the narrow street in sentences breaking out

Narrow

“So I find words I never thought to speak
In streets I never thought I should revisit
When I left my body on a distant shore.”
― T.S. Eliot
“There’s something about arriving in new cities, wandering empty streets with no destination. I will never lose the love for the arriving, but I’m born to leave.”
― Charlotte Eriksson, Empty Roads & Broken Bottles; in search for The Great Perhaps
~~~~~~~~~~
a poem ‘Homage’ by Rachael Boast
On each visit the waves would follow me down
the narrow street in sentences breaking out
of language to tell me homage means going
back to the same place until it knows you –
and I’d hesitate, listening for the way we came
out of the sea with our hands in a vow of give
and take to its turning page which reads
the narrow street leads to a double key.
(- See more at: http://www.picador.com/blog/july-2014/friday-poem-homage-by-rachael-boast#sthash.Xddyy3OO.dpuf)

I decided to post these quotes together with the two pictures on “narrow”streets I took today at random as the words aptly tell a side of the stories of the streets and their supposed narrowness. As traveler in life we often walk on streets that do not mean a thing to us because the time is short and we have too much to see and experience. The streets themselves become mere tools and conveyors for us to get from one point to another. And yet they become parts of our invisible lives.

I read a book by Orhan Pamuk recently, A Strangeness in my Mind, about a street-food vendor, Mevlut Karatas, who walks Istanbul’s neighborhoods at night calling out: “Booo-zaaaaa. Goooood boozaaaaa.” Boza is an ancient fermented beverage, made in Turkey from wheat. It’s yellowish and thick and often topped with cinnamon and roasted chickpeas.
Here are some quotes from the book:
“In a city, you can be alone in a crowd, and in fact what makes the city a city is that it lets you hide the strangeness in your mind inside its teeming multitudes.”
“You’ll learn it all soon enough . . . You will see everything without being seen. You will hear everything but pretend that you haven’t . . . You will walk for ten hours a day but feel like you haven’t walked at all.”
“The only antidote to the loneliness of the streets was the streets themselves.”
“Mevlut sensed that the light and darkness inside his mind looked like the nighttime landscape of the city. . . . Walking around the city at night made him feel as if he were wandering around inside his own head.”

Does the strangeness in his mind cause the wandering at night in the streets? Or does the wandering in the streets cause the strangeness in this poor man’s mind? Like many findings in medical study, often there are no definitive cause and effect variables. The variables can be a cause and an effect at the same time. Isn’t life this way?

Just my random musing today.
Muse

“All you have to do is write one true sentence”

earnest hemingway“Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day. ( acceptance speech at Nobel Prize in Literature 1954)

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.”

“Write hard and clear about what hurts.”

“In order to write about life first you must live it.”

“The hard part about writing a novel is finishing it.”

“All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.”

“As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand.”

“If a writer stops observing he is finished. Experience is communicated by small details intimately observed.”

“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.”

I decided to share some quotes from Earnest Hemingway at random on writing. Simple yet relevant observations for would-be-writers to ponder and emulate.

writing with an aim

winter and branches
Writing without an aim is like taking this winter picture of bare branches at random while strolling by. Is it essential to have an aim? I believe so. HERE ARE SOME DEFINITIONS of AIM:
Objective, object, goal, end, target, design, desire, desired result, intention, intent, plan, purpose, object of the exercise; ambition, aspiration, wish, dream, hope, raison d’être.

I ask myself, “Why do I write this little note daily? What is my aim?” My answer is, “I need the practice.” Blogging is an effective way to practice writing and keeping your brain working a bit. Reading and writing are still the more tested way of keeping a person’s brain cells exercising a bit and not falling into stupor for too long to the point of eventual incapacity. A point of no return. The more reluctance one feels the more one should try to write and read. One way of learning to write is to copy. Take your favorite book and start copying chapters. Make it a daily habit. Another way is to write a letter to a loved one. You may not get to post the letter but it does keep you going and building a habit. I just read of someone who actually hand writes to many people. Over the years many have received and even collected his handwritten letter and notes. Some frame them up. (You know who the person is as he is in the news right now.) I have not posted a physical letter for years. Even my email has been replaced by short social text or multimedia messages. But I find that the short messages do not take brainwork to compose. It is more like clicking at random and giving automatic pre-programmed short replies.

When I interview some persons I find that they have nothing to say. They are not even capable to think. They have nothing to say about themselves or others. Their minds do not store words. I note that they spend the bulk of the interview time messaging or reading messages on their mobile handheld phone including iPads, iPhones and other smart phones. I find it sad to look at them or think about their lives. Can a man or woman happily leave out a big part of what God has perfectly created and designed for them to have and enjoy? I often wonder. Please do not get me wrong. I am not judging the rightness or wrongness of a lifestyle. I am just lamenting the loss of quality of life that God has given so richly to each of us as human.

Writers ad poets like to dream that one day the whole earth will be filled with readers of books. I am one of such dreamers.

writing without stress

highlights
Writing involves seeing and spotting little things that require spotlights. How can we see better or know where to highlight? My experience is that I see by reading others. I just read three biographies, two are translations from German and Russian. One is in its original language-Chinese. How did I have time to read three books in three days? I read them while I walked on my treadmill or ride on my stationary bike. Instead of watching TV I read while doing my physical exercises. Why do I do exercises? Because I enjoy them. I also unwind and relax my strained muscles from long hours of typing.

By pacing myself in my body and my mind I manage to complete five out of seven parts in the book I am translating and re-writing. Quite a good progress considering my reluctance to write this book.

On top of keeping fit body and soul, I keep fit in my spirit. Being a Christian I enjoy my daily communion with my Lord, reading the Bible, praying and sitting and talking to God before dawn. I receive my day’s supply of spiritual nourishment by actively seeking God. When not reading I pray too while walking (not running). Being refreshed in body, soul and spirit help me to write without stress and burnout.