One unexpected pleasure given to me by Sinning Across Spain has been an insight into the reading habits of others.
I love the chain formed by reading recommendations. When we enjoy a book and suggest or give it to someone, it’s an intimate bond. We’re saying that we believe we know someone well enough to predict their pleasure, or to excite their curiosity.
So today I thought I would share some of my recent gifts. I hope I’m guessing correctly when I say I think you will find something to love or entice in the selection.
The words are interspersed with photographs taken by Gail Bradley, who took my book with her on her recent jaunt to Spain. It was an indescribable treat to see that turquoise cover under Spanish skies. A kind of homecoming. That one above is taken inside Sagrada Familia. My thanks to the sterling work of “The Hand”, too.
This first is from one of my sinner-angel-sponsors:
In order to do what you do, you need to walk. Walking is what brings the words to you, what allows you to hear the rhythms of the words as you write them in your head. One foot forward, and then the other foot forward, the double drumbeat of your heart. Two eyes, two ears, two arms, two legs, two feet. This, and then that. That, and then this. Writing begins in the body, it is the music of the body, and even if the words have meaning, can sometimes have meaning, the music of the words is where the meanings begin. You sit at your desk in order to write down the words, but in your head you are still walking, and what you hear is the rhythm of your heart, the beating of your heart. Mandelstam: “I wonder how many pairs of sandals Dante wore out while working on theCommedia.” Writing as a lesser form of dance. I thought of you immediately when I read the above paragraph in Paul Auster’s Winter Journal.
This next came from Andrew Rooney, giver of many word-gifts here at blog city.
It’s Pablo Neruda.
So let no one be perturbed when
I seem to be alone and am not alone;
I am with no one and I speak for all.
Someone is hearing me without knowing it,
but those I sing of, those who know,
go on being born and will overflow the world.
From Paul, who wrote the Mexico City guest post.
“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.” – Søren Kierkegaard, Søren Kierkegaard’s Journals and Papers, Part 1: Autobiographical, 1829–1848, p. 412
This next sonnet has been with me for decades.
It was given by Howard Brenton, a visiting British playwright, back in the eighties when greed was good and things moved fast.
The soft-cover volume it comes from is called “Sonnets of Love and Opposition”. It is tattered, as you might expect after traipsing with me for almost thirty years, but Howard’s inscription is still clear.
“Knock hard. Life is deaf.”
Love, a small plant, flowers
Oddly, busting through
Unseen cracks, but
Always with a vivid logic, down along
The fault lines in the way we live-
Smashing up through concrete
The sun against arguments of rusty iron
A blaze of right in a dark wrong
Slit wide the life shut
Up in a backyard, your new
Light opens our powers
Words, photographs, stories. Lives shared and intimacies exchanged. Last week I was introduced to four new living Aussie poets, and today I bought myself a copy of a recent translation of Lorca’s Poet in New York. Such wealth. I am richer than Rinehart and better off than Bill Gates.
Thanks to the givers of words, and a loud shout of gratitude to Gail for giving my book such a very very fine old time. I have more photographs of Sinning’s Camino with Gail and the Hand, and will post them down the track. For now, just gratitude and grace.
I’m off to Perth tomorrow to visit family and friends over there. I like to think of it as another kind of Finisterre. I’ll try to post a sunset from land’s end on the Indian Ocean.
4 thoughts on “Gifted words”
Many thanks (again) Ailsa. I so enjoy your words and insights. Enjoy the West – the sun is (mostly) shining today and the river calm and deep deep blue. I am off to walk along it now and shake off a day of computer work.
Ah Janet, you know how to tempt a woman. That wide, deep Swan River. I’m so ready for it. Maybe we will pass each other on a trail? Thanks as always for dropping by.
Inspiring thoughts , and great work by Gail! Travel on !
Gail gave me a good time, didn’t she? I like the thought of the book as a traveller, making its own friends and wandering the world. I wish it would take me with it!