My writer’s brain requires a lot of different stimuli to keep on churning fast enough to function. A slowed down thought process is detrimental to my creativity. If you jumped out on the obvious limb and guessed that I probably have a hard time meditating, you were correct. Although I relish being alone, I do not handle quiet well. I need noise: a slightly too-loud television, a wide-faced Labrador crunching on a bone, a cat scratching on a door frame, low but audible music (The Clash or Patti Smith) pulsing from my laptop, discordantly lovely street noise breaking in through a few open windows, dogs racing and barking down the halls. Sirens. Car alarms. Screaming, skittering children. The sound of my bare feet beating against a table leg. A bus breaking to a stop. I could write with a baby squawking in my face. Noise. It’s beautiful. I work best in its chaotic midst: anarchy against silence. It’s a messy process, thank goodness. I am receptive to inspiration in much the same way. I like to receive it fast, in droves, from every direction. Once it has started, I seek it obsessively.
I returned from a road trip 3 days ago. Since then, I have been more visually inclined than usual. To an extent, this is not new: I’ve always been an art junkie, a face junkie, a photography junkie. I love to see and ponder and question the world from as many aesthetic perceptions and view points as I can. Maybe this has been (temporarily) enhanced by being so near, for a couple of days, to one of the true natural wonders of the world. Whatever the cause, these are some of the creators and creations I am currently (re)focusing on-to the good of my mind and writing.
[All images are in the Public Domain and are courtesy of Wikimedia Commons except the painting by Kevin Pogo Curtis, which is newly in my personal collection]
Theda Bara has amazing eyes. I love that you are obsessing over her.
Her eyes were incredible! I’ve actually been obsessing over Theda Bara for years. For the last 5 I’ve been lucky enough to live 5 minutes from where she was born and raised.
You live in Silent-era Hollywood?!
One time, I bluffed my way into the mausoleum of Clara Bow. It’s not as elaborate as Bette Davis’, but it’s still nice.
Ha! I wrote that I live 5 minutes from where she was born and raised, not that she is my neighbour. If she was, I would have some explaining to do (or at the very least some amazing stories). She lived in Cincinnati for the first 20 years of her life. Unfortunately, writing essays and columns about silent cinema is as close as I have come to perfecting the art of time travel. Thus far.
I like Clara Bow, too, by the way, but that is a redheaded thing.
It’s hard to imagine Theda Bara being from Cincinnati. I always see her as being so exotic, like Pola Negri.
If you do perfect time travel, let me know. We can photobomb a silent movie shoot.
Then the early movie publicists earned their pay a thousand times over. She was plain Theodosia Goodman of Cincinnati, the daughter of an affluent tailor. There was nothing naturally exotic about her (except, perhaps, those eyes).
If I perfect time travel, I will make a hobby of photobombing silent movie shoots. Or, you know, skip all that and just become a movie star. Either way.
Didn’t Tolstoy like to write in the village square?
I know about the noise, it’s a form of focus; I need to have something to shut out in order to concentrate.
Absolutely. I am most centered and focused when surrounded by noise. Even in middle school and high school, I did my homework with the television or music in the background. My mom did not mind because it got the job done. Mostly lifelong habit, I guess.
I’ve heard that about Tolstoy. No different than people writing in coffee shops today (which, oddly, I cannot do). Makes total sense, except I doubt he wrote in public just so strangers would look at him and say, “Wow, he must be a WRITER!”