To Consider This Summer Morning – Mary Oliver & Andre Dubus III

Andre said he read a poem every morning before sitting down to write. I can do at least that much, here, and practice the sitting.

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.” MO

“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”  MO

“Ten times a day something happens to me like this – some strengthening throb of amazement – some good sweet empathic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.” MO

“So every day
So every day
I was surrounded by the beautiful crying forth
of the ideas of God,
one of which was you.” MO

“I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what shall—
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.” MO

“Most of the time I feel stupid, insensitive, mediocre, talentless and vulnerable—like I’m about to cry any second—and wrong. I’ve found that when that happens, it usually means I’m writing pretty well, pretty deeply, pretty rawly.” AD

“And I felt more like me than I ever had, as if the years I’d lived so far had formed layers of skin and muscle over myself that others saw as me when the real one had been underneath all along, and I knew writing- even writing badly- had peeled away those layers, and I knew then that if I wanted to stay awake and alive, if I wanted to stay me, I would have to keep writing.”  AD

I took a class last year with Andre Dubus III (author House of Sand and Fog and Townie) . Being around a man from Newburyport was the gift of New England home on a rainy Seattle afternoon, and we have a mutual friend in Joe Salvatore (author of To Assume a Pleasing Shape /editor of the Brooklyn Rail), from Brockton, a friend from a thousand barefoot years ago. I take these writing classes to remind me of what I have always thought I would do – and should do. Andre said he read a poem every morning before sitting down to write. I can do at least that much, here, and practice the sitting.

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