Thursday, December 27, 2007

Finding My Way to the Sea, Katherine Tillotson

A friend of mine, illustrator Katherine Tillotson, emailed to say that she had dreamt she was visiting a small town and saw me there. I was trying to find the sea. She was concerned – was I OK?

Her dream jumped into my mind and became its own vision. I was on a cobbled street in an old fashioned English village. Signs hung from store fronts, swaying gently in the wind. I could smell the sea, feel the dampness on my skin. I knew the water was nearby.

Yes, I emailed back, I’m fine, and yes, I’m trying to find my way to the sea. To that deep unconscious place where all beautiful creative work comes from. The place where the writing comes flowing out of my fingers, where I look up and I’ve been writing for several hours and would swear it was only a few minutes.

To find my way, I have to let the noisy, shrieking voices in my mind quiet down. This is a tough one – those voices are busy the whole time trying to get my attention – the undone errands, the piles of papers and bills on my desk, the stacks of dirty dishes in the kitchen, the worries about my kids or elderly parents. By far the most petrifying voice is the one that whispers I’ll never find my way again.

Hush, hush. I’m in a village, finding my way to the sea.


Anna said...

Jeez, Betsy! You amaze me. You write a simple blog entry and it's poetry.

Elizabeth Partridge said...

Thanks, Anna! [This is from Anna Grossnickle Hines, an incredible illustrator, quilter and writer.]
I especially appreciate you saying it is poetry, as I have begun to think that poetry is something I will never understand or be able to do. I've just been asked by my editor to rewrite, yet again, a stanza of Big Cat Pepper.. I never feel I get it quite right.

anna said...

Maybe because you think poetry is something different than what you do? I think it is exactly what you do. Last night I was reading Leonard Marcus's interview with Karla Kuskin in WAYS OF TELLING. Karla was talking about writing poetry with children and said she thinks it's a mistake to ask them to write a poem, rhyme, or follow a form, "though it often turns out that their descriptions can, with the addition of a few line breaks, be made to look like poems. And" she says, "if it looks like a poem and sounds like a poem, isn't it a poem?" It has to do with the fresh eye, simplicity, sound of the language and emotional connection...all of which you have in abundance in your writing. Good luck with the stanza!