Go for ten minutes. Write what you will miss when you die. Be specific. What are things that only you know about that will die with you? I’ll miss the dew on the grass.’ Hey, other people know that! No, they don’t. In this moment that you write it, you are the only one who feels that dew. Slow down and notice what you don’t notice, and realize that when you go, you’ll miss it. Yehuda Amichai, an Israeli poet, wrote about a bank teller he used to see at a bank, how she moved to Italy to go to medical school. After I heard that poem, I thought, ‘You really have to be dumb to write. You have to even notice and care about a bank teller.’ It was a beautiful poem. Get dumb. Don’t take things for granted. When I told some New Yorkers about dumbness in a workshop two months ago, they were so relieved. They were tired of being alert and intelligent. They wanted dream time. Walk around your neighborhood dumb for a half hour. Then go write about it- what you saw, what you’ll miss. Be specific. Stay with the details….Natalie Goldberg
we play and we make ice cream sundaes and we notice the blue candy, the sweet, cold, creamy, strawberry ice cream, the aging smiles of those we love, and the still hands of the clock when we reach into dream time….get tired of being perfect or having it all figured out….play, eat ice cream, notice everything…..
The gift of zaniness is one of the great gifts that human beings have. Men love zaniness, love to be in zaniness, love to watch zaniness. The stilts walker is zany. Yeats, defending zaniness, said: ‘Processions that lack high stilts have nothing that catches the eye.’ When Yeats goes on about that, we realize that certain rhetorical forms- usually considered literary- are really zany. The old Norse poets loved a zany rhetoric of the image. They refused to call the sea ‘sea,’ it is ‘the whale’s road.’ The wind is not ‘wind’- that’s too boring- it is ‘the wolf of the air.’ How stale and flat the day when nothing zany happens. How badly we need jokes: the old Sunday funnies; the comic strips and cartoons, the Dadaists, the stand-up comedians making silly faces. The spirit wants to leap with the joy of young kids to change direction in midair. It is as if the spirit at its freshest and freest is zany, offering no explanation of itself; its justification solely the delight of risk, a flip into nonsense at the same time inventing ideas, words, images, and postures- insane or zany? The zany poem in general has no message for professors, no moral for moralists to draw, it does not urge you to admire goodness or beauty. The zany poem and life is a testimony to the beauty of zaniness itself……R. Bly, J. Hillman, M. Meade
Once we believe in ourselves,
we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight,
or any experience that reveals the human spirit.