I love the hyper-inter-textuality of this blog post by Kelly Salasin in which she recounts the various strains of our mostly rushed but genuine conversation(s). A perfect glimpse into the kind of satisfying cyborg back-and-forth it is still possible to have. There is something that feels like a throwback to me about this -- mid-to-late 90s (I have never met this person) and something very much of the moment, the exact moment of hitting "Like." 

Yesterday after run/walking up the river from the parent-teacher conference at Wally's school I stopped on the grass for a minute just to be by myself before rejoining the rest of the world.

I thought about how having a dog in the past had forced so much alone time, the perfect kind of time alone, walking through Prospect Park, reassured even in the woodsy areas, or empty winter fields, that I was protected by one of the most powerful creatures we are allowed to own. Perfect companionship, and the crunch of leaves, the wandering thoughts, ideas for songs, the sense-memory of other walks and other winters rising up around me. 

Yesterday during this stolen moment by the river I sat with a tiny journal and made a gratitude list. Every now and then I see one of those yoga/mindfulness/healing/whole living type of reminders about "Make a gratitude list every day" and I say I will, but drop off after only a few.

Then I took my phone out to snap a pic and immediately felt frustrated  

with my impulse to post the photo somewhere, even to just think of posting it somewhere, that newly created need to share instantaneously, to break the commune with the fall evening and the river and myself, to even just mentally break it by thinking about a "Here's where I am right now" glimpse for others to read where ever they are right then, each one of those messages supposed to connect us but often hurling us further and further apart.

And then I couldn't resist the impulse to check Twitter on my phone. "Ugh," I thought, even as I swiped away. "Why am I doing this when I am outside alone sitting on the grass feeling this beautiful, chilly breeze from the water?" But I did. I only installed Twitter on Saturday so I could live-update from #MomsDemandAction campaign at Washington Square Park, like the one of this Hillary-supporting Veteran and his daughter. 

So anyway on Twitter I found a happy message from a one Kelly Salasin who said she was starting a new blog specifically for the purpose of elaborating on our mixed-media conversation. And I thought - Oh wow, yay! Awesome. Then I went home and went back out because I forgot cat food and had dinner with the kids (pea soup & buttered toast inspired by Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel).


And then I put the kids to bed and cleaned up and you know the usual routine went through the mail poked around spooked myself with election news watched the Season Finale of Scandal from last spring and...forgot...

Until this morning when I tried to pause before jumping into the awkward melange of work and panicked poll-checking that has become my work-life lately and I remembered--Kelly Salisin! That writer in Vermont with the many, many blogs who now started a new one...another one...after seeming to be offended that I praised her many, multiplying blogs...

My first exposure to her work was through her writing on This Vermont Life. It caught my eye on Twitter, must have been re-tweeted from someone I knew, because I am always dreaming of a Vermont Life, entertaining pastoral fantasies, wondering if I can be a country mouse in the city. 

At the same time as I started reading her entries I was reading Wired to Create by Scott Barry Kaufman and felt emboldened by learning that those who tend to finish projects score lower on creativity than those who, well, just keep starting various projects. Instead of viewing my heap of rough novel drafts and song possibilities and half-sketched-essays and rough blog posts as a failure, I started to see it as indicative of a productive creative life, if not an outwardly successful creative one.

I'm not scared of posting things publicly (obviously) and I'm not unable to finish projects, as evidenced by my published books, (twice as many as I'm allowed to mention, by contract a bunch of children's books don't have my name but at least my kids know I wrote them) and non-profit proposals and Master's thesis, etc. So why is it then that I start another project daily? Maybe it is an authentic creative impulse, and not fear or resistance. 

I tried to communicate some of this to Kelly, that her many, many blogs showed great blossoming, generative, creativity but maybe I mixed it my own mishigas too much, seeming to accuse her of lacking discipline? I am honestly not sure. In this recent piece she writes about her reaction to my comment:

"i remained silent for days and days.
contemplating her words.
receiving them.
rejecting them.
dismissing them.
and finally, weaving them into another piece.
wondering if this was the ending of our brief affair."
But it was not the end of the affair. The conversation continues. You can see it here on Kelly's new blog Pied Beauty (love that name). "A Conversation on Creativity, Discipline, Process & Purpose." 


  1. Your writing, as always, fascinates me. Your reflections and the way you weave your thoughts together are poetic and so...full of purpose. The way you put words that make sense of the nonsensical world.
    And I guess what I am most struck by right now is connection. The way words affect others. The connections and disconnections that spring forth. The deep way we all have to make others think, really think, and then reconfigure what's around us.

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  3. hank you Amie. Connection - I'm endlessly fascinated by this! The way we've changed our terms for it, how we re-negotiate it now. I don't know Kelly Salasin and yet she is spending all this time thinking about something I wrote. Meanwhile, many close friends don't have time to talk or answer emails (preferring text/social media as a way to connect). I have too many thoughts about this and haven't really gotten them to a point where it's acceptable to write about yet. (As evidenced by my deleted comment above.) I guess I am always trying to make sense of things and for me that can mean loose threads and fragmented conversations as long as there is a real and genuine attempt at learning and listening and reflecting on both sides or all sides. It is strange, that as much as I rail against the tech takeover of our lives, it seems I am finding that kind of genuine exchange online, just in longer and quieter form than the preferred broadcasted status update methods.

  4. Ah yes, important to remember all those projects we do, in fact, finish. It's the sea of fresh-starts and cast-offs that nag us. I can relate. I loved seeing the evolution of this Twitter friendship over on Pied Beauty. It made me think of our recent conversation here, the way blogging can feel like letter-writing, the exchange of ideas, the connection. It also made me think of the way art grows out of art. I've always been fascinated by writer friendships. Elizabeth Bishop and Marianne Moore come to mind and one of my favorite poems "Invitation to Miss Marianne Moore." I think artists who connect, who, despite being strangers, recognize each other's voices, invoke that invitation: "please come flying." We spur each other on. We remind each other of the sheer joy of it.

    "Come like a light in the white mackerel sky,
    come like a daytime comet
    with a long unnebulous train of words,
    from Brooklyn, over the Brooklyn Bridge, on this fine morning,
    please come flying."

  5. Yes Sarah, it really reminded me of our exchanges and the way you compared the cross-blog conversations to letter-writing (you're absolutely right that it's the closest thing I have now to that). That is one of my favorite of all writer friendships and Please Come Flying always makes my heart soar. "a soft uninvented music"
    I hadn't thought about it in a while (though wrote a paper about it in undergrad) - so thank you for reminding me about it. Yes- the sheer joy (how easy it is to forget).


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