Inside the books...
Is where I find Lulu, in the family room scanning the tall shelves, the hundreds of books. Have you read all of these? she asks.
Ah huh, I nod, just about. Wait, maybe I didn't read Sister Carrie.
Wow! I don't know why I hadn't noticed these before. I never really looked at them all.
Yes, I say, well it's not a big deal. I've had a half century to read stories.
Lu swipes her paws across the paper spines and smiles, Hmm, true, but it's still a lot of books.
These books have been my secret worlds. Each one of them, with their own special suns and stars, seas and rivers, pyramids, canyons, gulags. They are made from Poof! Just like this multifaceted planet on which we make our home.
Max tells me that it all started with a bubble, or foam, from which things popped. Or fizzed. I ask him where the bubble, or maybe the foam, came from. There must have been air. Was this the kind of foam in which you could take a bath? He shakes his head, up, down, Yup, yup, that's the question! Exactly.
Planets, universes, worlds, or books—the Poof! came from something. May I suggest, a mastermind?
This was the world before Poof: someone, something, yes, a mastermind conceived a plot, a situation, characters, conflict, tension, climax, resolution, catastrophe, revelation, and designed, created, this story within a dramatic structure, along a sweeping arc, born of a secret world, and put it (and run-on sentences, too) out there, in the air, in space, in the universe, on the planets, on Earth, on bookshelves, at Amazon, for us. For our pleasure.
This is true.
This January I will be joining another kind of secret world. For the next two years, in this mystical, somewhat secluded bubble of a world (a/k/a The Bennington Writing Seminars at Bennington College), I will be working with some brilliant and highly regarded authors, and will be reading no less than one-hundred books. And maybe, writing one. Actually, I'm registered, matriculated, and have already begun the work. January will bring the first of five ten-day residencies over the following two year period. This full-time process, in theory, should culminate with a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing and literature.
I'm pretty excited.
I am not a mastermind, but I'm hoping for a big Poof!
This, of course, will require a lot of dark (or white) space for a while. Not quite a vacuum, but a space with clear, colorless, odorless air in which to breath, void of fiery comets or space debris, or anything that has the potential to crash into my secret world and throw me off course. You know what I mean. It will require many days at the library. Cloistered. So here, my friends, may be my last post for a long while. I won't say forever. But, well, you know I'm no multi-tasker.
Saturday night, Michael and I went out to listen to Red Molly, a girl band (as they refer to themselves), a really fabulous girl band about whom I wrote, in a Frolic, nearly a year and a half ago. They were performing in a small town in Massachusetts. There, in an acoustically perfect coffeehouse, at the very end of the evening, past 11:00 PM and bordering on breaking some serious rules (wrap it up girls—our traffic detail needs to go home!), they sang their final song.
May I suggest.
And this song, I forward to you, a Thanksgiving of sorts, a Thank You. Until I once again emerge from my secret world...
May I Suggest
By Susan Werner
May I suggest
May I suggest to you
May I suggest this is the best part of your life
May I suggest / This time is blessed for you
This time is blessed and shining almost blinding bright
Just turn your head / And you'll begin to see
The thousand reasons that were just beyond your sight
The reasons why / Why I suggest to you
Why I suggest this is the best part of your life
There is a world
That's been addressed to you
Addressed to you, intended only for your eyes
A secret world
Like a treasure chest to you
Of private scenes and brilliant dreams that mesmerize
A lover's trusting smile / A tiny baby's hands
The million stars that fill the turning sky at night
Oh I suggest / Oh I suggest to you
Oh I suggest this is the best part of your life
There is a hope
That's been expressed in you
The hope of seven generations, maybe more
And this is the faith / That they invest in you
It's that you'll do one better than was done before
Inside you know / Inside you understand
Inside you know what's yours to finally set right
And I suggest / And I suggest to you
And I suggest this is the best part of your life
This is a song
Comes from the west to you
Comes from the west, comes from the slowly setting sun
With a request / With a request of you
To see how very short the endless days will run
And when they're gone
And when the dark descends
Oh we'd give anything for one more hour of light
And I suggest this is the best part of your life
Evening, Jayne: What an awesome post and a song. I really enjoyed it. I love the books. I had a class where we had to read Nausea by Sarte. My 93 year-young Aunt has the book by Theodore Dreiser: An American Tragedy. When I was a kid, I interpreted it literally (just reading the title) as if Drieser was somehow himself "an American tragedy". She explained it beautifully. I must have been 10 or 11. Have a Special Thanksgiving, Jayne with Hubby, Sprite and Knight (groovy names, I love it!). Keep smiling! : )ReplyDelete
Ha! Funny how, as kids, we can take things so literally. And it's a crime, Michael, but I don't think I've ever read Dreiser. At least not that I can remember! I don't even know how Sister Carrie got on the shelves! :-/Delete
What a great opportunity Jayne! And who will you become? Because you will surely emerge from these seminars as a better brighter more beautiful person than you already are now. I will miss your blog greatly! But I wish you the very best in your learning and new creations.ReplyDelete
Who will I become? What a question, Ru! Aren't we lucky, though, that we get to reinvent ourselves every now and then? The wonders of life. I'll miss my blog, too, Ru. ;) I'll miss all the others, as well, but I have to be realistic--I know I won't have time to read blogs and a hundred books, as well as work on a manuscript, over the next 24 months. (Not to mention taking care of my family.) I'm just not that kind of machine. I'll try to check in from time to time, though... And thanks for your very kind wishes. :)Delete
I am so thrilled for you & this new adventure! You best write a ton in the interim for us :-)ReplyDelete
Oh boy, EG, I'll try my best. No promises, but I'm already enjoying the adventure. ;)Delete
Enjoy the journey. I hope a book does materialize because I know there are a lot of us who would love to read it.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Tim. If, in the end, what materializes is only to have met and worked with some incredible people in a fantastically creative environment with terrific mentorship, I will be pretty pleased. Anything beyond that will be icing... that I'd be thrilled to share with you. ;)Delete
Jayne, I'm so happy for you...there's so much to do—to discover. You are bold and brave and talented. I'm a bit jealous that they get to be with you. "They" being those with whom you'll study, chat, and borrows pens from. I will miss this place of poofs and pleasant surprises. I will miss you. Have fun Jayne. As your song said, "This is the best part of your life."ReplyDelete
I'm wiping away tears.
I will check in on you occasionally and think of you often.
Love and hugs,
Thank you, dear Leah. I wish you'd join me! Oh, how I'm hoping my classmates will all be as good at sharing as you, Leah! Just in case they aren't, though, I'm stocking up on pens. ;)Delete
I'll miss you the same-- but I'm going to leave the window open a crack. I know I'm going to need to pop in on all of you on occasion. Be well, my friend. :)
Wonderful writing, wonderful post, exciting adventure. I'm envious (just a smidge) and very admiring of your adventure. May it take you to all kinds of new places in your head and on paper. Safe (and exciting) travels!ReplyDelete
Oh, and Sister Carrie? Tremendous book.
April - Ok, I'm adding Sister Carrie to my list. Might as well--it's been following me around for too long! Thanks for your kind wishes. I'm looking forward to being carried away to Vermont (my favorite state in the union), and who knows where beyond that! ;)Delete
Oh, how I would love to join you Jayne and I am so jealous that you get this opportunity...But with three children in college and two more to go, I don't know when, if ever, I will get the opportunity. Enjoy it, relish it. I wish you all the best that I would wish for myself.ReplyDelete
Bill-- It's going to be pretty interesting to see how hubs and kids deal w/this... 50 days away from home in the next two years. Heh. They're so supportive, though, and truly, I think the separation will be much harder on me. I know what I'll be missing. :(Delete
Even so, yes, I'll relish this opportunity. Thanks, Bill. :D
Jayne, May you be richly blessed in this new adventure! I know I have been blessed in reading your post, and I am sure there are wonderful things to come when the time is right. Remove all "fiery comets or space debris" and give it all you have ... You have a lot to offer! I wish you the best!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Gary. Yes, I've no choice, really, I need to slip into my own little space capsule, press go, and stop only to refuel, as necessary. And if i can stick to that plan, it'll be no minor miracle. Heh. ;)Delete
I like this analogy; a mastermind behind the poofs, both universal and literary.ReplyDelete
Enjoy this time exploring new, creative horizons!
Thanks so much, my friend Leonora. We've been reading each other for so long I do feel like I've gotten to know you as a friend, and I'm so grateful for that. I'm glad, too, that you (as well as others) have made connections here in Blogland, in some cases, I think, right here on SubSol, with other readers/writers, and it's pretty cool to think that, in a way, we've all played a part, acted as a link, each of us, in widening and illuminating our horizons along the inexorable chain of humanity.Delete
That was thrilling! I loved it. I believe I'll listen to it again.ReplyDelete
Oh yes, and much, much luck to you, my friend, with your amazing degree.
The CD is great, too, Nessa. :)Delete
Thanks for this. And, of course, continued best of luck to you, too. I wonder if we'll graduate together? Hmm... I have a feeling you'll be done long before me. ;)
Good luck to you. This is wonderful news.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Susan! Yes, I agree. Still pinching myself. ;)Delete
Not happy that you're about to go "poof", but will be looking forward to the results.ReplyDelete
Best of luck.
Oh Antares--who knows, I could easily bump into you in that little secret world. Never know on which planet I'll land. ;)Delete
I'm really happy for you, I hope you'll enjoy this adventure. And I also hope that you'll still post here, from time to time.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Starlight (and it's so nice to see you here!). I have a feeling, from time to time, yes, I'll post here. It's been almost like a little think-tank for me. I open a blank form, and things happen. (I have a feeling it will be more difficult with a word doc.) This is why I started the blog. It's been a magical experience for me, and I may need to make that kind of magic every now and again. ;)Delete
Yes, Jayne, a perfect song to describe the threshold you are in the midst of crossing! Blessings on your new life, the fabulous adventure that lies ahead, the 'you' you will discover for yourself, and those who will discover that you. You will amaze yourself, Jayne, be dazzled at what's to be spun like spider's silk from the spinneret of your soul--and spider silk has the tensile strength of the same weight as steel. It will indeed be the best part of your life. Much love and joy,ReplyDelete
Oh, Melissa, you have been so kind and generous, and I greatly appreciate your support. The 'you' or the potential 'you' whom you describe--even the thought of the possibility of a potential 'you'-- made me smile brightly.Delete
Thank you, thank you, my dear, beautiful, poet friend. You've been an inspiration. (You know this, though.) Yes, yes, I'm ready to spin and be dazzled! xo
Fabulous to think of you entering this 'secret world', Jayne. And amen to what Melissa says above.ReplyDelete
Thank you, dear Penelope. I'm a bit nervous, yes, and I'll probably motor more slowly than usual, but I am so looking forward to the journey. Amen!Delete
Well i bid you adieu Miss Jayne, best of the luck and all that, i'm sure you've probably gleaned from bits and bobs that i have no use for the MFA programs of the world, they are the fastest growing dept's in uni's simply because they make money and i've never been one to believe that someone can teach someone else how to write, i looked up the fees to that program and think a few months or year bumming around the world would do your writing more good but i understand that people like structure, it's just that i can tell a writer with an MFA in the first 3 pages, seems the first thing that goes in those programs is originality and voice and it all ends up sounding the same, besides all my heroes were self taught and i will continue along that same path, of course i've probably only read about 80 to 90 books in the last two years and i don't like people telling me what to read (my lifelong disdain for authority)... anyhow good luck and all that and see you on the flip side.ReplyDelete
Thanks for that, Kono. Gleaned, oh yeh. And I couldn't agree with you more—nobody needs a degree to write. My husband likes to remind me of this, too. (And he has a writing degree.) Traveling the world—invaluable, incredible teacher, and if I had a few months or a year to bum around the world, I'd spend my $ doing that. But with a family, that's not in the cards right now. So I'll have to be happy w/a writing program that I think will make me happy (which includes a degree that allows me to teach if I so choose). And I get to make my own reading list, too. :)Delete
But no worries, I won't let them ruin me, Kono—assuming there's already something there to ruin. ;)
A really lovely post.
All the very, very best to you as you start your course. It sounds like an amazing opportunity and I'm certain you'll be inspired and challenged by it. I hope you'll be able to come and write here when you've time although there are never enough hours in the day to do everything are there?
Thank you so much, Lucy. I'll be back here, yes, and I'm hoping I'll get some blog visits/reading in, as well. As time permits... (we do need more than 24 hours in one day, don't we?!)Delete
ah, my friend, i will miss you terribly, but onward, onward to bennington, you must go. yes—yes!—there has been a lot of brilliant widening and illuminating going on in subsol. such a fun romp.ReplyDelete
good luck, jayne. see you when you reappear, if not sooner. here's to a big POOF!
I'm looking forward to my first trip to Bennington, Mignon! I haven't been to Vermont in too long. It's where I learned to ski, and where I spent many weekends with friends and family. It will be nice to back up there for an extended period of time--especially to immerse myself in all things writerly.Delete
Thanks for the wishes... Poof! :)
congratulations jayne on your new quest. admiring from afar your dedication to return to school (and quite a daunting curriculum) as well as your commitment to following your passion.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Amanda. I've waited a long time for this, so I'm ready for daunting! (If not a bit scared.) I'll miss this community, but I'm going to attempt to get back here from time to time. And you keep writing, Amanda... that book of yours is sure to be a huge success! ;)Delete
I'm glad you stayed for the last song and passed it on.ReplyDelete
"Inside you know / Inside you understand
Inside you know what's yours to finally set right
And I suggest / And I suggest to you
And I suggest this is the best part of your life ".
I was happy to see Frost on the shelf.
No shelf should be without Frost. ;)Delete
i'm still enjoying madison violet. let me return the favor by recommending house of refuge by jim byrnes.ReplyDelete
Well, thank you, BP. I shall check that out. :)Delete