The Monastery has cool stuff, Thinking big thoughts, being writers

Greece and writing

It’s easier to write away from distractions. No TV, no movies, no cars, no movies. Nada mucho to pull you away from writing. There isn’t any music here because we forgot to bring our iPod and the little speakers. I listen quietly to symphonies on my computer through youtube and I write myself notes for chapters in progress like, “We thought we heard the angels sing.” “I could hear her bone scraping and whizzing and her hand looked like a piece of hamburger when it was all over.” These mean a lot to me but not much to anyone else.

After the morning swim, there’s nothing to do but write all day, and write we do. It’s odd to have uninterrupted writing time. A little daunting too. At a certain point you simply run out of excuses. You can’t say that you had to work in your garden, clean up the tool room, teach yourself to make a decent pie. We aren’t baking here, we aren’t even cooking anything that takes more than 5 minutes. At home, in the summer we’d be making gazpacho and sangria and big salads. We’d be in the kitchen for a while, but not here. Here we are in and out of that kitchen in a jiffy.

Right now I am watching the early sun rising over Patmos and listening to Beethoven’s Ninth. Which seems cliché, but I am the girl who drove to the Grand Canyon on Thanksgiving Day listening to the Grand Canyon suite. We ate turkey sandwiches with our legs hanging over the edge and the car stereo roared and the sun rose, and I knew I had gotten away and survived hell and now was here in this glorious wash of music and orange light, and was there to tell the tale.

When Mark and I get away we start playing the math/music/art/writer game. The whole lineages of mathematicians, composers, artists, and of course we can do writers forever. There are all kinds of subject matter we don’t know. The first serious clothing designer? Any clothing designer? The first serious garden designer? No idea, but it would be fun to know.

My friend Jim has a poem about the big thoughts, and I like that because if you have no time to be quiet, you never get to the big thoughts. And the big thoughts are what make life worth living as a creative intellectual person. And if you’re lucky, you have a spouse to share them with so that you’re not thinking all those thoughts alone and then touching base with your spouse once a week for the nice dinner out with a movie. “How was that dear?” does not exactly qualify as big thoughts.

That can be difficult with a non profit organization. The staff and the executive director get tied up in the day to day, but ideally the board is able to think big thoughts. Help the organization not just work on what’s right in front of our face. There’s often a better way to do things, but you can’t see it because you’re paddling around in the mud and you even have mud on your face and you can’t see that either.

Ideally the board is not muddy. In fact, if they get into the mud, that can be counter-productive, but that’s another story. Our board is wearing white like they do here in Greece. And sandals. But they aren’t exactly coming down from the mount with tablets. They’re sitting around the table with us fetching wood, carrying water, and figuring out how to make a banquet out of these loaves. These fishes.

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Published in: on June 19, 2012 at 8:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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