“I note however that this diary writing does not count as writing, since I have just re-read my year’s diary and am much struck by the rapid haphazard gallop at which it swings along, sometimes indeed jerking almost intolerably over the cobbles. Still if it were not written rather faster than the fastest type-writing, if I stopped and took thought, it would never be written at all; and the advantage of the method is that it sweeps up accidentally several stray matters which I should exclude if I hesitated, but which are the diamonds of the dustheap.”
~*~ Virginia Woolf ~*~
April 20, 1919
Anyone who has followed not only my blogs but my writings and small press publications, as well as the journal classes I have taught for 40 years, will recognize this quote because I return to it every now and again, it is a touchstone for me, perhaps because I do indeed do so much writing in many forms that, were I not to do so much, I wouldn’t find those diamonds that matter.
Almost any blog post you read here I have cut by 1/3 or 1/2 and they are still too long for the most part. If it was a book I would be far more brutal in the editing but I find with the blog posts, especially the ones on this 8 year old blog, Maitri’s Heart, I kind of let my heart flow onto the virtual page and let the piece be padded, all too often, with a little too much emotion and soul-searching, not to mention all the times that I cringe because what I write seems far too redundant for my own tastes. But I have never been able to figure out that balance that you would have in a book. In a book I write my backstory one time, but in a blog post if you haven’t followed me for years, and the backstory is relevant to the post, it’s hard for me not to weave the past in, and I don’t like that, and I’ve never figured out what to do about it. I am not holding onto it willy nilly, it is simply the foundation for almost everything that I write and I fear new readers who are coming along all the time would be lost without these few facts. Please feel free to leave suggestions or comments about this.
Also, sadly, for many, my paragraphs and stream of consciousness writing are painfully long, (Strunk and White are turning over in their graves, bless their hearts, as we Southerners say, transplanted or no, I’ve been here since I was 26 so I count the South my true home.) but I mention it here because it is key to this piece, and the way my bipolary brain and life hippity hop down the bunny trail. I have dashed off a little watercolor, at the top of the post, for illustration.
What I have realized, suddenly, and to my great horror — one wishes this may have been discovered oh, say, 30 or 40 years ago — is that, kind of backwards and upside down to the way Virginia Woolf described it, instead of diamonds in the dustheap kept privately in a diary in my bipolar life it seems I kind of dance along like some whirling dervish with the dustheap poofing up all around me (Those things in thought balloons in the drawing above.) instead of waiting for the diamonds as they finally surface.
My deepest apologies.
I used to laugh and tell people my absent minded professorish bumbling through life was very like Pigpen in the Peanuts cartoon strip. Sadly it is all too close to my real life. If it’s true that process is more important than product one might keep it to themselves and subject the world around them to the latter. Unfortunately I do not and it looks like this…
I am struggling so hard right now. As I have written here already the new meds I’m on are kicking me in the keester. I am unrelentingly exhausted, fuzzyheaded, and while I have been able to paint, words have not been my friends. I started this blog post nearly a week ago knowing exactly what I wanted to write about but every time I started my blurry bipolary bits and parts shook their fingers in my face and said, “Uh-uh, not yet sister.” Sometimes I want to bop both of those poles in their noggins. Fortunately I am going to the doctor tomorrow to get this sorted out and my beloved daughter Rachel is going with me to act as translator for the bits & parts and ask the cogent questions I don’t have the wits to ask.
The meds however have nothing to do with the Pigpenish issue. It just is. So I wanted to talk about this because, well, mostly it’s embarrassing. Everysinglesolitarything I ever say is absolutely true and real in the moment and mostly thereafter. Some things shapeshift, somethings disapear for awhile and return later, but I have to be fully in whatever it is I am doing at the moment (the dustheapy parts) so that I can generate the diamonds.
This has been heartbreaking for the lovers of The 100 Ladies whom I promise will never leave but seem to have gone on rather a long hiatus when my wild woman art phase started which in the last week seems to have morphed in several different directions. This is why I have now named the art part of my life Limitless Possibilities Art because truly, in this brain, the possibilities are indeed limitless. Everything I do is well intentioned, deeply felt, and absolutely serious in the moment or for a certain period of time. I just flashed on the thought that it’s like someone who goes shoe shopping and tries on 100 pairs before finding the right one. I will always be writing and I will always be making art, it’s just that most people have a silent, wordless processing plant that it all goes through before they speak about it. This avoids much embarrassment and looking rather goofy and unreliable later on. I am absolutely reliable if goofy in many respects. Please don’t give up on me. I am running as fast as I can so I can get there by yesterday.
I think my bits and parts are on a short leash. If I write many more words they are liable to end up on your computer screen. They certainly won’t stay on mine, they are starting to act like Mexican jumping beans and I am swinging by the bottoms of each letter trying to hold any word down here at all.
Suffice it to say that I am screwbally but I have a good heart. More than that will come at a later date.
So long and thanks for all of the flamingos.