The people that live in more than one word live at an accelerated rate. Artists are such creatures. They have their mundane loves, families, friends, pets, political affiliations….and they have their created worlds that often come bumping into their mundane ones. Since I returned from Scotland I am finding that every time I try to drift away into my written or theater worlds, I am coming up against a wall.
I could blame this imbalance on my trip which unopened trap doors for me to existences that were new and provocative. I even shape-shifted in my other worlds into eagles pumping their quests over ridges and lochs. I put new towers back on ruined castles. I heard the old instruments trilling songs I had never known.
THE OUTLANDER is not part of my lure to Scotland. The world I saw was not one of a time traveling romance, but of real ragged existence. At some point I will write of this coming together of that world with my present summation. Until then my computer is somewhat silent but my dreams are loud and clear.
So much of Scotland highland history is of the swords of warring factions and the yearning songs of the people. The land itself seems glued together by the blood of the divisions as well as the hopes of the people. Is any culture different? When we arrived in the lowlands at the end of our journey there life was shaped more roundly into pleasure. Two extremes of us….the wild and wooly against the pleasant feel of comfort. A feeling of being happily conflicted. Where would we be after all without the point and counterpoint of tensions?
Spring usually evokes images of warmer times. However, we had an airstrike yesterday. Not exactly the image of flowering plants and singing birds. We were warned by TS Eliot that “April is the cruelest month.” How cruel is it to hurl bombs? How cruel is it to need to hurl them?
We find in our lives that we are getting further and further from the garden into the wilderness beyond the gates where rules about beauty and order don’t apply.
When I began to write some million years ago I did not realize that I was being pulled into a dimension different from the one where I lived most of my everyday life. In this new world I found evolution.
At first it was a childish world that looked very much like my own, but then it became more complex as I learned how to read the landscape of my own writing. It was not just a romance or a mystery. There were questions growing there like exotic plants. I could not evict them from my gardens, but had to learn to nurture them and see which were toxic and which propelled their perfumes into hours of pleasure.
I found dragons friendly and unfriendly. I found fears in the owls that winged away through the wisdom of time. And sometimes I found myself in that dark wood where Dante was made to stand in a crossroads of his life.
Writing is both blessing and curse.
As we get older we often understand the subtleties that are part of the world. Syrupy phrases no longer delight us. Birthday cards with angels and pink backgrounds make us cringe. We become officially cynics.
I don’t think cynicism is a bad trait. It helps shine a rather bright spotlight on life itself, showing us both flaws and virtues. I was not born a cynic. I was not even born a realist. I desired pleasure and laughter, not pain. I searched for it in stories and situations that now only annoy me.
Perhaps like the wrinkles the years have bestowed upon me, cynicism is inevitable. If so, bring it on. I am glad to experience life in all its personas.
We are always in a transitional universe. Writers know this. I was cheered to read Chekov write that once we finish something we should cross out both the first sentence and the last sentence. These are the lies we tell about beginnings and endings. The truth is somewhere inbetwen in the story that must go on even when the writer has finished it.
I just saw a Hi-Def live performance of THE CHERRY ORCHARD by the Moscow Art Theatre. I studied under one of the members from years ago when I was but a young girl in New York City. What a joy to see all the work those actors put into this performance….or not to see it because it was made to seem (even with minimalist scenery) like Life was unfolding in front of us. This is seamless between playwright, director and cast. This kind of work we never see here now. Although we never saw a cherry tree on stage, we saw it through the eyes of the actors. It is where I hope to be one day….in a cast in a play that sings in our blood, not just our immediate appetites.