Friday, January 24, 2020

Of Crows and Plows and New Beginnings

Where are the crows this morning? Usually you can set your clock by them. Loud and boisterous, caw, caw, caw, they arrive around 8 a.m., fly around among the trees - what are they looking for? What are they shouting at? And then they're gone. But this morning? An absence of crows. Very strange.

From where I write I can see a nest high up in the leafless branches of a laurel oak - for crows perhaps? Do crows make nests? Janina would know. But don't call her that. She doesn't like it. She and I have gotten close the last few days due to me spending a lot of time in her head while reading
 "Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead." Weird title. But I'm loving it.

In spite of all the dead bodies.

Janina knows who's killing them, but her theories are dismissed as the ravings of a madwoman.
They say there's nothing original in the world. It's all been done before, thought before, written before, but, that said, I think this book is as original as it is possible to be. Spending so much time in Janina's head gets you thinking along with her about life, and how we do it, and how we find meaning in it, or not. All, well most, of the words are familiar but so ingeniously strung together that I find myself laughing out loud one minute, aching with recognition the next as she skillfully puts into words things I feel in my gut but could never articulate.

One of my favorite lines is "....I realized that sorrow is an important word for defining the world."
Amen to that. I can relate. But don't let that make you think it's a sad book. It is sad, and thoughtful, but also outlandishly funny, crazy and at once real and fairy tale-like.

I like Janina. Which may mean I'm a madwoman too, or maybe she's not mad at all but saner than those who think she is? I won't spoil the book for you but I'll be looking for more by this author whose name is both unspellable and unpronounceable. Kudos to the translator whose name is pronounceable. Being totally illiterate in Polish, my only measure of how well she did is that I am devouring the book. You could say it makes me happy. Which reminds me.....


"You really should be writing," a friend wrote to me recently. "It would make the world happier."

That was, hands down, the nicest thing anyone has said to me since the year began. Bit of an exaggeration of course but still, enough to get me going again. I'm not so arrogant as to believe that me, writing, could actually make the world happier but I do know it would make me happier.

Why have I not been writing, I ask myself. It's always been my favorite thing to do, but, like sewing, where one has to actually make that first stitch, to write, one has to sit down and write that first word. No quilt was ever made by merely thinking about it. Nor, as the Irish saying goes, did a farmer ever plough a field by turning it over in his mind.

And so she begins, first words, on the blank page, in the brand new year. It's made me happy to write them. I hope they'll make you happy too.

19 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

Your words do make me happy. And seriously tempt me to track this book down despite having unread towers which resemble skyscrapers.
Thank you. And drat you. I have a big weakness for the corvid family too.

Elephant's Child said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dianne said...

there you are!!! reading is one of my favorite things to do, so when you write, you make both of us happy...

Bijoux said...

It's nice to see you back. I had just started following you and then you disappeared. I love it when a character gets in my head like that. I'm reading 'Olive, Again' and Olive Kitteridge remains one of the most delightfully honest fictional characters of all time.

Colette said...

I'm happy you are back.

Anonymous said...

So nice to read something from you again!
Lian

Ali Honey said...

Hi Friend. Missed you! Yes your writing has always made me happy so glad you are back.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Good to hear your "voice" again. And that sounds like an interesting book. I'll check our library for it.

molly said...


So nice of all of you to comment. I thought, since it's been so silent here, that you all might have assumed my blog went wherever it is blogs go to die! Happy to hear from you all and that you're still writing away! I'll be visiting and catching up.....

gz said...

A happy new year to you too 🙂
It is good to read your writing.
Perhaps the crows sensed an earth tremor coming....

Lee said...

I'm a madwoman, too...there's no point me even trying to deny it! :)

You made me smile...yesterday afternoon at a small gathering...a little neighbourhood soiree to celebrate Australia Day...one of my neighbours asked me a similar question..."Why don't you write your memoirs...write your book?"

My reply to him was..."I keep thinking about doing so...perhaps it is time to put thoughts into words...printed words!"....if only for me.

Nice to "see" you, Molly...as it always is. :)

Relatively Retiring said...

Good to see you Molly, now I can see again.
The only thing to do with writing is to write every day. If you leave writing it loses its life. The discipline of writing daily keeps it alive - and you never know what's going to happen. Give it a good try.

Molly said...

gz,Lee and RR - hurricanes are more our style in FL but not every day which is how often the crows come 'round! Thinking about it is the same as turning it over in your mind Lee - never gonna happen. I think RR has the right idea, certainly not the first time I've heard that advice so there must be something in it. We just have to discipline ourselves to write every day whether we think we're in the mood or not.

Gemma's person said...

Please keep writing, I'll keep reading. Check here often, great to see you

Thimbleanna said...

Oh, they make us VERY happy! SO nice to see you back here again -- looking forward to more. Your book sounds really interesting too -- thanks for another good recommendation!

Pam said...

They do indeed make us happy. So what's happened since January 24???

Molly said...

Gemma, Anna, Pam - thanks for your perseverance! Another post is in the hatching stage. Life, as they say, got temporarily in the way!

Pam said...

It's nearly March... Just pointing it out.

Dee said...

Dear Molly, it does make me so happy to come to your blog and find your writing and sharing again. Thank you for writing that first word that led to a posting that resonates with me right now so deeply. I've just taken four months off from life. I posted a couple of times, but mostly I've simply watched BritBox and read and let myself sink into lethargic as I pondered whether I'd ever write any more books for self-publication and whether I'd ever exercise again so as to keep my body somewhat flexible. And whether I'd ever really blog again and read blogs by others so as to expand my world. I guess that truth is that I sank into self-pity and self-absorption.

But today I woke to the sun shining and recognized the person I was before this bout of blues began. And so on Monday, I hope to begin another memoir. It will cover the 10 years in which I hallucinated after leaving the convent.

Realizing that I wanted to do that was this morning's gift. And your blog posting is another. Peace. And please keep writing.