I thought of it as the door — a thousand opening doors!
And now my old dog is dead, and another I had after him, and my parents are dead, and that first world, that old house, is sold and lost, and the books I gathered there lost, or sold — but more books bought, and in another place, board by board and stone by stone, like a house, a true life built, and all because I was steadfast about one or two things: loving foxes, and poems, the blank piece of paper, and my own energy — and mostly the shimmering shoulders of the world that shrug carelessly over the fate of any individual that they may, the better, keep the Niles and the Amazons flowing.
Rebecca Solnit, in her beautiful meditation on the life-saving vanishing act of reading, wrote: “I disappeared into books when I was very young, disappeared into them like someone running into the woods.” Oliver disappeared into both. Learn how your comment data is processed. One of the many people to pay tribute to her in the following days was Maria Popova. In a sentiment that calls to mind Kafka’s unforgettable assertion that “a book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us,” Oliver writes: The second world — the world of literature — offered me, besides the pleasures of form, the sustentation of empathy (the first step of what Keats called negative capability) and I ran for it. By Mary Oliver
Born in a small town in Ohio, Mary Oliver published her first book of poetry in 1963 at the age of twenty eight.
It rambles naturally and sports the feel of a long saunter with a wise sage. From it opening lines, Oliver’s meditations and musings invoke a pause making for a lovely back porch summer escape. I made it. That Oliver lived with her woman partner of fifty years who only occasionally appears in the book–identified as “M”–seems almost shrouded in secrecy. Now I need to read more of their poetry. Labors of Love Famous Writers' Sleep Habits vs. My favorite essay, “Staying Alive,” skillfully interweaves an incident from the writer’s unhappy early years (about which Oliver is deliberately reserved), with both an explanation of how reading and the natural world delivered her from childhood psychological peril and an account of the life cycle of a family of foxes that she observes on her morning walks.
I stood willingly and gladly in the characters of everything — other people, trees, clouds. “There are perhaps no days of our childhood that we lived as fully,” Proust wrote in contemplating why we read, “as the days we think we left behind without living at all: the days we spent with a favourite book.” And yet childhoods come in varied hues, some much darker than others; some children only survive by leaving the anguish of the real world behind and seeking shelter in the world of books. Need to cancel a recurring donation?
Such an act would have placed her in literary communion with other women writers, past and present, and provided a connection with women generally that seems missing from this book.
If you find any joy and solace in this labor of love, please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good lunch. friend co-host a biweekly television news show called 'All Things LGBTQ.'. ( Log Out / Listening to Mary Oliver being interviewed, or reading her essays, one hears an unpretentious neighbor lady who would be a joy to know but who would also cherish her personal space and privacy. It could mean something. As an ethically motivated vegetarian, I share Oliver’s belief in the connectedness of all living things, yet I found myself continuously struggling to find common ground. ( Log Out /
Give it back, someday, without bitterness, to the wild and weedy dunes. Literary Productivity, Visualized, 7 Life-Learnings from 7 Years of Brain Pickings, Illustrated, Anaïs Nin on Love, Hand-Lettered by Debbie Millman, Anaïs Nin on Real Love, Illustrated by Debbie Millman, Susan Sontag on Love: Illustrated Diary Excerpts, Susan Sontag on Art: Illustrated Diary Excerpts, Albert Camus on Happiness and Love, Illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton, The Silent Music of the Mind: Remembering Oliver Sacks, the artist’s task and the central commitment of the creative life, “a book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us,”.
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