I love this photo. My friend the art critic and Pulitzer finalist Jen Graves (yes, I’m boasting) took it last month at a preview of an exhibit at Seattle’s Frye Museum of Art. That’s me up there on the wall — my words, that is — and she’s reading them aloud to him.
What she’s reading is this:
Write what you know, they say.
But I write what I don’t know,
led by stubborn desire
to see what there is,
or what might be,
or could be.
I play with ideas,
and wrestle with words
— pin them down –
— lose hold of them –
— delete them —
until the right ones appear.
I recognize them
and then, startled,
come to a dead halt
lest they shift again.
They may not seem so right
tomorrow, yet here they are,
in the world,
The fire extinguisher seems a tad de trop. As might be the show’s title, ‘Genius 21’, which surely runs the risk of begging the question. It’s on through January.
great poem…i like the surprisingly contradictory advice, though I wonder if it’s as applicable for English 101 students.
I’m not sure if it’s advice — it’s the way I work, or rather, the way that works for me. If I think I know everything in advance, I get bored with myself. But I appreciate your point: to break the rules effectively, it probably helps to know them first.
Heyy Leslie…..this poem seems like the gist of your blog, ” my inner sergeant major”….perfectly driving home you’re sentiments mentioned there. Loved it….
Was on tour on the west coast, and hoped you had a visiting lecture in some place there. My dream of meeting you after traveling all the way from India, remain unfulfilled. Seattle is on the list for the next time….
For solace, I met a fan of yours, who,s partly/nearly/almost agnostic…although, I know this status does not theoretically exist…
(I would call it a rather ‘confused’ attitude). Told him I,ll be able to discuss his situation more clearly, only after reading Lesley,s new book….am I right?
Urge to read it soon has increased…
The lovely thing is that I know you’ll have fun discussing the new book with him (‘Agnostic: A Spirited Manifesto,’ due out in April), not least because it really does revel in paradox and conundrum! As you noted: no answers, but lots of heady exploration.
Glad to hear Seattle’s on the list for next time! — L.
Write what you don’t know….. Oh yes. Edmund Hillary of those steep stories, Neil Armstrong of the space between the thoughts…..
Wow – happy to see that coming….