December 9, 2009

delicious ambiguity

the last of it

yellow leaves clinging on to my frail little crepe myrtle. my last little bit of fall color. they have fought valiantly against the wind and rain this week, but i think by this weekend they will be gone. the oak tree has steadily dropped tons of leaves on the front yard, a carpet of russet and brown. next door, the camellias have started blooming.

i've erased at least five paragraphs that followed that opening paragraph. words haven't come easy today. i think about writers like hemingway who could say so much in six little words or marquez who took forever to express his intricate thoughts. (many years later, as he faced the firing squad, colonel aureliano buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.) how is it that those writers can so capture me?

hemingway later told one of my favorite writers, fitzgerald, that he wrote one good page for every 90 pages of crap (paraphrased there) and that his goal was to put the 90 pages in the garbage. in reading, 'the sun also rises' - i wonder how many pages he discarded to get the sheer beauty of that book.

so back to the question of many paragraphs do i need to discard to get where i want to be? mostly likely my answer is that i didn't have a clear idea of what i wanted to write today. and that is the way it is most days. i open a blank page and words sometime tumble out easily. not so much today. part if it is due to a lack of sleep - don't you really hate it when the weather forecasters predict really bad weather? then everyone is nervous and uptight - my brother made me swear to keep my phone by the bed in case he needed to call me to tell me to go to the basement. (maybe we've watched twister once or twice) so i kept waking up all night long thinking i heard tornado sirens (i didn't)

i think i'm on the trail of someone to teach me knitting and/or crochet. i think i would be better at knitting. crochet seems rather mysterious and confusing from what i've watched. all that looping and switching and....dropping and...what all else that needle does. i think i'm officially too blind to keep sewing with a needle - last night it took me ten minutes to thread a needle. (note to self - go buy a self threader)

i've been on a recipe hunt again - i tend to make things over and over until i'm sick of them (once i master it, that is). so lately i've worn out spaghetti, chili and beef stew. i'm going to dive into those great meatloaf recipes you all gave me and let you know how it turns out. i feel a cooking urge coming on.

since i've proved that i'm no hemingway, i'll leave you with a couple of thoughts from other writers that say it better than me...

"twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. so throw off the bowlines. sail away from the safe harbor. catch the trade winds in your sails. explore. dream. discover."
— mark twain

"i wanted a perfect ending. now i've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. delicious ambiguity."
— gilda radner


  1. That's a gorgeous photo, Char - so crisp and full of promise.

    I love that quote by Gilda Radner - it's so true, and honestly, what I love about real life. Thanks for sharing it.

    And knitting is a great, mind-relaxing, just need to chill out, activity. I don't do it well or often, but when I do, I always find my inner creativity director bubbling up with new material...

  2. One photograph can worth 1,000 words. And then there are times when we need 1,000 to describe one photograph. It is what it is and will be.

    I love this quote of Gilda Radner's...

  3. Love the quotes. It's weird that they seemingly fit me today too.

  4. Why do I always imagine that the words just flow for others and not for me? I loved the quotes you offered, but I think you say it just fine, too.

    Oh, and that photo? Divine.

  5. as i type this through misty eyes all I can say is thank you your stunning image.

  6. It's a little sad to see Autumn, and all its splendor, take leave. But I guess Christmas coming in behind it makes up for the loss.

  7. Love this post today...true about not doing things...a favorite quote of mine by Mark Twain.

    Wonderful photo today!

  8. Why is it when every time you say you can't really think of anything to say, it comes out sounding like poetry? Huh, can you just tell me? When that happens to me, it comes out like a big fat piece of "bleh"!

    Love your ramblins, Char!

    Gorgeous photo!

  9. i love that quote by Mark Twain. so true. if we could just heed the wisdom.

    i have taken a photo almost exactly like that. in some ways i love the crepe myrtle more at this stage than in bloom. you photo is gorgeous so rich and warm

    i want to learn to knit or crochet too. haha i had the same issue with threading a needle for my popcorn strand. it took me forever to get it threaded. i almost gave up.

    always love your posts. : )

  10. Oh boy can I relate to the threading of a needle. I got the sewing machine out today to sew a little pouch for my hand painted ornaments. Turned out cute. You can easily teach yourself to knit. Funny...I made homemade meatloaf last night! It was really good. Basic stuff like oatmeal, crackers, worcestershire sauce, catsup, L&P steak sauce, onion and bell peppers and 3 eggs to 1 pound of meat turned out great.

    ps..i'm not at all a writer! :)

  11. I love the title of the post, Char. And the photo. Gilda Radner. Mark Twain, Hemingway and Fitzgerald. And meat loaf. With macaroni & cheese.

    Sometimes the words don't come so easy, but you always seem (to me, at least) to get it right.


  12. and I would love to crochet...
    hmmm, and your words a wonderful Charlane'll definitely make your mark in me, your words are there to be read by millions!
    Wonderful post...look forward to your cooking urge.
    Have a lovely evening.

  13. such a wonderful picture...i am learning to knit and i find that it is alot easier than crochet. that's just me. have a great evening!

  14. I just want to come and spend the day with you...taking great photos, making a fabo dessert to be eaten after making a new recipe that puts a smile on our face and then drink some hot tea while we laugh and cry while searching the internet for really GREAT words !

    want to ?

  15. Delicious ambiguity...sounds so exotic!

  16. I enjoyed your post. It felt like a letter.

    If you can get someone to show you the basics of "casting on" and the "knit stitch" are set. A beginning! You could even learn these two things via book or youtube videos. Have fun!

  17. PS: Have you ever read the children's book The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger? It's great--I bought it for my niece last year.

  18. that photo is amazing!

    writing is extremely difficult for me. the same goes for making art. ugh. it is a struggle and a half, but i have to say that you always seem to make it work.

    and thank you for your comment + gilda's rad words of wisdom. sometimes we need super tips and pearls of wisdom from others. it just helps.

  19. First of all, I love the photo! Secondly, I think that it's okay that we don't always have to right words to describe or even to write something earth-shattering everyday. some folks only post the earth-shattering. and others just the day to day. to be honest, i like the day to day. that's what grabs my attention. it's here and it's real. yes, it's nice when you have an ah ha! moment or when you feel satisfied with what you wrote. but it's okay to just be sometimes too. while you feel you were just being today, you made perfect sense to me.

  20. i my home, my husband does more sewing than i do (he does many of his own shirts and trousers) but can never thread a needle on his own. haha

  21. wow.... Your talent is beyond mesure. Writer... photographer... you can do it all. I bet your "90 pages of crap" are anything but!

  22. love the photo. I too would love to know how to knit. Oh, and I think mark twain said it perfectly.

  23. this is a great site for learning to knit... with good instructional videos for how to do even the very basics.

  24. Love Gilda. Just noticed you write with no caps. (duh! where have I been??) Love that! I always write that way when it's just something I'll see. You and e. e. cummings...

  25. Char,
    I too love the Christmas Story movie and a local boy here got his tongue stuck to a flag pole yesterday here just like the movie.
    Also I love that quote the First blog I had in 2004 was named the title of your post from Gilda Radner's quoted.

  26. love the photo and the prose...i want to make stuff for old sweaters LOL

  27. I love that you wrote this. The struggle that I've been having lately with my blogs are exactly what you have written. I've tossed so many posts because they didn't sound right. But you reminded me of the importance of "rough drafts" . . . the material that goes through fire before coming out in the end as pure gold. Ha!

    P.S. Great selection of quotes!

  28. Thank you for your words all the same!

  29. Yeah...what Susan said.
    She took the words right out of my mind..or rather, I was thinking those very words and then saw them so beautifully laid out already!

    You are the most wonderful rambler. A true writer, who can express perfectly, just about anything. (even when she thinks her words aren't coming out easy.)

  30. fantastic!

    great quotes...
    and i love what you said about

    now i want to read.

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i feel as if each comment was between us as we sat and sipped something warm....i love to hear what you're thinking.