Sunday, 10 January 2010

Love among dominos

Things are starting to melt. Today when I went out I saw the snake-like piles of dirty ice and snow lining either side of otherwise clear pavements. The weather forecast tells me to expect more sleet and snow flurries, but I don’t think they’ll stick. Something has shifted, at least for now. My Canadian radar tells me so.

My thoughts tug along with the lazy rhythm of Cormac McCarthy’s writing. The audio book of The Road has been playing over the weekend while I have cleaned and cooked, and even when I turn it off I can hear the voice of narrator Tom Stechschulte, his long slow drawl and the words “it’ll be okay. Everything is okay.”

My favourite thing about the book are how the man and his son manage to find things among the desolation. The world around them gives every indication that all that was meant to be found has been found, and yet sometimes they get lucky. Sometimes they find things that had been overlooked by someone else.

I think creativity is kind of like that. It is easy to sink into a sense of despair, thinking about the long line of artists and writers who have come before. You hear the old voice in your head, telling you it’s been done before. It has all been done before. Yet we keep sifting through ideas and memories, pulling out thoughts and images, stringing together words we are convinced have never stood in just that domino line before.

Earlier in the week I watched a BBC programme about the long ago kingdom of Nubia. And I wonder how we can be so very old and yet still so new, blundering around in the haze of our experience until the shock of our individual deaths meets us before we are ready. Maybe we’re the dominos, snatching at the world as we are born and begin immediately to fall, knocking over our beloved neighbour on the way down. Without meaning to. It just happens.

Right now I am surrounded by gentle comforts. A pot of vegetable soup bubbles on the stove. A large tray of still-warm apple and pear crumble sits on the counter. Everywhere in this room are the scents of basil, onion, oregano, garlic, apricot jam, toasted oats and walnuts, cinnamon. The long-dead spice race has been shaken from a small glass container that lives in my cupboard, and brought to life again against the hot flesh of peeled fruit.

It has been a good day.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lovely writing b. Thanks for giving me those images.

Zhoen said...

Every little wave on the ocean is made new.

Happyone :-) said...

We are having warm up this week as well.
I have the smell of chili cooking in my house and awaiting for some friends to show up to share it with.

Pearl said...

Simple pleasures.

I'm glad that winter is departing over there. The same cannot be said for Minnesota!

Pearl

Sophia said...

What a beautiful post. It is supposed to start warming up just a bit here, too. By like 20 degrees! :)

phd in yogurtry said...

Maybe it has been done before? But now with your particular flair. Well done.

Eternally Distracted said...

This is the first time I have stopped by and your writing is fascinating. Just lovely.

Rick said...

The book made me want to slash my wrists. But spring brings hope. ~rick

Jo said...

"I think creativity is kind of like that. It is easy to sink into a sense of despair, thinking about the long line of artists and writers who have come before."

Oh, golly, I thought I was the only one who felt that way. I'm so glad to hear someone else does too.

You are a wonderful writer.

Cheryl said...

Your post reminded me I've been meaning to make scones. It's comfort food weather today with the grey skies and another storm coming.

I haven't read that book because I heard how relentlessly sad it was. Then again I feared reading Salmon Rushdie's Shalimar the Clown for the same reason and it turned out to be one of the most unforgettable reads I've ever had.

Diving right into creative work, for me, has a way of quieting voices of doubt and despair. It's the in between times when my voices get loud once again. But you have to trust that whatever you come up with really has never been in that domino line before. Because even if you're inspired by another artist, no one has ever had your unique perspective. It's like music, only seven notes. But there are countless possibilities.

Annotated Margins said...

The last two paragraphs are a poem all by themselves. Great ending to the post.

Sapphire said...

your writing leaves a smile on my face :)

Angela Recada said...

Such wise words about life, creativity and creature comforts! No matter what age we are born into, there are few things more delightful than something hot and delicious to eat on a cold, gray day. I hope you thoroughly enjoyed your soup and crumble!