I’m a woman.  Getting the picture?

So, once my muse is back stateside and I can actually feel like I can contact him….. the damn man….. and physiological things level out, I should be fine. For now, the depressing poetry shall continue… I just can’t seem to write light things. I am not Tyler Knott Gregson.  Yes, I am using his name all the time, but I keep reading his book. Sorry, but it’s just too perfect. And sometimes way too cheery, but I can always use cheery.

Kate

 

Fall-Time Classics

woman_reading_romanticIt’s getting to be that time of year where I start to think about fall.  I know, it’s barely even August, but where I live; these mountain homes; autumn comes early.  We can have a freeze in three weeks. (and we just got out of one in June…..) And for some reason, this year autumn is making me think of the Classics. You know… classic books?  Jane Eyre (which I’ve not finished…), Jane Austen, Hemingway, and others.

This Classics thing is on my brain so much that I want to suggest to my librarian, whom I talk to regularly, that we need to have “The Autumn of Classics’ to get people reading them. Start pulling the classics from the scrunched in shelves, and making people sit up and take notice. Set them all around and have covers out.

It’s apple weather, it’s sweater weather…. It’s classics reading weather.

But that’s just me.

What time of year do you think the Classics fit in? See I was always a springtime early summer Jane Austen, but now… Do you read the classics at a particular time? Don’t they fit in with apples, tweed, fox hunts, plaid, straw, pumpkins and falling leaves?

Signing off

Kate