Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"So Attention Must Be Paid."

W. H. Auden, the poet and playwright, said, "Choice of attention - to pay attention to this and ignore that - is to the inner life what choice of action is to the outer. In both cases, a man is responsible for his choice and must accept the consequences, whatever they may be."

Consequences...hmmm? Would anyone venture to guess how many times in the past four months I've destroyed good food because my entire attention was focused on my writing instead of the burner I turned on and forgot about? Or how many times the toaster oven has been found to contain petrified bagels that neither my dogs nor the omnivorous crows will even look at? Just this morning, I neglected my oatmeal. My habit is to plump the raisins as the water boils and then add the oatmeal. It takes awhile for the water to boil, so I came back to my work, sat down and zoned out. To make a long story short, there were grapes in my oatmeal this morning. Lucky for me, I like grapes.

I sometimes even burn hubby's lunch, if I make toasted cheese and soup for us. Woe betide him if he makes the tragic error of going outside or down cellar for longer than a minute. I take that as an opportunity to dash back here to work on my writing. I'll smell cheese-turned-charcoal - - that's my version of alchemy. I can make it back just before he reenters the kitchen, but I never fool him. He says he "didn't come down with the last rain, you know. Ayuh."

Dinner, well, it's the same thing, only now I usually have Bacardi & Coke and WADD (Writer's Attention Deficit Disorder) to contend with. [Sigh] But that's hubby's fault. It is, too! I never drank rum until I met him. I am not deflecting. Balderdash! That's a kids game, did you know that? A kid is either a human child or a young goat. Domesticated goats are a subspecies of goat from the wild goat of southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. Eastern Europeans live in Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic....OKAY, I'll stop deflecting. Dinner is not often neglected because my husband is more watchful as he has a vested interest in the outcome. He's also an excellent cook.

I look at everything now as an opportunity to write. Memories bubbling to the surface of past events funny and unfunny, relationships long since cooled and dead, secrets that no longer matter to anyone. When I walk the dogs, do the dishes, drive in the car; my eyes, my mind both wandering and watching for that moment of inspiration. Overheard comments or seeing something that reminds me of something else can trigger an explosion of scribbled notes on any available paper product. A remark made in an e-mail that sets off a flurry of memories, or forgotten resentment at a tone not heard in decades can change the course of any writer's ebb and flow. It's all for the taking, the musing, the writing and revealing. In not so many words, or a whole lot. Margo and I say, "Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy ride."
"The writer should not be ashamed of staring. There is nothing that does not require his attention." Flannery O'Connor.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my word. You are soooo funnnnny. Keep it coming