The Wet Weak and the Cast of Thousands

Friday, 6 February 2009

Sometimes I get little glimpses and remembrances of how life felt to me as a child, how I perceived it from inside myself. I was thinking the other day about my silly childish propensity to name inanimate objects and wondering, is this the consumerist, gooberly, boring adult version of what went on in my head as a child when, my mother saying in exasperation, "You're as slow as a wet week" would lead me to envisage the wet weak as being like ... oh, I don't know, a giant slug or something? The wet weak was a character in my head, something I created. I like to imagine s/he shared a house with dirty deeds and the dunder cheep.

There are many ways to live in whimsy and wonderment, even though I know the words and can't be flabbergasted too often anymore by phraseal misconceptions (although I still enjoy fluffing especially delectable phrases around inside my mouth, tasting them). Naming my mass-produced items is one of them, but I think I need entire human characters, that's what I need. But they won't come. They fart themselves out in my head into a scenario and then stop. I get these scenarios in my head often. Hey, that would be an interesting story. A person who works overnight in a bakery as a delivery person. Hey, that's an interesting trajectory, a person going from this point to this point. But then they just all fly away on the wind. I have not been to my writers' group for months and months. For several months it was because I felt w-a-y too fragile to do such a thing. Plus I didn't have anything I'd written to share. Now, I feel only a tiny bit too fragile, the garden variety fragility that is required if you are to be vulnerable and let things in, but I still don't have anything to share.

Perhaps I need to write a story about the dunder cheep and the wet weak.

How frustrating this creative life is when it's not happening for you. I have a slab of clay sitting in the playroom, dried out once and probably dried out again by now, a sculpture in progress, a good idea, one that got me excited. But it's been three months and there it sits. And the days are flying by too fast, because they are too evil. I need the paradox of losing myself in clay so that when I surface again, I am surprised that two hours have passed. I don't have enough of that going on in my days lately, and therefore, paradoxically, the minutes fly by way too fast because I'm not forgetting enough of them.

Still, the difference now creatively is that I know I shall return to that place again. It is right there and has not gone anywhere. I have evidence that I have been there. I look at these evidences in some kind of wonderment, thinking, I did those. Sometimes it seems patently impossible. Still, this is the strangeness of living in your own body and soul. Many parts of it seem strange to you, familiar though they are. The multi-layerdness of my soul seems so beautiful to me now. I get these images when I think of it, of floaty material in layers, one on top of the other.

I miss writing poetry. I am considering tackling a few well-chosen essay topics, perhaps, for publication possibly maybe possibly maybe. The usual phrases are occurring to me still as I go about my business, that quick jolt that comes bubbling up and says, "Write this down." Yesterday on the train I observed a young man in his early twenties and thought, "He was the kind of man for whom fatness made him look stupid." Which is a clunky sort of a sentence but it opened up all sorts of possibilities for me. And he was. I inspected him and thought, there was something about his face which, when the extra layers of fat were stuck on, did something to his chin and changed the entire geography of his face, made him look duller than he would if the man who I could see underneath was in existence. I think reading about Michelangelo carving marble has had an effect on how I am looking at the world :)

The courage of faith is to keep plodding on despite all the possibilities that present themselves but then fall flat on their bum and fade away into nothing. Because then, in other moments, suddenly I will find myself flung into somewhere and doing something, making something, no matter how flimsy or pointless it may seem to people outside, and I realise that clock-time does not apply to this life in so many ways. Progress occurs in leaps and bounds and twists and turns and starts and stops, and even the stops can be beneficial. And it is comforting to remind myself that that five year old child still exists inside me, and she always will.


  1. "They fart themselves out in my head into a scenario and then stop."

    I love your way with words -- so unconventional and colorful. You are the most incredibly talented word artist. Sometimes I think such things, but when I write them out they become civilized. I don't know why. Maybe too much formality in my childhood literature.

    "He was the kind of man for whom fatness made him look stupid."

    I think such things, too, but often not in words but symbols. Don't you sometimes wonder why these reactions hit us?

    There's no money in writing, but you should do it anyway. Print out hard copies. One day when the rest of the 21st century is lost and no other material culture survives, yours will be the words that are found. Print out at least 20 copies of everything you write and hand it down to posterity in any form you can find. Then when the archeologists of the 30th century go to work, they will find your stuff, put it in museums along with the Dead Sea Scrolls and try to figure out what it all meant. Wonder what they'll conclude about your culture?

  2. Aww, thanks, SS :) Your comment made me laugh. I would be terribly sorry for my culture if the only things to go on were my rude utterances, haha :)

    I do often wonder why those reactions hit us too. They hit me all the time. I love the way our minds work. They're an endless source of fascination to me :)


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