May 20, 2010

Dreadfully Nervous I Had Been and Am

Today, a writing exercise, I think. I’m going to point to two words in the dictionary and write something. The words: vigil – n. keeping awake during the time usually given to sleep, esp. to keep watch or pray; saccade – n. a brief rapid movement of the eye between fixed points, as in reading, derived from the Old French sachier meaning to shake.

Strange that my vigil should come to this, this nonclimax. I say nonclimax because un refers to something done while non is in opposition, though it may or may not have occurred. It did not occur and thus was not undone, therefore a nonclimax as opposed to an unclimax.

Her face before me with its brief saccades of thought and then its fixed glance to the left, indicating in the psychology of mendacity that it is a made up thing, as opposed to a remembered thing, that comes from her mouth. What she says is this: “I do not oppose our union.” That it is a thing of the imagination, rather than of memory, tells me that she has not yet pondered it, considered and decided, it is a new thing, a new thought, therefore there is a chance at happiness yet.

But my expectation was for her flat denial or her jubilant affirmation. That she had not yet thought this thought, the thought that had vexed and fixated me for months, that I was far from her mind in our long months of separation, should indicate her indifference to me.

Yet! Yet she says that she does not oppose it. Perhaps there is hope yet.

What I’m Reading Today: I finished William Kittredge’s The Best Short Stories of William Kittredge. I feel a kindred spirit, and we cover a lot of the same ground. How modern ranch life affects people and relationships. The Western legacy of violence. How the West is a character in its own right. His language can really soar with exquisite poetry, and when he nails a line, he really nails it. At the end of “Do You Hear Your Mother Talking?” there is a line something like “Like two parents listening for the talk and laughter of their children in the next room, just as the children listen back.” (I don’t do it justice but I don’t have my copy of the story here.) However, there’s something fuzzy about his writing. He consistently talks about what is not there, what is absent, even down to the sentence level ~ the antecedents to his pronouns are most often unclear. Also, he can be imprecise in his language, which feels very poetic but communication is not made. A very strong effect ~ when it works, as in “The Van Gogh Field” it is out of the ballpark, but when it doesn’t, it leaves me going, “Huh?”

PS The beginning of next week I'll be hanging out over at Cool Person Kristi Peterson Schoonover's blog and talking about why we write. Make sure to check it out!

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