we had the Most glorious conversation about Creativity yesterday.
we drove *looksvaguelytocamera* towards the Ocean (the Pacific, we were staying on this Coast) and met-in-a-cafe (as we like to do) and talked for a nice long while about why-people-create and when and how and what-happens-if-they-do-not-create (depression ensues in our experience).
there’s something so gloriously other-worldly talking to other writers who are writing books.
like Mr. Laurie Lee (how we wish we could sit in a cafe with him – but we can – because we own several of his books which is as near as one can get to sitting-with-the-actual-person).
a day unremembered is like a soul unborn, worse than if it had never been. What indeed was that summer if it is not recalled? That journey? That act of love? To whom did it happen if it has left you with nothing? Certainly not to you. So any bits of warm life preserved by the pen are trophies snatched from the dark, are branches of leaves fished out of the flood, are tiny arrests of mortality.
the urge to write may also be the fear of death – particularly with autobiography – the need to leave messages for those who come after, saying, ‘I was here; I saw it too’. Then there are the other uses of autobiography, some less poignant than these assurances – exposure, confession, apologia, revenge, or even staking one’s claim to be a godhead. In writing my first volume of autobiography, Cider with Rosie (1959), I was moved by several of these needs, but the chief one was celebration: to praise the life I’d had and so preserve it, and to live again both the good and the bad.
can you guess who?
we’ve even started a collage wall (which is what we had back in University on our side of the room when we shared with SH who had her own original watercolo(u)rs on Her Side.
some of the pictures are ours – others bought at bookshops or newsstands – and the rest are Gifts –
can you see the one on the right of a seagull? that was sent to us from Brighton by the very talented Ailsa McWhinnie (we became friendly via the Interweb on the land-of-Instagram)
the small boy in a spanish street? that was sent from Barcelona by the glorious Miss Jules who was on holiday there a little while ago.
so we’ve procrastinated enough – here’s what we really wanted to write about……*sighs*
back to Mr. Laurie Lee for a moment in (almost) closing.
But perhaps the widest pitfall in autobiography is the writer’s censorship of self. Unconscious or deliberate, it often releases an image of one who could never have lived. Flat, shadowy, prim and bloodless, it is a leaf pressed dry on the page, the surrogate chosen for public office so that the author might survive in secret.
you see that’s why we’re here.
because who-we-are-in-RL is terribly conflicted about a lot of things and we Listen (a bit distractedly at times, we confess, because sometimes when she’s in-a-muddle we really just want to eat cake – one with jam filling – strawberry but only real not from a jar – and with a fine dusting of icing sugar on the top and a light sponge with a dollop of Cornish cream on the side) and try to be nice.
and we often have a Solution (apart from the cake-eating which is most definitely On Hiatus right now in favo(u)r of more healthful – as the americans call it – fare).
so today is gay pride in west hollywood which means traffic will be a Nightmare all weekend.
that’s not the (main) reason we’re skipping town and heading East.
you see who-we-are-in-RL used to go to Pride (as it was known in those days) in her much younger youth (you’ve probably guessed from our Torrid Tales that there was a deep experience in the more alt. worlds than previously written about before-we-got-a-green-card *coughs*) and in Those Days it was all Shocking (and not just the outfits) and Glam (70s style, sometimes 1920s – there was that Charleston Dress she wore in London, with gloves – long black satin ones) but now………now……..the love that dare not speak its name is now sold-to-by-credit-card-companies and well, exploited (can we be this bold?) and yet – and yet – when we drove past the Site last night we had to swallow hard and look away and admit that it’s all still behind fences with police present and cordoned off and costs money-to-enter (doesn’t everything?)
anyway – movingswiftlyon
we told who-we-are-in-RL that she Can write about that stuff when she’s ready.
but for now we have a Novel to write about goddesses in gowns from the Ancient World.
and so we begin again.
It was one of those really rainy nights in London where umbrellas are all but useless. It had been pouring down for hours and people ducked into doorways or crowded into bus shelters and generally looked damp and careworn.
Everyone that is apart from one glitteringly beautiful goddess who walked down the center of Charing Cross Road without an umbrella or a hat or even a coat. But nobody saw her because she was the leader of the Muses (and thus a real goddess).
Calliope did not feel at all goddess-like this evening. She was enraged by a headline on the evening newspaper. It said, “ARE LIFE COACHES THE NEW MUSES?”
She walked on further almost towards Trafalgar Square, which was now crammed bumper to bumper with cars, cabs and buses all stuck in the rush hour, horns blaring and took a sharp right, sweeping regally past the guards and into the National Portrait Gallery.
Rushing through the Victorian galleries (blowing a kiss to the young Queen’s portrait) she sped up to the next floor flying through the Tudors, Stuarts and through the late eighteenth century to the nineteenth galleries. She stopped as soon as she reached The Romantics room with Blake, Shelley and Keats.
“I’ve missed you,” she said, catching her breath. The portraits, of course, stayed silent. But she knew something of their spirits was contained in the paint. “Nobody believes in us anymore.” The portraits did not reply. “They have replaced us with humans they call Life Coaches.”
A young male student wandered into the gallery and sat down in front of the Keats painting. He opened up a slim volume of poetry and started to read, looking up at the portrait from time to time with tears in his eyes. Calliope watched him for a while in wonder. Then she drifted over to his chair and stood behind him, stroking his hair gently and kissing the back of his neck. The young man was astonished. He could feel something but there was no one there. Calliope put her hands on the book and turned the page out of interest, to see which poem was next. The young man dropped the book in fright and ran away.
Calliope sat on the chair and read from the book.
“Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art–
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
She looked up at Keats and smiled. “Now that one was glorious, I remember it so well.” Leaving the book carefully on the chair, she raised her arms towards the tips of the gold frames and said, “Find me a so-called Life Coach who could inspire such beauty, darlings.”
And with that she laughed and ran out of the gallery and caught the next celestial transporter to somewhere called Donal Bay, just outside of Los Angeles. According to the magazine articles, that was where they trained these new Life Coaches in their bid to become Muses.
so there you have it.
by our reckoning we have another few novels and screenplays to go before we get to writing-about-the-gritty-stuff – but we’ll have a Lot of Fun doing it and then, just maybe, who knows, we’ll have Sorted Some of that Out (no pun intended, or maybe there was, darlings) and we can Switch (again, oh hell, who are we kidding…..) to a more Naturalistic style (or – *gasps*) Cinéma vérité? but only if JPG supervises Wardrobe – we have our Limits – which are probably a lot further into space and time continuum than we had ever known before you-know-what.
the best line from yesterday (and it wasn’t even ours) was this:
there’s a lot to do before you die.
so we’d better get on with it………………
do you think like that too, darlings?
or is it just us?