Like many writers, I am a collector of words. For years, I kept a notebook of lines from poems that I loved, sometimes even the whole poem. There is something about writing down beautiful words, even if they are not yours, that changes you. That changes your writing as well, or so it has for me. Studies show that when we smile, there is a chemical reaction in those muscles that makes us actually feel happier. When I write – or rather, copy, these words, I find that they become part of me much more than if I simply read them and close the book. Today, I’m resuming that practice. As I get more tired, more emotional, I need this beauty more than ever, and putting it in my notebook reminds me that magic is always there to be discovered.
Starting today, on Mondays – as I return to rush-hour traffic, a reasonable bed-time, making to-do lists, and all the rest – I’ll post my notebook entry here. I hope you’ll follow me!
Here is my first Monday quote, from Tomas Transtromer’s “Morning Birds:”
Fantastic to feel how my poem grows
While I myself shrink.
It grows, it takes my place.
It pushes me aside.
It throws me out of the nest.
The poem is ready.
These words describe the bittersweet nature of creation, whether it is a child, a painting, a poem. Eventually we are succeeded by our creations, are thrown from the nest by them – but are left to behold them with wonder.