Friday, May 13, 2011

Advice and Insight

Yesterday I went for a walk in the sunshine with my cousin Marc. We talked about horror movies while we meandered down the sidewalk, and as we were nearing home, I took notice to a sign in the neighbor's front yard. I stopped and took a picture of the "End These Wars" sign, and he asked if I'd noticed the others in the yards we'd passed. Somehow I hadn't observed them. After taking the picture, I stood in front of the sign and thought of the words as advice and not as a demand.

As a writer, as a human, I am always looking for advice, but knowing what to do with it doesn't come easy. I collect in the way of stacking magazine clippings, I file away what others give me. "You should do this, you should read this, you should check this out." Suggestions are therapeutic, they take the stress off discovering on your own, directing yourself. Being co-dependent in certain elements of life can be beautiful, for me unavoidable. I know I cannot live alone with my creativity. I know I cannot be alone in my beliefs.

Recently, a beautiful friend of mine suggested an article to me. After reading it I felt, powered, charged, and as if I wanted more: The Urgent Matter of Books reminds one it's okay to sit on your ass and read as long as you stand up and share afterwards. Lidia Yuknavitch's article made me think about the whole process of reading and writing, how there must be a balance between the solitude of both processes and the community found through each.

What would we do without the advice and insight literature gives us?

Recently, I have been thinking of my favorite Brazilian writer, Clarice Lispector. As I neared the end of my grad program, I realized how much of an influence she has in both my writing and how after I read and studied her, I gained a new way of looking at the world. This perception is one that lies in an incredibly internal place. Some words from her:

"Reality prior to my language exists as an unthinkable thought. . . . life precedes love, bodily matter precedes the body, and one day in its turn language shall have preceded possession of silence." (The Passion According to GH)

"For at the hour of death you became a celebrated film star, it is a moment of glory for everyone, when the choral music scales the top notes." (The Hour of the Star)

"The mystery of human destiny is that we are fated, but that we have the freedom to fulfill or not fulfill our fate: realization of our fated destiny depends on us. While inhuman beings like the cockroach realize the entire cycle without going astray because they make no choices." (The Passion According to GH)

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