Outside, it is raining.

October 28, 2009 at 6:56 pm | Posted in writing | 20 Comments

Let’s not pretend. It is late afternoon and the activity in which I am engaged is typing. Which is preceded by thinking. Which makes for boring prose. When there is no time lag between the thinking and the typing, that activity I call writing. People are always telling me to write straightforwardly about my life. I can’t imagine what could be less interesting, even if I had a more interesting life.

I am sitting in an office on my own. Outside the office window it is grey and raining. Beside the keyboard a cup of tea is cooling. I wish it was early morning and I was lying next to someone warm and soft and completely relaxed and breathing and smiling in her sleep. To restrain myself from waking her by allowing my fingertips to marvel at the aliveness of her skin I would have to get out of bed.

This may be the longest piece I have ever written. It’s not that I have a short attention span, just that I see part of the skill of writing as condensation, the ability to say more using less words. Precision is the mark of an artisan in any field. The kiss would be placed at the exact point where her shoulder meets her neck, where the skin softens and pales and disappears beneath the cascade of her curls while the tips of my fingers traced the inside of her thigh.

I remember being less alive than I am now. In fact, the act of writing makes me feel very alive, makes me feel as if I am engaged in an activity with meaning. Nothing has meaning without context, including humans. Meaning is fluid, it is found in the relationship between things. When I am writing there is always someone reading, the words are not here, they are between us, connecting us and I would stand at the window staring at the rain, sipping tea and trying my best not to climb back into bed and be entranced by the rise and fall of her breathing.


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  1. Paul, this post, and “An Appeal to Reverse Fate,” well… As you know, there are many ways of poetry. Are you, perhaps, in the process of finding another way that belongs to you? These shifts in your writing… beautiful to witness 😉

  2. just a beautiful reading, aliveness thing, happening. the more you write, the more it happens. as for precision, also it is fluid in your
    process. or it would not be as it is, of the true. and it is raining here right now as i write.

  3. i… love this.

  4. Strangely, maybe, it reminds me of my art history classes in high-school. The teacher bought us a few sketches, drawing exercises and other doodles by famous painters. And whilst they were different than the finished paintings – more airy, and somehow less intentional – I still found them delightful.
    Thanks for the sketck 

  5. Beautiful.

  6. Look here Mr. Squires! Yeah, right there under your feet! See it? Yeah it’s a track, it’s right and by gawd almight you are on it! This one made me happy, for you and for those who read you.

  7. Lovely to read about the act of writing as it is happening and the drawing of your attention around you, back to bed, and the movement of you consciousness from inside of your head back out to reflecting about the space around you and your relationship to both your roommate and to your readers all in a circle around you as you write. What a wonderful piece about the writing process.

  8. That’s some typewriter you got there!

  9. Very nice philosopher Squires. Communication is to be understood and acknowledged by other beings, we all have our own means of communicating, via writing, voice, art, touch, music. It does make you feel alive – if we can’t communicate we shrivel up and cease to exist. It is I believe the connections that give meaning to the world. Writing makes me feel alive too.

  10. i was looking forward to this being longer. tell us more about the cup of tea, or indeed the keyboard.

  11. So beautiful — luminescent writing about writing, about the meaning of writing, and the action of writing, both within and without.

  12. This is beautiful, the real you resounding through these words…between us! I loved that bit especially.

  13. Hi Paul – I like what you’ve said there about writing seeming to be about ‘condensing’ – it seems the best way to keep the reader involved – to cut out words unnecessary!

  14. Meaning is fluid and expands as it flows. I like daydream prosey pieces.

  15. This is stunningly beautiful Paul, you are most definitely incapable of producing boring prose. I am moved to tears (both inward and outward) in sheer appreciation of your lovely words…

    Your writing shines with a quality that cannot be easily described, and most certainly could never be replicated. I feel that if I never had the chance to read another thing in my life, that would be OK, because perfection lies here…

  16. ‘It’s not that I have a short attention span’ I do but sometimes, just sometimes my attention span can be stretched. As here, right now reading your words. I am liking such, muchly.I am there in the shadows.

  17. Beautiful and dreamy. Such a treat to read.

  18. definitely back to bed…love the sense of breath throughout

  19. seems to me that you have accomplished~ what the advice was given.
    you made an ordinary life interesting.
    I liked the reading.

  20. ahhh…engage… thaz whatitzabout….

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