Montag, 2. Juni 2014

Canvases (1) - catching stuff in midair with pen and paper

"The present is a freely given canvas. That it is constantly being ripped apart and washed downstrream goes without saying; it is a canvas, nevertheless." from: Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

When I was riding my car the other day to pick up my daughter from school, I listened to a broadcast on my car radio about so called diary slams. People read from their old diaries to an audience. And they usually pick up the hilarious stuff like " I really want to move to England to live with Take That. I know they would understand me much better than my parents do". Listening to this stuff made me laugh so hard, I almost drove straight into the traffic coming the opposite direction. It wasn't long until that evening, and  I was going through my own old diaries, 154 of them, and sure enough I found great stuff too. After all, I had been in love with Leslie McKeown from the Bay City Rollers and I had also been in love with approximately 25 different boys until I turned 20, so there was stuff without end to make me and everybody else role on the floor with hysterical laughter. But there were also, in the diaries I wrote after being 25 or so, really interesting pieces, quotes and ideas, which ultimately became part of poems or essays or simply my life, the way I try to live it. Often they took 20 years to resurface again in whatever form. They came, while I was writing into my diary and I was lucky to be able to catch them in midair with pen on paper, but than they were gone again, deep under the layers of my everyday life. When I read Annie Dillard and found the quote I put at the beginning of this, I thought: "Thats what they are! Little canvases I tried to hold on to, but again and again they were washed downstream. But catching them, for a second knowing what they meant, was always the ultimate being present in the Here and Now.
So I decided I edit my diary (which has also a connection to two books, I've read recently The Journal Keeper: A Memoir and Journal of Solitude, which both gave me the idea in the first place, that one could edit her journals, if she has over 150 in boxes stacked in different places in her apartment and is wondering, what should happen to them, who will read them, if she say: drops dead like now) in two different forms: the one I will call Diary Slam and it will be in German. Because the funny stuff is too hard to translate. The other one I will call Canvases and it will be in English, because it is often written in English anyway and if not, I feel I can translate it more properly. So here you will find some of those canvases, freely given to me into my fleeting consciousness to be wiped away soon or maybe later, more often sooner. So this post is most of all the desperate wish to keep those thoughts as close as possible to my consciousness, so they might for an instant shape my existence. May I have the strenght and also the grace to live up to them - eventually. They are also what I saved from many pages of compost I produced over the years to nourish my writing and thinking. I went through my diaries at random, so there are many more, I have not even looked at. This is just a random compilation, to be continued whenever I find the time (and strength, I might add: to read 400 pages of, well, blablablablabla to finally come across a thought worth know what I mean, if you also keep a journal..

4/1/1995 Richmond/Va
About my recent remark the other day that I try on different roles, which are alluring as mere possibilities, once they become reality though they might actually make me throw up: of course I meant to say that, in all the major parts, I still don't know who I am, and therefore pretend to be somebody. Often this "somebody" dissolves into steam, because the role is wrong for me, or I am too afraid to play it in all consequence. Samual R.Delany writes in his book "The motion of Light in Water": "...but Auden himself had already noted,...that human beings are creatures who can never become anything without pretending to be it first...."

4/5/1995 Richmond/Va
The world is my home and my heart is a sailor.

1/15/2002 Berlin
There is a fairy tale called "The little drummer" and at one point it says: "The world belongs to the fearless." Which I think is true. I want to be fearless. I am not. But I want to reduce my fear inch by inch, day by day and dare doing what I fear, that way becoming myself.

10/28/2004 Berlin
"When we understand another's feelings and his situation thoroughly, all our suffering disappears." Thich Nhat Hanh
Which is true. The moment I understand another's situation and his feelings, my suffering ends. I then understand everything he or she does and don't interpret it anymore as hurting me (maybe even on purpose). Though you have to be willing to let go. That is the ultimate condition for this to happen.

10/7/2006 Berlin
It is not possible to force your life into a certain direction. Because somehow it is already there. The only important thing is to become quiet enough in order to understand and ultimately fulfill it. All the noise your toughts and actions make, keep you from that. Fear, anger, prejudices. When I read old journals, I find so many lists about how I want to be better, what I want to reach, what I want to acquire. Most things on those lists sound fabulous, but most are also very far away from my reality, so they often seem to have a grain of violence in them. I want to force life against all odds. And usually, say like six years later, I am not much closer to reaching those listed goals. Because they are not my life. I will know, what my goals are, when I am finally quiet enough to understand my life, here and now.

11/12/2011 Berlin
Just like truth is not static, lie is always different, on the move, depending on the eye of the beholder. I have a very strong urge to find truth in everything. I long for truth. And yet: lies can be the truth, they can carry more truth then truth itself.

2013 Berlin
"The first principle of warriorship is: to be not afraid of who you are. That is ultimately the definition of bravery: not being afraid of yourself." Chögyam Trungpa, from: The sacred path of the warrior.
I found this quote in an old journal, written in 1995, right after I had moved to Berlin, coming directly from Richmond/Virginia. Back then I started to understand what this could mean. Now, in 2013, I know exactly what he wanted to say - which doesn't mean, I am one milimeter closer to living it.

2/14/2013 Berlin
My longing is my home.

2/17/2013 Berlin
Open the box. Open the box to all your secrets and go to bed as early, as you can.
Read as much as you can and choose only books you really want to read.
Open the box.

3/7/2013 Berlin
A list of ways to nurture my writing: Plenty of time for myself, creative and positive people around me, my garden, meditation, reading good books
I know I have to row the boat, even when feeling powerless and like a victim. Nothing can be created by my sole enterprise. I am part of a universal net. It is a misconception to think one is alone. One is never alone. One is always reponsible to make the best out of everything. Row the boat.

3/23/2013 Berlin
"In a state of pure consciousness you produce light and project it to the outside world. The light comes from inside." Marina Abramovic

4/10/2013 Berlin
When I long for spring during spring and it does not come, I become really irritated. If I notice my bitter thoughts and immediately start to go into what I feel instead of spinning off a whole story around my bitter thoughts, it makes a tremendous difference. Everything changes and I understand again and again how difficult it is to feel your feelings, If I tell myself a story it is a perfect way to run from my feelings.

6/27/2013 Berlin
"Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
                 confinement of your aloneness
                 to learn
                 anything or anyone
                 that does not bring you alive
                 is too small for you."    David Whyte

© Susanne Becker

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