I've always meant to keep a notebook with me everywhere I go. Only on three occasions have I done so successfully. I'm always meaning to get better about it, tired of scrambling around for scrap paper and napkins and pens at the most inopportune time--to remind myself of everyday encounters, ideas I've had on the run. But, having read this essay by Joan Didion, (an excerpt from her book Slouching Towards Bethlehem) I'm even more intrigued to carry a notebook. If not for my future self, than for my past selves.
It all comes back. Perhaps it is difficult to see the value in having one's self back in that kind of mood, but I do see it; I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind's door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.
Thought Catalog is a site I read almost daily. I enjoy it (most of the time) and always get excited when something is posted by one of the writers I dig. (The two I love? Ryan O'Connell and Chelsea Fagan.) Chelsea has a way with just saying how something feels; how to cope; and how to console someone going through whatever the topic may be. She's a writer who has an ability to come at the topic from every angle. This post she wrote on How To Move On was like someone on a megaphone yelling YES, ANNA. SHE IS RIGHT. TAKE THESE WORDS TO-GO.
Everyone will tell you that you’re going to forget about this, that one day it will seem like nothing, that it will be a blip on the horizon behind you. But the thing is, at least at the moment, you don’t want that to happen. Even if you are never to be together again, you can’t give up that beautiful hope, that memory of being with them, back when they loved you. All of the advice will mean nothing, all of the experiences of others — offered in kindness, in an attempt to empathize — will pale in comparison to yours.
A friend recommended Lorrie Moore's book Like Life and I just finished it a few weeks ago. I couldn't put it down and found myself dog-earring many pages to mark passages that made me say Man, I wish I had come up with something that brilliant. Needless to say I was excited when I came across this interview she did in 2001 with the Paris Review.
INTERVIEWERSo you don’t feel you were destined to it, that you had no other choice but to be a writer?MOOREWell, that’s all very romantic, and I can be as romantic as the next person. (I swear.) But the more crucial point is the moment you give yourself permission to do it, which is a decision that is both romantic and bloody-minded—it involves desire and foolish hope, but also a deep involvement with one’s art, some sort of useful self-confidence, and some kind of economic plan.
I am always eager to hear what artists say inspired their works. This quote from Bon Iver's Justin Vernon about the meaning behind the track Towers was especially interesting to read.
It’s about falling in love, but also about what happens when you’ve long fallen out of love and those reminders are still there. You drive by them, these two buildings, and you look, and you realise that we really built that up. That we really built that love into these things, and for a long time afterward looking at them really made me feel sad; to see these empty buildings that I don’t go in to anymore. But then, as time goes on, they start to become kind of joyous in their own way: you can look at them and think ‘that love was great and these buildings still stand tall.