Tunes for a Monday Morning
A word on words

The communion of the word

Book art 1

"A writer is, first and last, a reader. Who do you write for? Gertrude Stein was asked, and famously replied, 'Myself and strangers.' That self, the reader-self who is allied with strangers, may be a writer's better half, more detached, more trust-worthy, than the writing self who swaggers through a lifetime of prose. It is difficult -- and diminishing -- to separate the self who writes from the one who reads. Both acts belong to the communion of the word, which is a writer's life." 

 - Patricia Hampl (I Could Tell You Stories)

Book art 2

"As you read a book word by word and page by page, you participate in its creation, just as a cellist playing a Bach suite participates, note by note, in the creation, the coming-to-be, the existence, of the music. And, as you read and re-read, the book of course participates in the creation of you, your thoughts and feelings, the size and temper of your soul.”

 ― Ursula K. Le Guin

Book art 3

“I spent my life folded between the pages of books. In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.” 

- Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me)

Book art 4

From an interview with Richard Ford in The Paris Review:

Ford: "I want to write, partly at least, for the kind of reader I was when I was nineteen years old. I want to address that person because he or she is young enough that life is just beginning to seem a mystery which literature can address in surprising and pleasurable ways. When I was nineteen I began to read [William Faulkner's] Absalom, Absalom! slowly, slowly, page by patient page, since I was slightly dyslexic. I was working on the railroad, the Missouri-Pacific in Little Rock. I hadn’t been doing well in school, but I started reading. I don’t mean to say that reading altogether changed my life, but it certainly brought something into my life—possibility—that had not been there before."

Interviewer: "What was it about Absalom, Absalom!?"

Ford: "The language—a huge suffusing sea of wonderful words, made into beautiful, long paragraphs and put to the service of some great human conundrum it meant to console me about if not completely resolve. When I was old enough to think about myself as trying to be a writer, I always thought I would like to write a book and have it do that for someone else."


Book art 5Images above: "Sequel" (and tree leaves from "Sequel") by UK artist Nicola Dale, book architecture by Dutch artist Frank Halmans, book sculpture by UK artist Emma Tayor, and details from "Proverbial Threads" by US artist Robbin Ami Silverberg.


Wonderful quotes today Terri. I love the Gertrude Stein remembrance and the image of a sea of words by Ford. Dipping a toe in this sea of words for the first time has been rather intimidating; what has really struck me is that there is a tipping point in the process. When I stop consciously writing and the story begins to pour forth like water.

best to you and yours, I hope you and Tilly have the sprin,g that has finally joined us, accompanying you on your rambles.

Thought-inspiring quotes as always.

These are hauntingly truthful images of the communion, Terri. All of them, but in particular the nesting bird. I write from there!

As someone who exercises my sense of wonder by reading and looking, not writing or painting, I love today's topic, and beautiful art. And that Tahereh Mafi quote...that was me. Thank you.

Reading and writing are my benign addictions. I have to have a new book to read on hand, or old
favorites; it is a kind of hunger. Right now I am rereading Isak Dinesen and have on hand a novel I just bought, by Holly Phillips. I love her work. It was a giveaway at Fogcon, and I am just stunned with the
beauty and wisdom of this new to me Canadian. Also the magnet of revising a new story is right here...on my Mac! Life is good.

PS. It is odd that Phyllis Holliday reads Holly Phillips. Coincidence or ?

I have just had the chance to see Nicola Dale's Sequel in real life. The First Cut exhibition has just arrived in Nottingham (from Manchester). What an amazing and inspiring exhibition it is

The relationship we have with paper is so profound in so many ways. We can use it to tell such stories. I particularly responded to the idea of being folded between the pager.

Confusing. I got my first Holly Phillips book of short stories at Fogcon, and bought one
of her novels at a a fine bookstore.

Thank you for these links, Charlotte! I so wish I could see this exhibition. And I agree with you about paper; I love it in all its forms.

Another Holly Phillips fan! Yes, I agree, her books are marvelous.

Thank you for your responses, everyone. Though we come from many walks of life here, the one thing we all share is a love of books and a communion with words in many forms.

I'm sorry I couldn't find a clearer picture of Silverberg's work (at the bottom) to share with you. I find something incredibly moving about words wound onto a bobbin, which is so associated with women's work.

This is what she says about it:

"For the series 'Proverbial Threads,' I chose to focus on text, working with proverbs from cultures around the world that focus on woman’s work. It consists of an open series (over 100) of industrial bobbins, each wrapped with paper threads that have printed on them a repeated proverb about women’s work. Here is a small selection of proverbs:

1. The threaded needle judges the girl.”(Spanish, Argentina)
2. The only skill that women have is turning the spinning wheel. (Hebrew)
3. A household with a woman is like a flower bed, a household without one like a wasteland.” (Uzbek)
4. A wife is the best piece of furniture.” (Dutch)
5. However smart a woman may be, she will end up in the kitchen. (Indonesian)
6. Do not humiliate your wife; she is your home. (Ovambo, Angola/ Namibia)
7. Housewife at home, pancake in honey. (Russian)"

Spring is here, tentatively, in fits and starts -- but Tilly has just gone on heat, which will curtail the length of our rambles for a bit. Suitors of all sizes appear at our back door, from a huge black lurcher to a minature Jack Russell, all looking hopeful and eager. Tilly has her heart set on a small golden lab named Fergus, and is heartbroken that we won't let him in. They croon at each other through the window glass....

I like your idea of a tipping point in writing. I know just what you mean.

Mmmm, me too.

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