no place on earth

It’s difficult to think of anything other than the stunning crimson and gold leaves outside my windows.

I have been doing too many other things lately. And I have come to the place where I need to set aside time for writing.

Why do you refuse to admit that in poetry, as if in a mirror, I attempt to collect and to see myself, to pass through and beyond myself.

Last week, for a few days, it was doing nothing–long walks on the beach, listening to the ocean, watching the sea foam extract itself from the waves that produced it and scatter down the beach. Staring at the flower of a jellyfish, remembering being stung as a kid.

Sunrise on the Atlantic. Beautiful, yes, but I prefer sunset on the Gulf.

Oh, this innate bad habit of always existing in places where I do not live, or in a time which is past or is yet to come.

One week until I send in my last packet. In seven weeks I’ll be in Vermont. In a little over eight weeks, I’ll have graduated.

The memory of it would have vanished utterly had he not enclosed it in a fortress of words…

No Place on Earth by Christa Wolf (born in 1929) is a different kind of book than what I usually read. Wolf is a German author, who in this slim volume writes about the imagined meeting in June of 1804 of an unknown female poet and a famous male writer at a social gathering “for tea and conversation.”  One hundred nineteen pages of almost no action and some dialogue. Mostly, it’s the back and forth of the relentless minds of these two characters, as if their minds were communing, on the subjects of life and death, the freedoms of men and women, the necessity of art:

That time should bring forth our desire, but not that which we desire most.
The repressed passions.
We are not worthy of that which we long for.
We must understand that longing needs no justification.

8 thoughts on “no place on earth

  1. This is a lovely braid of place, reflection, and literature.
    “Oh, this innate bad habit of always existing in places where I do not live, or in a time which is past or is yet to come.” Yes, what is that habit, my habit, too.”

  2. You are lucky to still have bright fall foliage. I hear you on the need to find time to write. How exciting that your degree is almost complete! It seems so recent that you began. Those excerpts are lovely, but I do like plot and dialogue in a novel.

  3. Jodi, Sarah, and Cherry,
    This post came out of wanting to write about what I was thinking, what I was seeing, and what I was reading–which seemed to be three different things but ultimately had something in common after all. Thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a comment.

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