Monday, April 16, 2018

Micheline Maylor : My Writing Day: Out of, and into, the Grey

It’s been snowing for a dog’s year. My one open eye sees the fluff and the hunter-green tree silhouettes in the window frame. In the between of sleep and awake I try to record with as much accuracy as possible my dreams, often the seeds of my poems. I like the surreal nature of the night talkings and what appears in the oddest ways. This morning, I recall a dream about Richard Harrison who has called me to a meeting, but he has racoon hands! He me a gift out pulled of a puddle and held in his furry fingers. I think it’s a raspberry, but I’m not sure. I open my other eye. How the hell will I make a poem out of that? Never mind, I rise and head for the coffee machine. I add a shot of espresso for good measure. I can see we are going to be snowed in today, might as well be buzzed and finish the laundry, or unpack a box from two years ago when I moved in. Some tasks are patient. Writing is not a patient task. If I hear the writing call, I go. Everything else is a patient task. Everything. Which explains why my whole life looks like I left something in the middle. I did.
            I left it all to write a few lines of this or that, my computer desk top looks like a rummage sale. Artists know that the best creative ideas come from making odd and unusual connections. I figure a good dose of disorganization is good for new ways of seeing. Sometime the things lying next to one another make the connection, like an unbidden gift in animal hands. A gift from the dark.
            I’m reading five things at once, one about trees and how they communicate with one another, a poetry book about an artist, The Walrus, a book on symbols, and another on the history of ballads. I think I have reading ADD. I can’t shake the dream I had about Richard Harrison’s racoon hands. I wonder if I should tell him. Nah. It couldn’t really happen even if it was a warning or an omen, or a symbol. I’ll keep it to myself.
            The image of the raspberry is fulsome in my mind’s eye. I call to mind these lines of Irving Layton from Berry Picking:

Silently my wife walks on the still wet furze
Now dark green the leaves are full of metaphors
Now lit up is each tiny lamp of blueberry.
The white nails of rain have dropped and the sun is free.

The white nails of rain. There is an image I can appreciate. I turn on some music. Kate Bush, of course, my favourite, and I begin with a line that may or may not pull up a big one, the big fish, the big raspberry, the poem of a lifetime, or a phrase destined to become a long-lost dream, or an untouched file on my desktop:

            If I look back into the very foolishness
of childhood memory, I remember
with impeccable clarity the wonder
of every-day, even the grey sky . . .

This is all an experiment; this is some tepid shit. I need to do better. I’m just trying to stay out of the white nails of precipitation.

Dr. Micheline Maylor is Poet Laureate of Calgary. Maylor attained a Ph.D. at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne in English Language and Literature with a specialisation in Creative Writing and 20th Century Canadian Literature. She teaches creative writing at Mount Royal University in Calgary where she won the 2015 Teaching Excellence Award, and was short-listed for the Robert Kroetsch award for experimental poetry. She is a University of Calgary Senator, a Tedx talker, a Walrus talker, and she was the Calgary Public Library Author in Residence (2016). She serves as poetry editor at Frontenac House Press. She is the co-founder of Freefall Literary Society and remains a consulting editor. Her latest poetry collection is Little Wildheart with U of A Press (2017). 

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