I didn’t bother to look back at my other posts to see if I have used this heading before. Listening, I think it is the most important contributor to healing our world. I also believe it has to start long before the listening of diplomacy. Listening at a diplomatic level is as essential as an other listening, but at that level the stress is so high that the risk of failure is much greater.
Robert Johnson in his book Owning Your Own Shadow writes, “You can give another person a precious gift if you will allow them to talk without contaminating their speech with your own material.”
Less of us can be a very good thing, but we must remain present.
This morning I finished writing a story for my monthly newspaper column in the Peterborough, NH Ledger-Transcript. It had to do with dragons. The dragons that appear in our midst challenging us to pass. For me writing is one of the keys to getting by them.
This afternoon I returned home from work and was spending some quality time on our back deck when I noticed a dragon fly floating in our dog’s water dish. The dragon didn’t look like he was taking a drink, but rather drowning. I had seen one before in this predicament, but not able to save it.
This one remained alive so I tried gently pouring out the water, but in the transition one of the wings bent back. I went inside and tore off a small slice of paper towel. Returning to the porch, I slid the towel toward the dragon-fly thinking I could I slide under it. The dragon grabbed on right away and held as I walked it to a nearby table.
As I sat in a chair watching I noticed its wings had returned to their proper place. Suddenly, the dragon fly fluttered them but didn’t go airborne. I watched hopefully as the dragon wiped its face.
After about five minutes, its wings beat rapidly and the dragon took to the air. As the dragon lifted over the roof of our house, I thought I heard it say something, but couldn’t catch what it was. No matter, now I know dragons talk. This should come in handy next time I want to get by one.
In Owning Your Own Shadow, author Robert Johnson writes, “Narrow creativity always brings a narrow shadow, while broader talents call up a greater portion of the dark.”
Most of my life I thought that avoiding my shadow meant success. Now I am distressed to learn how totally untrue this is. It is incredible to me that I have found in my writing a willingness to do just the opposite. More than a willingness, I have an almost panicky desire to dance in the shadows. I can’t get there fast enough.
I hope you learned to dance before I did.
Robinson Jeffers built a stone tower as part of his home in Carmel, California. Dr. Peter Quigley quotes scholar Theodore Ziolkowski as having said, “the tower was not the realization of an image long present in Jeffers’s poetry, just the opposite.”
The tower worked to produce the poetry.
Whatever our means of making poetry, how great it would be if all our homes “worked to produce” it. The home we have lived in for twenty years has done that for me. Most of that work was in my unconscious and is only now commuting to my conscious being. All of it has been a joy.
Dear writers, how many narrative voices do you use? What is the difference between finding your voice and employing a narrative voice? These and many more questions I am examining as I write a book that is fast becoming a memoir.
I work hard to find times of angst. Doing so takes me back in time. Who said there are no time machines?
Some days I flounder against angst’s mother ship. I produce a whiny narrative voice. What is that? Not good I think.
In all instances, I try to include a voice that can express humor. I am hoping that by doing so I will find a sound that can appraise up close and at a distance in conversational tones.