Bright, Lucid, and Clear

When I was at the Los Angeles Public Library earlier this year, I photographed the step fountains on the way up to the entrance coming in from Flower Street, and was drawn in by their names:  Bright, Lucid, and Clear. Designed by Bertram Goodhue, the building’s architect, they are meant to support the library’s theme, “The Light of Learning.” http://www.lapl.org/collections-resources/blogs/lapl/history-printed-word-step-step. For me, they represent states of being that I find sublime and elusive, that I am perpetually seeking and only occasionally finding.Bright

For a couple of weeks, I have felt the opposite: dim, vague, and clouded. I was sick, my husband was sick, and we were sorting stacks of receipts for taxes. Some projects and deadlines were only haphazardly accomplished and met. I thought about what Elizabeth Berg says about deadlines and writing in her book, Escaping Into the Open: The Art of Writing True:  “I believe it’s critically important to try for a certain church and state-like separation” (131). Nonetheless, I was glad to meet at least one deadline. We had a series of events scheduled, but only made it to about half of them, the house got cluttered, and the mail piled up. I had the ongoing feeling I was spinning my wheels in the mud.

On the upside, friends from Virginia have been visiting, and I spent time with them along with other close friends, which was entirely enlivening, and I felt bright and present. The poetry reading on February 21 (last week’s post) was a high point. Somehow, preparing the poems and reading them was galvanizing and uplifting. On that day, I was lucid for at least an hour. LucidCold remedies and medications have prevented me from feeling clear, but I did have a few moments of recognizing what I need to do for the continuing path I am following. Perhaps the clearest moment was one of appreciating the beauty of a beach sunset.ClearBeachsunset

Copies of the most recent issue of Westview arrived, a literary journal published by Southwestern Oklahoma State University, featuring three of my poems. They included visuals with all of them, which was a pleasant surprise to me. One of the poems was an elegy for my father who passed away in 2009. I am gratified that it found a home. I also managed to get some new poems written and hope to send them out this week. Continue, stay on the path, seek illumination, I tell myself.

Westview1

What conditions assist you with your tasks and projects? Or what beliefs and approaches? Here’s wishing all of you the experience of feeling bright, lucid, and clear!

Berg, Elizabeth. Escaping Into the Open: The Art of Writing True.  New York: HarperCollins, 1999.

16 thoughts on “Bright, Lucid, and Clear

  1. I have small bits of time to write and so don’t have big projects. I pick away at little things. Writing exercises keep me limber and bright even if I don’t have a project in mind. More congratulations on your writing accomplishments, Carla.

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    1. Thank you, Susanne! Writing in small segments of time can be productive in many ways. I find it difficult to focus sometimes (earlier posts), so it usually takes me a half an hour or so just to warm up.

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  2. So happy for you to have your poems published in the literary journal. Now I’m curious about the visuals they chose for them.

    In answer to your question, I think positive feedback remains one of the best conditions that assist in looking forward to the tasks at hand. Seeing positive results in the steps as you do them makes continuing, and finishing them so much easier and fun.

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    1. Thanks Mitch! I will send you some photos of the poems with their visuals so you can see them. I liked the ones they chose, though I didn’t know that would happen. I agree regarding positive feedback. I don’t think we can ever give or get too much encouragement!

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  3. Congrats, Carla, on the publication! I have felt anything but lucid lately. Very very foggy. Extended time alone but with breaks helps me a lot. I’m far from that condition right now.

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  4. Great news, Carla, congratulations! I’m not sure if it’s because I’m so anxious for spring to hurry up and get here, or what it is, but lately, I’m dragging. Hopefully the warmer weather will give me a little more pep in my step.

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    1. Thank you, Jill! Weather plays a big role in how I feel, being sensitive to environments. What has your weather been lately? Here in So Cal, it has been fairly warm and clear, so it is perfect weather for me. Rain can be nice for writing productivity too. Spring is up and coming!

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  5. Congratulations on the publication Carla. I love those fountains with their reminders of the library’s purpose. I’ve felt at times wonderfully bright and clear in the past week, because I’ve been on holiday from work and spent lots of time walking at the beach – it’s helped that the weather has also been bright and clear! It helps when we have only so much to think about – when routine and work and demands – and illness – all come at once it’s very difficult to keep that clarity.

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  6. Kim Stanley Robinson in one of his recent novels 2312 spoke of walking as being one of the earliest forms of meditation. My work routines in my previous job provided me with this milieu. Mindfulness has been a long running state of mind for me. Examining your conscience was a way of thinking forwarded by my childhood faith. Writing seems to evoke a muse that is stewed from this. Isaac Asimov spoke of a man sitting inside his head, in a room, typing at a typewriter. I have a silent voice that has a love and fascination with words, the sounds they make and their interconnectivity to each other. I love being able to restate the world anew. Taking notes on three by five cards, reading and evolving new understandings into a comprehension that can add another dimension another verbal map to the way this world can be seen. I’m still learning the art of writing. As my Tai Chi teacher (Harvey Kurland) says, Practice, practice, practice.

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  7. I like to create order and milestones. So when I have a major revision project, I look at the deadline and I figure out how fast I have to work to beat it. That gives me a nice cushion. Then I prioritize it as #1 every day. Some other tasks fall by the wayside but revising doesn’t. Exercising daily also helps me remain clear headed.

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    1. I like your dedication to your task! Exercise helps me too, when I actually follow through and do it. Lapses can be long, though, so to keep myself in a good place, I am letting each day be a new start without carrying the bad feelings from what I didn’t do the day before.

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