Sunday, 12 April 2015

Valentine to the Turbine Hall - Surprise in Tate Britain - Writing

I think this may have been the first thing I ever saw at the Tate Modern. I'd made it to London while the children were small and somehow got there on my own. It was hushed and humming at the same time. People were in a trance, lying down or standing there. There was some sort of mist in the air. It was huge, vast, eternal. (I had deleted this section, but now I want it back in again.)

I could just look up and up.I had heard how big it all was, and knew it was what I needed. I still need it now. I am always on my own, taking my own time, not explaining myself to anyone. I could visit a railway station for exactly the same reason, or just wait for a train. 

In fact that's the story of my school and working life, waiting and waiting for trains, on my own, just looking at the rails, the ceilings and the wires looping along the walls in the blackness. Or standing in the train reading and finding myself thinking parallel thoughts at the same time. 

Surprise in Tate Britain

I took much longer enjoying this. I thought that looking at it intently would bring other people over to look too. No chance. So, what's wrong with people in London? I imagined my mother in law's hamster exploring the little world in there :) I wanted to touch the solids/stones/rocks/unearthly extrusions, but pulled back, just let my eyes linger on them. The sand and the combination of orderliness and confusion made me happy too.

Writing hints

I have been all wrong since the autumn. Why is that? Anyhow, I am having to explore my own silences and experience new sensations. Each writing year is different from the one before. IOWA and 52 last year. My Didcot poetry group of 3 is this year's event, plus the ongoing discussions on the Hall Writers' Forum. Slant is new, feels too public after the intense intimacy, privacy and trust in 52. I also have Poetry at the Ashmolean, that's new and I'm simply observing so far. Reading collections in an intent way and writing about them is new. It takes much more effort than I'd expected.

“I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten — happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another. ”
― Brenda Ueland

“I remember standing on a street corner with the black painter Beauford Delaney down in the Village, waiting for the light to change, and he pointed down and said, ‘Look.’ I looked and all I saw was water. And he said, ‘Look again,’ which I did, and I saw oil on the water and the city reflected in the puddle. It was a great revelation to me. I can’t explain it. He taught me how to see, and how to trust what I saw. Painters have often taught writers how to see. And once you’ve had that experience, you see differently.”
“We have come to think that duty should come first. I disagree. Duty should be a by-product. Writing, the creative effort, the use of the imagination, should come first – at least, for some part of every day of your life. It is a wonderful blessing if you use it. You will become happier, more enlightened, alive, impassioned, light-hearted and generous to everybody else. Even your health will improve. Colds will disappear and all the other ailments of discouragement and boredom.”
 Brenda Ueland (again).

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