Thursday, 23 February 2012

Poor Little Fireflies


I have been reading Ursula K Le Guin's Voices, nominally a teenager's book but, like all Le Guin's work, worthwhile for all ages of readers to read.

It could be titled 'Words', because that is what, in my mind, it is about. The power of words and the weight of them are the story. The voiced word is the hero of the story as the written word seems to be the victim. In an interview in the back of my version of the novel, Le Guin talks about the power of poetry and fiction:
Poetry and fiction use words in somewhat different ways, but they are both attempting to say various things that probably cannot be said at all. .... People certainly can learn - or relearn - "their truth" from poetry or story, but the meaning will always be the truth they seek....
After reading this I found my thoughts (which often have a life of their own) drifting to writing in a blog, and wondering what Le Guin would have to say about that form of writing. Like poetry and fiction, I believe, blogging is an attempt to say things that really cannot be said. It is an attempt to connect across and through a cacophony of other voices but at the same time it is often reaching out and finding a connection, another voice, a fragile link.

Do you wonder what other bloggers think about what you write and what they make of the stories you tell and the ideas you present? When you write, to whom are you writing? for a while I was part of a group called Blog Rhet that considered and wrote about some of these things. We came to no conclusions but the discussion was fun. I believe, as well, that bloggers need to read what other bloggers write. I know of some bloggers who have shut down because of time constraints, not writing time but reading time.

I like to think about the words I send out as tiny fireflies, pumping their wings and briefly glowing against a star-filled sky. Are they there if no one witnesses their flight?

I don't really write for connections, though, or for readers. I write to confirm to myself who I am. Maybe my grand daughter will read these words some day and learn something about me or something about herself. I don't know if she will even be interested. But still the little words pulse and briefly fly.

My poinsettias are finally dying. Thank goodness. And the paper-white I got for Christmas has just put out another bloom. The house was filled with flowers last week in honour of our wedding anniversary. Even the Christmas cactus has obliged with a good show of pink February bloom, contrary plant that it is. And my neighbour has given me yet another papyrus plant, even though I have killed the last two. Last night the YD's dog got some spaghetti sauce and a meat ball with her supper and was thrilled. Tonight she got mostly dog food and I suspect she thinks she is hard done by as she is ignoring her dish. I washed all the cleaning cloths this afternoon and folded them neatly back into their rack. But there's a load of wet stuff still to go into the drier and here I am, letting the static in my mind drain on to the page.

Poor little fireflies.

13 comments:

  1. Inspirational! I'm glad you're having more time again for writing.

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  2. Walt Whitman's poem "A Noiseless, Patient Spider" speaks to the themes you discussed in the initial part of this post. He writes of making connections with his poetry, hoping that he will impart pieces of his soul to readers everywhere.

    My goals with my blog for the past 6+ years have not been so lofty. My original mission was, as a writing teacher, to keep my own skills sharp and to practice what I preach, that to be a writer, one must write. Now retired, I find that it has become equal parts need and enjoyment.

    CS Lewis once said that we read to know we are alive. I write to make sure that I am fully human. That sounds pretentious, I know, but in the climate of Current Civilization, it makes me feel so much more sure.

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    1. I wish I had thought of that poem. Because this says all I wanted to convey in this post. And more.

      It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself;
      Ever unreeling them—ever tirelessly speeding them.

      You are one of the few fully human voices out there, Nance. I always look for your latest filament.

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    2. Thank you. That means so much to me.

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  3. LeGuin has a blog. If you love her, don't read it. Her clay feet stick out. And she doesn't use it as a platform for connection -- which, you know. Her comments section would likely be as long as her last novel!

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    1. Interesting. I have looked at blogs from some of my favourite authors and have always been disappointed.

      we have 8" of new snow here. Perfect ski snow. Sigh.

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  4. I have no real purpose to my blog any more, other than to keep it going, so it will be there if I ever have something to say. Pathetic, I know.

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    1. If you did nothing but publish your amazing photos, you would have lots of purpose for me.
      I'm not sure I ever have anything meaningful to say.

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  5. I love this ode on the connectedness enabled by blogging, Mary. And blogging is how we found one another. So can it be anything but wonderful?

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    1. Lovely that you cherish my fireflies. Lovely that we found one another. Lovely you.

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  6. What lovely imagery, the fireflies ... and a very thought provoking post. I do wonder why I write, why I stopped writing for a while after being almost addicted to blogging and all things related. I do miss the sense of community and connectedness that I found when I started my blog, but I suppose now that my life has changed and I have other connections and responsibilities due to work and growing kids, the connections I found through the blogging community seem a little less real, and I don't rely on those ties so much anymore. Although they got me through some tough times, and I do miss the community. All I seem to do these days is post trip reports! But then they do capture some precious moments with my family, which I know I'll look back on some day and think... "oh yeah, that was great family time!"
    I appreciate how you usually check in, though Mary - and thanks for that!

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  7. I agree with karen--the imagery with the fireflies is beautiful. I enjoy reading your blog--one of the few I make time for. I mostly write for myself and don't really expect an audience. Although I have found that I have really enjoyed getting to know other bloggers. It reminds me of when I was in elementary school and had "pen pals" from across the country and even one in Japan. It makes me feel connected to my world.

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