Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Izumi Shikibu poem, what authors put up over their desks for inspiration

I don't remember where I found this poem, but I have it taped on my wall over my writing desk. When I'm thinking and staring out into space, sometimes I catch sight of it and it always fills me up.

In this world
love has no color --
but how deeply
my body
is stained by yours.

Izumi Shikibu


anna said...

Oh, that is breathtaking, Betsy. Interesting that you have placed it over your desk, a solitary place for solitary work. A lovely reminder of being connected.

Over my desk is a large window looking out on the redwoods, but I do have a bulletin board nearby. The thoughts I keep there seem to have two themes, somewhat intertwinded; one about our connectedness and the other goals or hopes.

From Rumi:
I want to sing like birds sing, not worrying who listens or what they think.

And from Felix Ratcliff:
It's about love. That can't ever be taken away.

Anna Grossnickle Hines

Susan Campbell said...

Inventory of items over my desk:

1 red shelf of family photos

1 red shelf of awards (upon Joe's insistence and since he made me the shelves, I let him place the awards)

And beneath the shelves, 1 red bulletin board that has the following pinned to it:

a photo of my friend's cabin in the woods

a "Where the Wild Things Are" birthday card from a couple of birthdays ago

1 Comedy DoJo patch that I earned

1 photo of Thoreau's cabin

3 comic strips (2 B.C. and one Dilbert)

1 to-do list from 2007 (and no, I didn't accomplish everything)


Elizabeth Partridge said...

Funny how things we put over our desks show us our footsteps of where we've been, inspire us, and remind us where we're heading...or trying to head!
BTW, Anna, that's a great quote by Felix (who is, for those of you who don't know, my son who plays the mandolin and writes songs). What's the quote from?

anna said...

The quote is what Felix said when we lost Martha Weston, your long time best friend and a person very dear to many of us.

Felix is one of those people whose heart seems to be in everything he says. Good for writing and for music...and for life.

Elizabeth Partridge said...

Thanks for the back story, Anna.
I think love does remain, energetically, as a presence itself. I remember reading in an Ann Morrow Lindberg book years ago, after her husband died, she said, "a marriage doesn't end just because one person dies." Lovely. Same with friendship.

Anonymous said...

I love this. Things over the desk. And such lovely things you have...

Here are two of mine.

Not compelled by desire or fear... Seeking an experience of being alive. Feeling the rapture of being alive.
–Story by Robert McKee

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.
–Albert Einstein

and this...

I write to find out what I think.
–Joan Didion

Unbend and open.
–Judy Blundell

...and now I will be adding yours to mine.


Anonymous said...

Okay, I've got to chime in here. My quote is also from our pal, A. Einstein:
"Everything should be as simple as possible, but no simpler."

Over the years I've collected some pictures torn out of magazines of artists. I write out what I want them to say to me and paste the words on the pictures (gotta love that glue stick):
Virginia Woolf: Dear J,
I had deadlines, too. Love V

Jane Austen: Dear one, life is short. Be brave.

Agnes Martin: Take a walk, Jude. Love, Agnes

Fred Astaire: Just make it look easy.
Yours, Fred

and then there's my Paris postcard obsession...

do you think there's a book idea here? "Over the Writer's Desk." you know, one of those nonfiction little books with squiggly cartoon drawings that are up near the cash registers? the ones that get you a way bigger advance than writing fiction?

-- jude

Elizabeth Partridge said...

I LOVE these! such a mixture of inspiration and admonition to keep getting the work done.
Jud, love that you have artists and authors talking to you!
This is a great book idea -- we could also title it "Where Do You Get Your Ideas?" or "How Do You Keep Your Butt in the Chair When the Sun is Shining Outside?"
Getting a little punchy here. I think "Over the Writer's Desk' rules.

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