I don’t think of myself as a jealous person. Or envious, covetous, or whatever word we use to say we want what someone else has :). But I am not rational about other people’s writing.

My cousin has a blog. Several friends have blogs. They all seem witty, meaningful, full of information that’s useful, and a hell of a lot more interesting than this is.

Now, if you write, or you’re balmy for bees, you may find a home here. If poetry is your mother tongue, if obscure Buddhist terminology I’m learning is your cup of Hao Ya tea, we may get along fine. But as the deadline for appealing to a broader audience looms on a horizon formed where a line of text meets the edge of a blank page, I confess to anxiety. Anxiety? It may well be upwelling madness…

My cousin’s blog is full of her own austere, overwhelming photographs of Navajo country, where she lives. A friend’s french bread recipe got 186 views (I just made it 187 :). A colleague’s blog moves smoothly from the arbitrary misfiling of a video to a commentary on immigrants. Mine is a Cretan labyrinth, minus the golden thread.

imageI’d like a golden thread. Something that would lead me to the heart of the matter. Help me create meaning from what often seems like a journey of hitting my head on blank walls… Oh wait — that would be writing…

I used to think that writing was journalism, observation and narrative. And certainly some of the most entertaining is. But it’s also an explorer’s trip: a setting out into the dark unknown, not certain what you’ll find, or even if you’ll return. I have written poems from which I never returned. At least not the same woman who began them — the woman starting out did not come home. Some other, changed and even transformed woman came out the other side.

The thing about the Cretan labyrinth (that differs from the mediæval maze) is that you follow it, and it leads you ~ eventually ~ to its heart. You will get ‘there’ if you just keep going. W/ the maze, you may hit blank wall after dead end after blank wall and dead end :). So maybe writing is both…?

Lately I’ve been thinking about how my life is such a web of connections. Almost a tangle, but with a hint more order. Like the ragged-from-birth web of the garden orb weaver, probably my favourite spider. And yes, I realise most folks don’t have favourite spiders — I do. I even have a ranked list: 1) the argiope spiders (especially the yellow & black orb weaver) — they’re all garden spiders, and have beautiful colours and giant webs; 2) the Oklahoma brown tarantula (they remind me of summers at Mom & Dad’s, w/ the boys); 3) the tiny yellow jumping spider (fingernail-sized); and of course 4) the Daddy long-legs, fragile skeletal dancer of a spider.image

The web is a labyrinth, if you think about it. There’s a center, the heart of things, from which it all radiates. And you can trace the spiral to the heart, just like the labyrinth. I know: pretty obvious. But for me, this kind of stuff is like fresh comb honey…

See? This is exactly what I mean: I started on jealousy and envy, and the reasons for blogs, and here I am off on spiders and webs and honey… But it really is all related. I’d like to think it’s because I’m a poet — the way I see the world is through metaphor, analogy. This is like that. The this is how the orb weaver’s web becomes a metaphor of the slightly haphazard connections I make daily. That (The Orb Weaver) is also the title of a collection of poems by a poet I studied — Robert Francis.

His is not a poem flattering to the poor spider, comparing it to the darker side of human nature. I don’t see it that way, as a bug lover ????. Spiders, to my knowledge, don’t stew over how well-crafted the written pottery of their friends, family and colleagues is. Bemoan the higher quality of sparkling mead compared to still water.

So I’m back on writing, and the sheepish realisation that I’m often that classic stereotype ~ the writer writing about writing. Today, though, I’m really writing about webs. And my favourite spiders. Oh ~ and don’t forget the Cretan labyrinth…