August 6th, 2012
I got up early so I could watch the sun rise over the sound. Still haven’t decided yet whether to go for a swim.
What I speak about in Whidbey is how to take your poems and stories forward to the next stage. The stage where they go from page to print. It isn’t an easy task and worse yet, there isn’t exactly a yellow brick road to publication. But there are things you can do to make it more likely, things you can do to throw more obstacles in your path.
The sun seemed to rise so quickly here. The sky first tinged with pink, then rushing with reds, pinks and a flame of orange, the two boats out on the harbor floating on a sea of pink, and then blue fingering into the orange flames and then taking over whole gulps of orange like the orange is being sucked from a straw and then the sky’s left mostly blue and white with traces of yellow fire and the boats still floating now on blue and white, the sea so calm, huge evergreen hands reaching down toward the water, an American flag shuddering a bit in the tiny breeze but not unfurling just trembling, holding on to the last vestiges of empire while the Chinese match us medal for medal in the Olympics. While we export our manufacturing base to a country we used to think we surpassed in every way.
In Hawaii at the little shops where they sell knickknacks and Hawaiian wood, everything is made in China. The Hawaiian wooden spoons and canoes and bowls. The toys. The jewelry. American gift shops and Wal Marts and K marts and Targets are chock full of stuff made in China.
Which is why, here, at the end of the world, or the beginning of the world, something like a sunset is so valuable and worth rising early to see. No one owns that sunrise. It wasn’t made anywhere but here. Like creative work which rises with rigor and passion from the floor of the mind, the sunrise emerges wild and strong from the horizon, from the sea, from that other place, and you were either there to see it, to experience it, to live in that moment, or you weren’t. Maybe you were sleeping, or you were getting through a hangover, or maybe you woke up as I did and lived in the sunrise for a few blissful moments.
The sun will rise again and again. We don’t have to go through life living in the tiny rooms of the mind, the tiny rooms. We can go outside. We can get damp. We can get wet. We can live outside for a time. And that too is worth doing. Making up your own rules. Claiming your own life.