Friday, July 18, 2014

Undoing the Damage of Haste

“Art is the means we have of undoing the damage of haste.  It's what everything else isn't.”

(Theodore Roethke, On Poetry and Craft:  Selected Prose)

As I scurry around at lunchtime between the office and coffee roasters, market and bookstore, office again, I’ve been reminded of my constant desire to move more slowly, to stay put.  To put together a “Slow Writing” program.  To get a letterpress someday, and go back to setting  and printing poetry by hand.  To write a story called “The Man Who Loved Mozart,” with no plot and no hurry whatsoever.  Just loving the words.

I’m reminded of old summer days wearing an oversized shirt over jeans as painter’s smock and copying the drenched purples and yellows of violas from below the back wall onto fine-grained watercolor paper.  Revelling in the colors.  In the little fluid movements of the brush.

I’m reminded of the silent mounding of the thunderclouds against the mountains as the afternoons wore on, as sauces simmered on the stove for hours for the eventual evening meal.  Confiding their herb-laden fragrances, and tempting me into the kitchen time and time again to taste.  And then, after the brooding light, the portentous and rain-charged air—the drama of the thunderstorm.  Bringing the clothes in from the line, the canvas chair covers, and any shoes left out.

Slow days, in which were health and wealth.  Slow days, whose memory too, revisited in slowness, heals.  Slow days, that art commemorates, allows.  That are an art unto themselves.

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, Pottery Turtle, Taking It Slow


  1. when are you going to give up being a novelist...
    and become one of the most celebrated sensualists of all time? your descriptions of life itself would make a book.
    each post like this one is a beautiful book.
    ny times best seller list here she comes.
    because people need to remember how to

  2. You tempt me sorely, Tammy J! Sound bites, or taste bites... The prose equivalent of haikus. I'll seriously consider. And no more struggling over novel plots—hooray! Thank you for inspiring me, and being such a kind and loving reader. Blessings on your week!