Writing on the Oregon Coast


John and I spent a few stormy days on the Oregon Coast last week. My hope was to work on my new novel which I started almost a year ago after publishing CHIARA REFLECTIONS, poetry from the heart of Clare of Assisi. Still in the grip of poetry and also of my experience of writing my novel, WIDOW'S WALK, I easily fell into an intuitive style of composition. As soon as my creative function was convinced about my intention not to plan ahead--to have no outline, no sense of plot or theme, nothing but a kind of inner space, something awoke in me. She was an old woman, a hermit, with dreams and memories and a deep question about her life that she never had resolved. 

At the coast I opened the document to the 172 pages I'd written in the past six months. So far, so good--even though I still didn't know quite where I was headed. I had followed through on the intuitive process and remain excited over where it had taken me from that first day in the springtime of 2019 to where I found myself and my fictional characters now at the beginning of 2020. 

The old woman whose name turned out to be Ella, already in the first chapter wonders about her mother. She ponders...

She walked where land is flat. She wrapped her wind-blown hair in a kerchief, waiting out the war. She held my hand. The river emptied into Wood Lake at Four Mile Gap. We searched the beach for arrowheads and chunks of pottery left by the Originals. She told stories of olden days. We sat underneath a paper birch tree and she gazed out to water’s end where, in the evenings, sunlight turned to topaz then to garnet and made her cry. She drew up her knees and bent her forehead down to rest on them. Her sobs were flights of birds. “Mama, Mama,” emerged from me like the mewing of our banished cat. I used the wings of her birds to make my way inside her to investigate the branches of her soul. I opened the gates of her deep red heart and went inside where echoes of her sobs bounced off my mind like puff balls from milkweed. “I cannot, I can Not,” the milkweed puffs sang like baby birds born and trapped inside me. Her knees could no longer hold her head and all her body was a puppet when fingers release the strings. She collapsed and came apart around me. Oh!
Mother slept in her tears and with my most gentle finger I one by one gathered every drop and placed it on my tongue where it would become a part of me and stay through all my years.
Why did she cry? What could she not? Is there anyone…? No one? None? I could not and so I knew her at the very least that much. For years I hoped someone could, but then she began to keep a gun in the top drawer beside her bed and I knew.
Distance for her was absolute.

I know this: I will continue.

Christin Lore Weber
copyright, 2019

Comments

Em Sevol said…
I have to go deeper into Ella. I can't stop with the flighty birds. They spook so easily, that there's nothing there. Or there is, and then it's gone. I stare into the nothingness wondering where nothing went. It was never there. Can she be nothing, whom I thought was everything? Is there more there than what meets the eye only to abandon it? Why did we ever trust our eyes when they prove to be so untrustworthy? What am I not seeing, but knowing? If she is everything, where could she have possibly gone to, but everywhere?

Why do we struggle to find joy inside? But joy adulterated with sadness, even joy in sadness are easy to find in this world. How can the corruption and the incorruptible be one? When do we learn to separate the two, discard the meaningless and rest in the Love of God? Surely there is no sadness in God. The absolute absence of sadness is the Peace that passeth understanding. As though it never existed. Love leaves no room for anything unlike itself. The fullness of the earth is the Lord's, not the emptiness.

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