I found an old journal (last part of 2007) in a stack of novels hidden behind a chair in my little “office”. I am usually very careful with my journals, keeping them together and safe. This one isn’t the usual black moleskine but a fancy cloth one given to me by a friend, and that’s probably why it was separated. I opened it, curious about the year 2007, and on page one I read:
I’m going to write a new story. A short story, an essay, a novel, a poem, or maybe a definition, an etymology, or a map or itinerary, a history, a geography. I don’t know yet. I have some inklings. It will be “American” in that it will be concerned with situating me – someone – in a landscape. “Situating” is perhaps not the word: letting her be, get lost, find her way. And it will be “American” as in “natural”, nature-bound: about the freedom and potential and the rule of nature, and mourning it. No matter what will be the point of writing it, I need write it, on pen and paper, scratch it as much as write it: ETCH it and so it is alive.
Even if you despair about the future, you still need to take care of the present. It is in the present that your urge, you life, soul, animus exists, lives. It may aim towards and work for tomorrow, next year, “retirement”, but it aims and works now.
They’re connected: writing, the story and the now. I’m still doing that, four years later, asserting a story (my imagination, my freedom), in the present (the way things are), to be able to face an uncertain future. I guess that’s my way of coping, living.
In the meantime my neighbor’s pine tree has interposed itself between the sun and my office window and I can feel its shadow on my back. In Winter in an unheated house one is so close to the edge, the margin between warm enough and cold is so narrow a tree makes all the difference.