I’ve been stuck here for awhile now. Stuck again. Damned ill navigable slope. I’ve been cultivating the sticky sort of attentions I crave. Along with a bit of bumbling through brambles, up and down slopes, into puddles, over boulders, and all kind of canted at a slant. And mires, oh yes.
What, you might ask, do I mean by sticky attentions? Come to that, why even bother? Just clear the way and sally onward.
But look! I say back– lookit alla this wonderfulness going on! So much to play with, to admire and rearrange and wonder at. So much to gaze at, lo– not so much my own middle belly parts, tho there’s a fair share of that (another story for another day)– but all around, out yonder, right there and there and there, golly, everywhere.
Frankly I never outgrew it, I often think. You see kids, out on the sidewalk, squatting over some red leaf, simply enchanted, and it is childhood perfectly poised. We say childlike wonder and craft tales about dreamy, gazy boys who wander off cliffs.
I tend to be more cliff-clinger than climber. Writing teacher Ralph Fletcher calls it freezing to the face, that writer’s paralysis, petrification, fear of ungripping fingertips to reach for the next handhold. Fear, Fletcher says, of making the inevitable big discoveries accrued through risk. Fletcher assures that the message takes care of itself in the writing of it. Trust the process, an entire generation of writing teachers intoned, responding to the leaden verbal structures marching forth from drill and repetition.