Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The middle of nowhere

So this is what it was like… once upon a time that I never really lived.

The internet doesn’t really work at night and so I’m here, in this tiny studio, a big star littered sky outside and near, no really absolute silence, all around me. I woke up early this morning. I ran on this desert road that I can run a little longer on each day. I came back here and made coffee and breakfast and I wrote for a while, the door open because then the sun pours in

And something sort of extraordinary happened. I started crying. Not sobbing, not in a dramatic way, but that tingling in my nose and then the tears that welled up and fell, and I felt so relieved, because I’d been feeling this distance from my story, this separation from my characters, as if they weren’t real or true and suddenly what was happening in their lives felt so true. And it’s freaking SAD and scary and I felt that completely while I was writing and I felt so relieved.

I drove out to Hillsboro and Kingston today, walked through a beautiful old cemetery 

and climbed the ruins of a jail 

and a courthouse 

and toured a straw bale guest house in the middle of nowhere and rode in and out of gorgeous purple and brown canyons… 

and then came back and wrote some more, made dinner… but the thing is, there are so many hours in the day. And at the end of that day, when it’s dark and silent and you’re living alone in a tiny studio and you don’t have t.v. or email, the world is huge and cavernous and empty.

One of the things I wanted to do this year was to do better at being alone. I think we are all too dependent on things-- the company of strangers, the hum of the television, the infinite possibility of the internet... This is, without a doubt, testing that plan, this is one long silent dark night after another. I’m reading Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Poor amazing Tess, Tess who is not a product of her time at all but a woman who feels very real, no matter what the decade. Even Tess can’t fill all these nights. She makes me sad and I know there is no happy ending. “Tess had never in her recent life been so happy as she was now, possibly never would be again.” So much stands there, we know that Tess’s anticipation and possibility is only that and that even her certain beauty and the suggestion in this second life she’s been offered, these too will end in disappointment. I’m wrapped up in this story but even in this, I put the book down and the only sound, truly the ONLY sound is coyotes in the mountains behind me and it’s early, just about 10 p.m. and I don’t have any more writing left in me…

At a time, we knew how to be with ourselves, to be in the moment and the place where we are. That’s just what I’m trying to do now and it’s painfully hard. 

1 comment:

Hillery Stone said...

You're so brave and inspiring. I can't believe you go to sleep listening to coyotes.

Excellent pictures, too, especially that sliver of outdoor workspace seen through the door.