Friday, March 12, 2004


Page revised: 9:45 a.m. CST

I am saddened indeed by the death of poet Cid Corman; we in the realm of poetry have lost a good companion. This is the message I just received from Charles Sandy in Japan, via Nancy Rafal in Wisconsin:

Dear Friends and Family ...

It is with great sadness that I write to tell you of Cid's passing from
this earth. He died peacefully, an hour ago, at 6:00 pm, March 12th,
2004. I have no words to share with you now beyond this, beyond
what Cid has already written:

Like saying goodbye
saying nothing. Be
held by letting go.

. . .


So many days and
so many nights ex-
act infinity

The petals of the
flowers of an in-
dissoluble light.


"The friends
more to me
than my song"

What song
is there
without them?


How far
we've gone you
can see by

how nearly
we are.



Stop and see commonbeauty's current series, "archaeology of childhood: injury." I'm to take part in it: it has taken off at quite a clip, I'm afraid it'll be difficult for me to keep up. But what a ride!



Recently Poolagirl and I were exchanging e-mails about writing. I found myself saying, "Yeah, it's THAT you write. You write and write and write, trying to find that which you were put here to write. Eventually, you find it, but you don't know it, you don't know it right away at least, so you go on writing. You have to."

Then I'm talking to myself, turning over in my mind some of what I believe about writing. I believe:

If you want to write, you should be writing already.

If you don't have a specific "project" right now, you should be keeping a journal.

You should write often, write fast, write with heart.

You should write down what you're seeing, hearing, tasting. Color, tone, texture. Turn and sweep and drop. Capture the whole swirl of it.

You should write as if you are trying to explain us to aliens who find your notebooks a thousand years from now.

If you're afraid what you write won't be very good, remember that at LEAST ninety percent of writing is re-writing, revision, re-vision.

The other ten percent of writing is perspiration.

There are no good first drafts. The people who say there are - they're either lying or lucky.

If you don't know what to write about, harness your obsessions. What do you love and pursue endlessly? Write of that first; then write of what adheres to it.

If we pay attention, what we need to write about will find us. We don't want to make so much splash in the water that we scare it off.

There are examples of good writing everywhere in the blogs on the list of blogs I read. I am astounded by the very high quality of the writing at every turn. Even though I know the answer, I ask myself: how do these bloggers learn to write so well while writing so fast? The answer: they practice. They practice, practice, practice. They might say it's fun, but they perspire, I know they do. For a great example of good writing, look at Via Negativa Dave's March 11th piece about the tundra swans. On Sunday I'm going to name that piece my "Recommended Post of the Week."


MARCH 12, 1998

You cannot go away, you simply cannot. Nothing will be the same when you return. Today is clear and cold. There is snow on the ground, quite a lot of it. A blizzard passed through while I was gone. When I left, it had been spring - woolly bear caterpillars and fat robins. It is not spring now. A skin of ice on the pond again. Stiff fingers to clear the windshield.

You cannot go away, you will not be the same when you return. Where you have been, what you have seen, these will have changed you.

What do I see today? Long shadows of the gravestones in the Fairwater cemetery. Ditches drifted full of snow, or nearly so. A world that has its cap pulled down over its ears. Dirt in the snow drifts. Fields brushed by the wind - like a dooryard swept smooth with a broom. A bright dome of blue, blue sky. Red barns and white houses. A cat dead on the road. Salt stains on the asphalt. A world I love. Home.

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