A weather-filled week, much less for us Torontonians than east-coasters, but I found myself hiding indoors and looking skyward a lot even though it didn't reach us as expected. I hope all of you found safe shelter and are well on the way to recovering.
I loved stumbling upon something new from Maggie Nelson this week: "Writing With, From, and For Others". I particularly enjoyed her descriptions of her internal process, how she "sees" her writing; it's something I relate to.
"I don’t really think I have much of an imagination at all, at least not in the traditional sense of making stuff up or feeling compelled by things that aren’t there. Whatever imagination I have, I think it’s a formal one: I have an intuition for form, for how form and content depend upon each other. I also have a strong sense of how ideas are things, things that can be arranged, synthesized, associated, and felt, à la Keats’s great phrase “Axioms are not axioms until they are proved upon our pulses.” In my mind, I don’t hear characters talking; I see book shapes; I hear tonal juxtapositions; I hear music shepherded around the page; I imagine what kind of sentence or shape could or should house a particular idea."
Nelson was also one of my inspiring women.
I've been thinking a lot about writing and community this week. And about myself. How I favour the solitary and being part of a community always seems to serve me best in small doses. It always feels like a kind of selfish (or protective?) apartness that I struggle so to let other people relate to me.
But I also see how quickly I become discouraged when I consider myself in a larger context, and this is more from a sense of smallness and insignificance. Without a doubt, there's a dance to be done here (perhaps especially in online worlds).
As I'm typing here, there are some first flurries of snow outside my window. I feel quite unready for it, not just winter, but another cycle of the seasons, how all the winters meld into each other and the autumns and springs too. This is my tenth winter in Toronto, and yet I so often feel like I barely belong here. And, yet, with this solitary nature of mine, maybe belonging is something that comes in small moments rather than seasons.
Happy weekend, friends!