Tor House is the name Robinson and Una Jeffers gave the house they built in Carmel, California. Tor comes from the rocky points they saw when visiting Dartmoor, England. The home was important to his poetry. My house is important to my writing. There our similarities end.
He built his house. I live in mine. They built theirs with stone carved from the boulders of the coastline in Carmel. Someone built ours a long time ago and then more recently someone else put aluminum siding on it. I don’t even have to paint it and yet I feel ownership. Just by being present.
Robinson did all that work on his home and still had time to write. Very little of my home competes for my writing time. I think, “advantage Bob.” An advantage I have yet to capitalize on. Maybe I should build a shed or something.
In “On Art”, an essay by Edward O. Wilson in the anthology Biopoetics, Wilson writes, “I emphasize the expansive role of poetry to argue that whereas art and science are basically different in execution, they are convergent in what they might eventually disclose about human nature.”
How does that happen? Does it happen? What do they disclose about human nature?
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.
“Where do I begin…on the heels of Rimbaud moving like a dancing bullet thru the secret streets of a hot New Jersey night filled with venom and wonder.” Bob Dylan, liner notes to Desire (1976)
High overhead on poles,
Illuminated a young lady
As she presented
A single tap
To a golf ball
Into forward motion.
By the beauty’s energy
The dimply sphere sparkled
In the same rays of light
Squadrons of bugs overhead.
I stood transfixed
Hoping for words
Beyond my imaginings
The New Jersey night
Into more permanent bliss.
© Copyright 2014 Robert B. Ritchie
In Story Engineering Larry Brooks writes, “Theme in any story is analogous to health in our daily lives – the abundance of it vs. the lack of it defines how well we function. A state of heath – and theme – is always present, good or bad, valued or not. Bad health leads to a compromised life. A lack of theme leads to a compromised story.”
I am finding that memoir and fiction writing are closely related. I used to think only poetry could improve my prose, but memoir is producing ideas that are very convertible.
Writers have been in trouble for presenting fiction as memoir. I am surprised that it has not more often been the reverse.
Humans are like a dog and a cat
Vying for the attentions
Of a godlike master,
That their master could love