Wednesday, September 24, 2008

SEPTEMBER 25, 2002

Sometimes we can't find a safe place to settle our thoughts. A journal, properly used, can be that safe place. It can be an artist's sketch book, where you try out this perspective or that, this shading, that light. It's like walking - we can walk to "exercise" and we can walk to go some place. When it's time to go some place, we'll be in shape for it if we've exercised. And sometimes the practice actually becomes the product - you find out that what you tried works, and you lift it out of the journal for use in another context. Sometimes the practice becomes the raw material for poem or memoir or essay. And knowing a thousand ways to talk about morning will be useful when you find the need to talk about morning.

The journal is never finished; it never needs to be finished, polished, smooth. Success comes out of the heap of failure, and the journal is a chance to fail successfully.

Grey sky, cold clouds. The sun cannot break through entirely. It's like a slash in a fat belly - the lard showing. The wind in the flag at the cemetery blows south to north.

There's a hawk on the powerline along Highway E just south of the Sina pig farm. A field of soy beans is being taken north of that, more fields look ready to be taken.

You have to throw off a lot of lines to have one look thrown off carelessly. That's what this practice is for.

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