Raw, adjective: 9. disagreeably damp and chilly, as the weather or air: a raw, foggy day at the beach.
For it would seem - her case proved it - that we write, not with the fingers, but with the whole person. The nerve which controls the pen winds itself about every fiber of our being, threads the heart, pierces the liver.
~ Virginia Woolf
That long herky-jerky churning march to the holidays is officially over. From now on, it's all downhill, baby. For some of yous, yes, I realize, it's just beginning: that onslaught of family gatherings, those treacherous drives through snow-blown highways, the interminable hours spent waiting, waiting, waiting at the airport. (No better reminder of how little control we truly wield comes to us than in the waiting for the fog to lift, the skies to clear, the wind to slow, the ice to melt, the plane to arrive, the baggage to load. We are so powerless indeed. Kind of nice, when you stop resisting it, eh?)
Happy to be safely, dryly ensconced in my own little garden haven here on the downslope of Nob Hill with no foreseeable travel plans to be had. After last year's terrific [terrible] Nebraska blizzard debacle, I vowed to plant myself firmly and oh-so-happily at home for this go-around. And this morning as I began to kiss my dears goodbye, watching them trod off to family gatherings in Fort Lauderdale and Fargo, I couldn't help but be glad for the space, the silence, the stillness to come.
The City empties out over the holidays, since most of us here are transplants who've fled our native climes; the ghost town that is San Francisco in the wake of the masses fleeing to Tahoe and the like suits me and my yin wintertime spirit just fine. Most of my yoga classes are canceled this week, most other obligations on hold, too, so for the first time in I don't remember how long, this vast spaciousness has opened up. And that airy room to breathe means long-ignored sleep, some finally-folded clean laundry, and a helluva lot of time spent channeling Virginia Woolf.
This is my mission, Woolfian, yes: to write, write, write. Stating it here, now, clear, "out there" to all three of you readers (thanks, sibs): I will be a writing machine. Big deadlines abound. I've got six articles in half-completion that will see their end in the next few days. I've got interviews to be transcribed and clever quotes to be attributed. And, most importantly, I've got a patiently-sleeping book manuscript thisclose to being sent to agents that will be my beloved baby for the next two weeks, that sweetly-gestating little creation that has just wanted to be birthed now for far too long, and will finally be getting its due.
In the early 20th century, Woolf prescribed a room of one's own and a bit of money as necessary for the aspiring urban literary bohemian mademoiselle-type to be able to crank out her own words. I've got both, and more silence than I've savored in months, and a waiting piano to take me out of my head, and yoga escapes to break up the writing, and early mornings with coffee to fuel the fire, and evenings to be spent behind the bar shaking martinis to add material to my listening and inspiration to my narratives - and I think that's about as close to santosha as any chilly singing writing yogini can get on a cool wet winter Sunday in late December, 2010.
It is enough. It is so much more than enough.
Let that be your practice in this week to come, a pre-holiday whirlwind that more often than not ends up a rush of buying and mailing and cocktailing and bad sweater-wearing. Let yourselves step back and see it all with new eyes, with the eyes of a child, with the wonder that accompanies the white lights twinkling down in a deserted Financial District off California Street, or the marvel that remembers a bad 1970s version of Little Drummer Boy played on an old record player in a living room in South Dakota buffered by blizzard winds and the scent of baking bread.
It is enough. It is so much more than enough. I promise.
Beauty, the world seemed to say. And as if to prove it (scientifically) wherever he looked at the houses, at the railings, at the antelopes stretching over the palings, beauty sprang instantly. To watch a leaf quivering in the rush of air was an exquisite joy. Up in the sky swallows swooping, swerving, flinging themselves in and out, round and round, yet always with perfect control as if elastics held them; and the flies rising and falling; and the sun spotting now this leaf, now that, in mockery, dazzling it with soft gold in pure good temper; and now again some chime (it might be a motor horn) tinkling divinely on the grass stalks - all of this, calm and reasonable as it was, made out of ordinary things as it was, was the truth now; beauty, that was the truth now. Beauty was everywhere.
~ Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway