I’ve started writing a new novel. I’m 11,000 words in to what I expect will be an 80,000-ish word project. Since I’m pumping out the chapters, I find myself with depleted verbal reserves (most often of which I access to lecture my teenagers). So I though I’d just share this today. Seems about right.
My agent just sent my manuscript to three big publishers. Now there’s nothing for me to do but to continue my daily life, to not allow my thoughts to burn in a fire of what-if’s since I’m not promised tomorrow–or even 2:30 this afternoon. I want to wait well, though, so far, I am not successful.
My sister brought this beautiful Wendell Berry poem to my attention. For me, it sums up the struggle of being a human ruled by time.
“From the Crest”
I am trying to teach my mind
to bear the long, slow growth
of the fields, and to sing
of its passing while it waits.
The farm must be made a form,
endlessly bringing together
heaven and earth, light
and rain building back again
the shapes and actions of the ground.
Wendell Berry, Collected Poems (San Francisco: North Point, 1985), 190-91.
I would like to cool my mind, to accept the good gifts God gives me in the time He chooses to give them, or, maybe, to accept the withholding of them. I would like to teach my mind to bear long, slow growth, both today and tomorrow (if I’m still here).
I came across this poem today (thanks, Rod Dreher). I’m trying to ride out some specific things in my tiny world, so it seems especially apt. Maybe it comforts you, too?
Ride This One Out
Ride this one out, as you have done before.
Batten down what can be battened. Reef
What can be reefed, avoid the white sea-shore,
Do not expect a rescue or relief.
Endurance is its own kind of relief.
The other ships are sinking. You must be
Hope’s light for them, the north star of belief,
Time’s substitute for lost eternity.
And so resist the onslaught of sad thoughts,
That useless, wavering activity
Of mind stretched to its raveled uttermost.
Resist the hopeless cries, the grim reports.
Resist the landsman’s way, to hate the sea.
And hold on for the final sunlit coast.