Sunday, February 12, 2006

Mysteries & Revolutions!


Look at the little set of journals I couldn't resist buying this weekend! This is an addiction I'm sure I share with very very many other folks who may find their way to this post: journal-buying. Like candy! And it's so exciting to imagine what may fill them some day. It strums at the mind. A dozen little polka-dotted journals that will someday jostle and overflow with ideas and quotes and swatches of fabric and little doodles... a future of ideas. That's what a blank book is! I will likely begin with one of my lists of the projects that need immediate attention. Such a calming thing to do, list-making. Reading Meg's entry about picking a direction when many different ideas tug at you, I can relate absolutely. Jim and I have known for years what our super power of choice would be: the ability to stop time, just for ourselves, and while everyone was frozen in place we'd get to go on creating, writing, snatching necessary naps, squeezing more juice out of each day. (If we ever get this gift out of a super power grab bag, I'll let worthy kindred spirits in on it too!) It can be overwhelming when the ideas flow too fast.

There must be a stern little custodian at the gate of ideas (I imagine this gate to be in one's ear, somehow, that that's where the ideas, like little people, come and go) who lets out only a few at a time. This little man, he has quite a serious mustache that he grooms like it's a pet, a great ring of keys at his hip, a pocket watch, and a persnickety look on his face and he is unmoved by the pleading and wheedling of ideas. He is disciplined, even if I am not. His job is to keep me from being overrun by ideas, trampled and exhausted by them. He requires that I make lists. The lists give ideas physical reality even before I have followed through on their creation, and my reward is getting to check them off! So many, many ideas, I must not ever let them learn that if they wanted to they could overpower me. They would start a revolution. I would be powerless!

While we were in Seattle this weekend, Alexandra and I shared a lament to boredom. That is, to the fact that there are folks who reach their hands out into this mysterious, twirling, seething, wild, heartbreaking, sonorous world and manage to come back with... nothing. That there are folks with a capacity for boredom!! Impossible! Unimaginable! Infuriating! They should be forced to surrender their dead time to those of us who can find a use for it! This world is many things. It is wicked and vulgar, it is thrilling and uplifting, it teems with kindness and grace and cruelty and tragedy, it is by turns funny, horrifying, delicious, capricious, bitter and sweet and a million other things, and it is never ever ever ever ever boring!

I just finished reading a book that lit my mind on fire in the best possible way -- A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell. Read it! Read it! (And her other books too.) It's a novel about the Italian resistence in the final years of World War II and the remarkable way the Italian people rallied to protect both native and refugee Jews at tremendous cost to themselves, saving nearly 50,000 lives (true). It's a story about the best and worst of humanity, about dirt-poor uneducated peasants who would sooner starve than turn over fellow humans for a reward, even strangers, even to feed their own children. It's one of those books - my favorite kind of book - that lights up a shadowy corner of history and makes it real and human in a way only fiction can do, because it takes fiction to give fact flesh. It's one of those books that when you read it, you have a feeling that if only everyone would read it, the world would learn something and become a better place. Wishful thinking, but it makes you want to proselytize for it, so I am: read it! And if you do, let me know!

One final thing, one of my favorite quotes:
"I would rather live in a world surrounded by mystery, than live in a world so small my mind could comprehend it all."
- Harry Emerson Fosdick

19 comments:

megg said...

*sigh* so good to have you back!!

THANK YOU for your knid words of encouragement and your inspight. What an astounding brain you have. You are so so creative! I love reading what you have to say. You have a turn of phrase that makes me smile out loud!!

May I recommend a book too? It's called, "The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a bodyguard)" It puts to life all of the people you could possibly need to finish a project. Your caretaker would fit right in there!!

P.S. I LOVE to journals!! Who makes them? SO glad to have you back!

chest of drawers said...

I often wish I could get back those hours when I was not creating, when I didn´t know what to do with my time, when I was (dare I say it?) BORED!

HoBess said...

So glad you had a great weekend!

I never really thought about it until my whining kids heard from their Grandpa: "Only boring people get bored."

And the way you share your feelings here paints a powerful picture ... I imagine someone with a checkbook but the account is filled with time to be given away.

Laini Taylor said...

Hi Meg! I'll check that book out. As for the journals, I got them at a wonderful store called Paper Source (www.paper-source.com) but I just looked and didn't see them on the website. Other good stuff though. And thanks, Claudia & Hobess for your comments!

Jamie said...

I absolutely adore your idea of people bored with their time handing it over to those that will savour every juicy minute! My mom always said, "You're bored? And you live in this world?"

Alexandra S said...

I wish that you really could stop time so that every single one of your wonderful ideas could be created and out in the world for the rest of us, from your plates to your witch story to many, many other things!
I actually feel sad for people who find themselves bored. I think we are living in a time when so many people have become so glued to their computers and televisions that they no longer even suspect that they might be able to create something themselves. All these riches that lie in each and every bored person that they likely will never ever ever know. *sigh*
As for those journals, I thought you had bought those for me!??! That is what you'd said anyway at the cash register, but thats ok. I'm so used to your plucking gifts from right under my nose. Just like with that green candleabra and the Mexican armoire....poor -----.

melba said...

I feel the same way about boredom! I am never, ever, ever bored. Even if I am alone waiting with nothing to read or write...I can daydream and explore and wonder and think. I do not understand boredom at all. Sometimes my husband says he is bored and I look at him like, Are you crazy? This is usually when he has unpleasant work stuff or house stuff to do and is procrastinating. Still. Even when I am doing tasks I dislike I don't feel bored, there is too much fire in me...

beansprout said...

Just found your blog via another. Such wonderful creations you are bringing into the world. I can't remember who said, "Nothing real is boring." It's true.

Cate said...

I don't get bored. I get overwhelmed! Too many ideas and an inability to challenge my energy properly. That being said, journaling helps me prioritize, figure out where I need to be going! I love your colorful new books. What a joy it will be, filling those up!

Love reading your posts--so vibrant and enthusiastic! Glad you had a fine weekend!

Laini Taylor said...

Thanks, Cate! And I'm the same way -- I never have just one project going at a time, but as soon as I cross the line into having too many at once, I start to self-destruct, like a robot I start turning in circles, smoke coming out of my ears, saying "Does not compute" over and over, then I might give up and watch TV all evening. Balance is very important!
And hi, Beansprout! (love that name) I think there's a lot to that quote - I know when I have traveled in other cultures, the most mundane daily tasks can seem fascinating, because they are true, and because they are so alien. Thanks for visiting!

Frankie said...

What an amazingly wonderful post! There are no words to describe how much I agree with you about all of this. What a fantastic view of the world you have, and I've taken some of your descriptions and quoted you in my journal to look back on and be inspired by time and again. Thanks so much for the book recommendation, I've been looking for something new and different to read, and thanks too for the fabulous quote! It spoke to my heart so greatly. I think that you're really amazing, Laini and I always picture your life as being a wonderous, colorful adventure of a place. I'm so glad I can share in it through your blog. I'm a better person for it. Thank you.

Colorsonmymind said...

Thanks for your comments on my blog.

I love the journals!

I too would love to stop time for the very same reason.

liz elayne said...

yes. yes. yes. i love this post. you have shared so many ideas that my brain is turning...
this books sounds very interesting - love book suggestions! thank you.
and delightful to hear that you enjoyed your time in seattle. never fear, the gray sky and rain was back today so you got to experience the best of February.

baylor said...

First, I LOVE those journals! I am a journal freak. I have a ton filled up, but even more blank because I can't stop buying them!!!!! The ones you have bought are beautiful. I buy them as gifts for people all the time, willing them to want what a journal can do for them as much as does for me!

Your illustrations (and writing, of course) are incredible!

And this quote, (which I am also a collector of) left me feeling refreshed today...

Thank you!

holli said...

What a wonderful, inspirational post.. no - life could never be boring.. by definition alone!

I love the journals - but that elephant is.. SO CUTE!! I have a certain style of animals that I just love.. and he is perfect!

So many blog posts today about wonderful books.. I feel guilty for my lapse in reading lately. Especially whilst promoting horrible television programming!! I should shred my degree in the office shredder! PFTZ!!

MARYBETH said...

WOW!
where did you find these magical journals??
As much as I LOVE chocolate, a box of these would make a perfect Valentines gift =)

MARYBETH said...

P.S.

Count me in on the TIME STOPPING SPELL.
Namaste
MB

Turtle Jones said...

"...a future of ideas"...Such a great description! Makes me feel a little better about my journal buying addiction :) I love your style!

twistedsoda said...

I love those journals, where on earth did you get them??? I have always had the love of writing in many books...the problem for me is that I never finish the ones I have and move on to the next so easily. I just can't help it though...my love for anything paper is a big one!