Jots and Motes

 

From last night’s little text messaging bout between my young daughter and myself:

                    Me
Me encanta la pequeña rana en el oido.

                    Hana
You sing a little frog in my ear?

                    Me
Sirenas cantar, pero no mientras Dios susurra.

                    Hana
And how would the sirens know
if God whispered,
aside from being alive?
The sea rolling on itself
every day, striking the rock’s face
and somewhere else drowning a good sun?
We doubt the words were spoken.
But where bees’ wings are pinned to the sky
we can see the words sewn into their hem.*

                    Me
I have been one-upped by the best. Nice poem.

                    Hana
Being alive should be living.

                    Me
Dolphins laugh and leap and love the
fate of lovers’ lives who slip the nets.

                    Hana
Love the end.

                    Me
Thanks.
Yes, being alive should be living. Our birth
is gone forever. We can only guess about our
death. Life is all that’s left. Always here, it’s the
only thing we can touch. And we can’t touch the
lives of others if we can’t learn to touch our own.
I touched you at birth. I’ll love you forever.

Writing like this–extemporaneous, undirected–is to writers as Polaroid film used to be to photographers. I’ve spent thirty years carefully calculating shutter clicks and conforming shapes and tones to my mind’s eye. Sometimes, though, my mind seemed to have no eye. Paralysis by analysis, I call it. It describes a total lack of progress despite possession of knowledge, skills, tools, and resources for conquering the world. Sometimes when that happened, I’d grab my old Polaroid camera and head out the door, leaving all calculations and expectations behind.
I’m often struck by paralysis when I need to write. But instead of rummaging through my closet for the Polaroid, I pull my phone from my pocket and tap out a message to someone. No rules. No planning. No expectations. If I catch my daughter in a writing mood, I get back twice what I give.


May 24, 2013


* by Hana Kurahara Sisk

 

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