Sunday, November 5, 2017

Yanara Friedland : Writing day

I live in the far north now, after having lived in the far south, after the deep mountains, after growing up in a bordered city… Once, many years ago, I wrote, “the only thing I know, now and then, is how to write.” By that I didn’t mean that I was a good writer or anything at all, but that it was, in fact, the only thing I knew to do regardless of where I lived, in what language I spoke, what the world caught. But, wait, I am asked to write about a writing day. It’s the last turn of summer; the leaves are turning into crinkles. The day is almost gone and I am watching the bluebird pick at plums.  I have not written a word except, of course, right now, writing as we speak. Listening as I write. The day is as much about endurance as it is about openings, small holes or unlocked doors. I am waiting for the deer that come to eat apples in the front yard around this time. The sky is a hard blue, a rare sight in this temperate sea-born place. At some point I will have to leave the house and go on a walk. I’ll avoid people as long as possible. A spider is at the window. The house is wrapped in webs. I really have no idea where I live. I stare and then stare again. The task is to not separate the light hitting the table, my nightmare, the limitation from whatever “work” I believe myself enacting. If there is no paper, or no will, I’ll take a book from the shelf. To state what you do is to curse yourself. To write is to spell and curse. There are no writing days. There are days. There are curses. There are deer eating apples. It is a voice within that says: The only thing I know, now and then, is how to write… 

Yanara Friedland is a German-American writer, translator, and teacher. Her first book Uncountry: A Mythology was the winner of the 2015 Noemi Press Fiction award. “Abraq ad Habra: I will Create As I Speak,” a digital chapbook, is available from Essay Press.  She is the recipient of research grants from the DAAD and Arizona Commission on the Arts, supporting her current book project Groundswell, a chorography of border regions in the Germany-Polish and Sonoran borderlands. She is the director of MyLife Tucson, a community archive, hosted by the Jewish History Museum in Tucson and teaches at Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies.

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