Saturday, June 26, 2010

Spoken by Flowers, Understood by Bees


Yesterday afternoon, still dazed from having released One Hand Clapping, I was paging through my proof copy when I happened on this entry for April 13, 2004. It explains a lot, I think:

The simple truth is, I haven’t written enough. I have written quite a bit in a fairly short amount of time, but I feel strongly that most of my work remains undone. If I were to die today I wouldn’t be ashamed of what was accomplished; but if I were to go on living for many more years and I didn’t continue writing, I think I would be ashamed. I will definitely not retire. I might be forced to retire due to poor health, blindness, or the further erosion of my faculties, but until that happens I plan to work. The work might include more than writing. It could branch off into music, painting, film, or photography. Along the way, I might even learn patience, which in itself is an art. Somehow, I have to learn to express what needs to be expressed in a language as powerful as that spoken by flowers and understood by bees, or as spoken by the wind and understood by the smallest blade of grass. I don’t want to spend my whole life hitting people over the head with a hammer, as I so often do. I want them to gently take the hammer from my hand and — hit themselves with it. Then I know I will die a happy man.


Update:
In the Forum: warped and swollen from a recent thunderstorm.

17 comments:

all ways 11 o'clock said...

expression in one form or another
until - maybe a satisfaction we will never know. continuing the journey is the reward, from flower to flower.

wonderful post.

~robert

William Michaelian said...

And a wonderful response. Thank you, Robert.

RUDHI - Chance said...

If I had a hammer (now), William, you have to come to my funeral;-)

William Michaelian said...

Ha! How about this: I’ll come to your funeral if you come to mine....

Catriona said...

I love that line, spoken by flowers and understood by bees. Really beautiful. And totally with you on the hammer thing!

William Michaelian said...

Thanks very much, Catriona. I’m glad these lines struck you the way they did!

Anthony Duce said...

It sounds like retirement for you won't come soon. The mark to hit will only become more impossible to reach, even after the rest of us beat ourselves up with hammers:)

William Michaelian said...

Anthony, I like that. Maybe I should have little promotional hammers made, with this message on the handle: One Hand Tapping.

Woman in a Window said...

"Somehow, I have to learn to express what needs to be expressed in a language as powerful as that spoken by flowers and understood by bees, or as spoken by the wind and understood by the smallest blade of grass."

Rightly or wrongly, and to what purpose, I don't know, but this is exactly it! (I hit these keys very hard in writing this. Do you hear them resonate?)

And, I got your books today, William. I opened The Painting of You at random and read, Listening. I read it as though I was on a very comfortable walk until I got to the last sentence, "I am listening now, fully aware that I might not be able to finish this sentence." William, I felt as though a huge axe hacked me at the knee. There was no more walking. I was still. I was listening.

(And then Robert and I and my two children went out to breakfast with my mom and step-father. I am blessed - blessed with love and family, and now two of your books. You are a very special soul, William. I am so grateful you feel, think, write and share.)

xo
erin

William Michaelian said...

Erin, it does me great good to imagine the books in your hands, on your table, in your life, in your family circle. It’s part of what I was referring to a few weeks ago when I stressed their physical importance, and the fact that you would be adding to their life and meaning just by having them near. And so I thank you for that. And I thank you for listening, and for multiplying what you hear in the form of your own keen vision.

all ways 11 o'clock said...

William - And now after a hard night in the kitchen I am home and we will retire and read your words, think and dream.

~robert

William Michaelian said...

Robert, it’s been many years, and it probably won’t surprise you, but I’ve done the very work that you’re engaged in of late. To be thought of in this light after your hard day’s work is an honor indeed. We labor in common. Thanks again.

nouvelles couleurs - vienna atelier said...

Firstly my sincere congratulations for your book, I forgott to tell you that in the last post...

I fully agree with what you say these phrases in the book,
who have the gift of nature to create something that, by themselves, enriches others, this one can not.
It's like a secret sence of duty, it is also a sense of duty that does not leave, so when you don'write write, or don't or don't created, you have this feeling of "I am wasting my time"

naturally sometimes you have this feeling alsdo when you created, but it is only a passanger and bad feeling,

I think that, when the idea to be is not immortal becomes more concrete, and most we feel the need to create, it's like a secret force within us that drives us

-K- said...

"...the further erosion of my faculties..."

I guffawed. Heartily.

William Michaelian said...

Laura, you understand the feeling here exactly. To work each day is a privilege, and it’s also an urgent need. And when we work at something we love, we’re immortal in the moment — the future doesn’t exist, and we have no need of it.

Kevin, I’m glad that registered, and am not at all surprised. It’s like being handed a note by a stranger in a busy station, and the note reads, “Your fly is open.” Before you can look, the stranger is gone, but now all eyes are upon you. Then you wake up.

rahina q.h. said...

your writing rather like paintings creates waves different for each reader: beautiful description of owning accountability and thus responsibility to my mind. r.

William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Rahina. Each according to our experience and temperament, I think, our own desires and sense of who we are. This, at least in part, is what carries our words and paintings forward — the caress of other minds.