Wednesday, December 3, 2008


The sounds: the scrape of metal against stone as plow moves down backstreets, sleet on forgotten leaves like boiling pasta, the angry buzz of car motor in the morning.

The sights: clotted snow falling, bird tracks in dusty snow.

The smells: poppy seed and pumpernickel, the burned smell of furnace chugging.

The touch: his arm draped across my chest in sleep, the rubbery flick of frozen fingers (like sausages, like rolled out bouncy balls), the way my shoulders never feel quite the same all winter long as snow is hefted over fences.

The tastes: the slippery turkey grease on the counter, the tartness of raspberry hard cider.

I'm having trouble, these days, taking imaginative leaps. Similes and metaphors have been my connective tissue, and now, I'm running in circles in flat prose. But it's about exercise, about exerting ourselves methodically, of daily writing. Practice, practice. It's what the athletes and musicians do with much logic, but when a writer sits down before the blank page, there's a certain expectation that this draft is it. But the truth is, as this blog can attest, we all make mistakes, these gorgeously repeated blunders, in the hopes that, in the end, it makes us better. And better is the only place I can go.

Happy Wednesday. Tomorrow marks the beginning of the last week of classes for the semester: the last class I'll "teach" (though how much did my students teach me?) and the second to last office hour. I cannot even begin to wrap my mind around how quickly it has gone.


Lisa said...

Oh, Molly, I love this. I have to keep reading it before I can come up with something more articulate to say ... but yes yes yes.

Lyz said...

gorgeously repeated blunders...

That is like the story of my life. You are a lovely person. And I adore this blog.

Heidi said...

I missed this when you first posted, but had to comment now that I've read it, that I think you've pointed out something so important with the idea of practice and writing and the liberation in adopting a musician's or athlete's mentality. Of course you practice, you do it daily, you are not expected to run the marathon or play the whole symphony on your first shot. It's freeing for me to look back on a lifetime of stories in drawers and on hard drives and know they were not a waste of time that came to nothing. They were the practice I needed to bring me to the place I am now. Wonderful reminder. Thank you--for this observation, and for your lyrical blog.