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with Death Reviews
For the sake of a single poem, you must see many cities, many people and Things, you must understand animals, must feel how birds fly, and know the gesture which small flowers make when they open in the morning. You must be able to think back to streets in unknown neighborhoods, to unexpected encounters, and to partings you had long seen coming; to days of childhood whose mystery is still unexplained, to parents who you had to hurt when they brought in a joy and you didn’t pick it up (it was a joy meant for somebody else -); to childhood illnesses that began so strangely with so many profound and difficult transformations, to days in quiet, restrained rooms and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, to nights of travel that rushed along high overhead and went flying with all the stars, - and it is still not enough to be able to think of all that. You must have memories of many nights of love, each one different from all the others, memories of women screaming in labor, and of light, pale, sleeping girls who have just given birth and are closing again. But you must also have been beside the dying, must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open window and the scattered noises. And it is not yet enough to have memories. You must be able to forget them when they are many, and you must have the immense patience to wait until they return. For the memories themselves are not important. Only when they have changed into our very blood, into glance and gesture, and are nameless, no longer to be distinguished from ourselves - only then can it happen that in some very rare hour the first word of a poem arises in their midst and goes forth from them.
Rainer Maria Rilke
I usually take a few weeks off in the summer. In the past couple of years I have turned the blog over to other writers or bloggers with the aid of a few questions, but this year it will go dark for days, sometimes weeks, at a time.
Once again I shall be in Scandinavia, remote from technology for most of the time, and will only be able to contribute to the blog sporadically.
There’s much to consider. My novel, Winged with Death, will be published in February 2009 and there’s quite a lot of work to be done to make myself ready for that. A boy has to peddle his book, Truman Capote told John Knowles one evening in 1960.
I also have a host of books and texts to read, some of those special ones that I receive during the year and put aside, for this period when I can give them the best of my attention.
I have to think about beginning to write another novel, to consider whether or not I want to commit myself to such an enormous task just now, or put it off for a little while. To consider what it is that consumes me enough as a subject to wish to devote all of my mind to it.
And not least, there are family and friends who will join us during this time. So that it is not just a time of putting out, but also a time of listening and relearning how to listen all over again. Something that all writers, make that all people, must do from time to time.
So then, a lot to look forward to.
I shall leave in a little over a week and return to England in early September, when blogging will recommence on a regular basis. In the meantime, have a good summer.