Saturday, August 30, 2008

y cumen in

Summer is almost over. I know this because Real Life is beginning to kick in: daughter is back from Edinburgh and now has the grizzly (gristly?) task of finding some means of earning a living that isn’t a) too mind-numbingly ghastly to consider b) working behind a bar for tuppence an hour and c) immoral or illegal – while continuing to put heart into the work she wants to be doing; apples are falling from our tree with unseemly haste and Mr. Signs is making apple and damson jelly; every day we have blackberries; I am filled with equal amounts of anxiety and optimism; making resolutions. And today I did my first poetry workshopping of the season. True, we sat under a canopy of leaves while the sun beat down, it was hot and I wore my summer white clothes for protection, but still I say it is almost over and autumn will be here soon – the sooner the better, far as I’m concerned, let’s have a real one with a bit of bite to it.

And I begin again. Me and the small house and the cat. I live, for periods, hermetically. This is a word I picked up recently from a piece by Jeanette Winterson. It comforted me; to know that someone else lives like this for periods, and this person is a writer I like; that it is possible to be alone, sealed off from society, and still live creatively; because I am by nature social, sociable, but I have M.E. so in order to live in a way that is meaningful I have also to choose solitude.

I remember a nun from a special order, a solitary who lived by herself in a caravan, speaking of how intensely connected she felt to the world as she lived this way. It is true that living a busy life, constantly in the company of others can be strangely disconnecting. One may belong, in a sense, without Belonging. But the solitary way sometimes needs courage, especially for those to whom it doesn’t come naturally. On the other hand, it becomes also a habit, a different kind to the one a nun clothes herself in when she makes her vows, though there may be similarities.

I meet with writers. We share our work and in this way connect at a deep level. But we are, must be, each of us apart – really alone if we are to do this thing.

It will begin soon, autumn. Meanwhile there are berries, birthdays, an orange and almond cake; intimate others.

13 comments:

Zhoen said...

I always love autumn, a chance to start over, let the wind ruffle my hair.

Kahless said...

Me; I prefer the warmth of summer to autumn.

My favourite season of course in spring.

I enjoyed reading this post, Signs. Yes a lot to be said for the peace of solitude.

Reading the Signs said...

Hi Zhoen, I always think of September as the beginning of the year - and not because of school terms.

Thanks, Kahless - it's true solitude can be peaceful. But sometimes it can also be very intense which is good or bad, depending on how one is.

That's So Pants said...

Hi Signs

A good thing about being in Australia - the spring is ahead. After a winter with people living in heating denial, I have to say I'm looking forward to it very much.

xxx

Pants

Reading the Signs said...

Hi Pants, I have to say that I always look forward to spring. Not a 'summer person', though, which I think you are.

Nicola said...

'It will begin soon, autumn'. That, for me, is reassurance; I have been waiting. And, yes, let's hope there's enough of a nip to think of lighting fires and candles, and to make crunchy leafy carpets to walk on. Lovely to hear your voice again.

Reading the Signs said...

Nicola, I'd have guessed you'd be an autumn-lover too. I'm already lighting candles!

trousers said...

I tend to think that solitude is essential, in order to get to a certain place. A place in which one can be sensitised to - and hence respond to - certain triggers, modes of thought and so on.

I can only be myself in certain places, both within and without.

Reading the Signs said...

Hi Trousers, I'm quite interested in the whole introvert/extravert thing in connection with solitude. I can't make up my mind which I am and think I'm probably on the cusp.

Collin said...

I'm also looking forward to autumn (one with bite, as well) and I have just started reading Winterson's "The Stone Gods."

Reading the Signs said...

Collin, I still haven't read that yet, but intend to. I don't always get Winterson, but I love her.

north said...

I picture you in white gathering berries, writing and coping, and even with the sun beating down that autumn feel comes as a heart warming inwardsness for writers. Enjoyed reading your post

Reading the Signs said...

Dear Ms North, yes - and it's good to know you are there, burning the candle.