Sometimes I like to put seemingly disparate pieces of what is going on in my life into an organized whole—usually as a poem. It doesn’t always work that way and what seems to have no cohesiveness really does have none—that I can see anyway. Poetry is often my vehicle of choice for finding wholeness.
Today I’m writing prose. I’ve been reading a POETS & WRITERS article by Beth Ann Fennelly titled “Writing the Sex Scene,” and two books, WIRE YOURSELF FOR WEALTH by Laura Leigh Clarke, and ARTEMISIA by Anna Banti-all very different from one another. I also have the book. ORAZIO AND ARTEMISIA GENTILESCHI, which was published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a catalog for the exhibition in 2001-2002 of the father and daughter paintings of Orazio and Artemisia. As I am reading the Banti book, I am looking at some of their paintings. I’ve been reading Banti’s novel for several weeks. There are more recent novels about Artemisia, but this one I found to be the most powerful of the three novels I have encountered. One reason it’s taking me so long to finish is that it is not a page-turner. Each page seems to almost stand alone and I don’t need to rush through to find out what happens next. So I don’t —I take my time and relish what I read.
I ordered WIRE YOURSELF FOR WEALTH as a Christmas present to myself. While not expecting that the exercises in the book will bring me wealth, I am not opposed to the idea! However, what resonates for me is her emphasis on finding what things light you up and then allowing yourself to do them.
As a writer who has been working full-time at another job, not writing-related, but one that brings some level of security, I know that most of the fires within have to come from elsewhere. Laura Leigh Clark’s book is a page turner, not because of plot, but because I wanted to know what she had to say on the topic and was eager to finish. So how does the “Writing the Sex Scene” from POETS & WRITERS tie-in? I think I’ve got it! This magazine’s theme is Inspiration. All of the reading I’ve done this weekend has centered on that—not purposefully, but it has happened nevertheless. My historical novel that I have been writing, the 170 first draft pages, has yet to have a sex scene. I have not been avoiding it, but the characters situations and lives have not allowed it yet. However, I’m quite sure there will be some before it ends.
As the chilly-looking snow falls down outside, beautiful and white, but cold, I’m finding the warmth of inspiration and as the wood stove burns inside, the fires within slowly but surely ignite. Winter give us some introspecting time to let it happen. Fire and Ice.