Just like I think of the Lettermen on Saturdays ("Come Saturday Morning"), I think of U2 on Sundays....Sunday, Bloody Sunday....and the lyrics seemed off for the day, so I played with them. I can do that. Like Van Gogh can paint a version of Gaugin, I can screw with lyrics if they are almost true.
Writers are a rare and precious thing in my life and I will latch on the songwriters too if I so desire.
This morning's accomplishment was breakfast. I'm supposed to be out in the world at the prescription of the therapist. But I am out in the world most of the time and granting myself rest seems more important at this stage. I slowly made my way through bagels with peanut butter and african nectar tea and a fresh navel orange, all the while reading through the latest O magazine. I have three reasons to read O now: Martha Beck, the nutrition articles, and the books section. I read about great and quick recipes for lunch that would be better for me than the crap that I feed myself most days. I read about a picnic basket for one, with built in utensils and napkin! And I read about a new book coming out with the complete correspondence of Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell.
I don't bring up Bishop and Lowell to look all edu-ma-cated. I bring them up for the review the book received in O. The reviewer claimed the letters to be revealing, a "long, respectful, charmed marriage of true minds." WOW. To have a friendship like THAT. To read some of the lines from the letters is to know that Bishop and Lowell aren't necessarily strict intellectuals, but that they like to play with words, shape with words, cook with words. "Bishop describes a town in Maine so quiet 'its heart beats twice a day when the train goes through.'" What can you do with THAT? It doesn't require a degree to understand that, or an intense comprehension of the complete works of Dante, or a knowledge of why I need a motherboard. Truth like that would speak to anyone. Okay, maybe not someone who didn't know that kind of quiet in a TOWN, but everyone has experienced that quiet in one way or another, not necessarily in a small town.
Yet sharing an image like that with everyone isn't necessarily appreciated by everyone. Bishop knew this. So it was a blessing to her to find Lowell. And he found a blessing in sharing his words with her and enjoying her grateful receipt of them.
Letters between writer friends. How lucky they were.
For the most part, people have always been afraid to write me letters. The reasons that I've heard for this are "I can't write like you can" (I don't want you to, otherwise I would just read my journals, which Nat says that I should do and I can't do well) or "Not that much happens here" (I don't care what happens there...what did you have for breakfast? What's your favorite show? Song? Color? Place where you feel the most peace? I want to just know your life and how it changes...) or the unspoken/spoken belief that I receive people's letters and e-mails and get out a red pen and start the grammatical and syntax corrections.
Trust me, I have no room to weild a red pen. I don't even know if that's how you spell "weild."
Where the love of language and writing comes in is through two heartbeats on the train arrival, or in a dream of a trip to Italy, or in the perfect coming together of two cross-beams. I would love to listen to someone else's voice for a length of years like Bishop and Lowell. I may never get the opportunity.
But that would be a fantastic gift, life-long.
The O magazine has been tucked away. I have caught up on the blogs that I follow. I leave the comments out...the writers wouldn't necessarily appreciated a 10- to 20-day post-dated response. Meantime, I wrap up the writing and move on to podcasts. Then I'll sit down to paper and pen...and write the letters that I am missing to myself.