Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Stillness, Noise and Chasing Out the Agony

In the summer she kept roses in a vase on the piano, 
huge, pungent roses, and when the blooms ripened and the petals fell, 
she put them in a tall Chinese jar, with cloves and thyme and sticks of cinnamon.
-Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping
The roses are still blooming. I mention it again because it's such a marvel to me: frothy, pungent roses in January. I realize, intellectually, that this is a symptom of chaotic weather patterns and even, perhaps, a petaled harbinger of strange weather to come. But today it doesn't matter. Today, I have roses, and today that's beautiful enough for me.

I've been drying and saving petals, just like the "competent" character in Housekeeping. I've also started making my own rose water (watch this pretty 2 minute tutorial here) and using it in a room spray and in a honey-infused, natural face wash. And yesterday I added the delicately scented water to a beeswax and comfrey salve I'm making for my dry, winter-stricken hands. I literally, seriously, gasped when I smoothed it on my hands after washing dishes last night. Oh my. I must, must, must figure out how to make bigger batches and share with others. That salve was... instant solace.

It's quiet here this morning but my mind is a noisy, churning machine. I suppose that's why I appreciate the stillness of an empty, hushed house when I'm alone here; it's so loud in my head that additional sound competes and frustrates. Does anyone else experience that?

Perhaps it's because I'm also knee deep in the book. Ah, the book. The characters are alive now... seemingly as real to me as friends I seldom see. Maya Angelou once said that There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. That agony has weighed so heavily on me these past 8 years, but the load is shifting now, and soon I'll be able to put it down. The story will, in a couched-in-fiction sort of way, be told this year. It terrifies me and vindicates me and affords me the chance to give that real-life story the ending it will never have. Is this why others write? I sat in Starbucks last week, face toward the wall, silent tears burning channels down my cheeks, and became so overcome by the emotion of it all that I got up and left. Right then.

Okay. So roses and a tutorial and a salve preview/plug and a working book mention. Does this count as a blog post? I'm hitting that bright orange "Publish" button anyway....

Is it Wednesday? Ah. Happy mid week, friends. -Brin

(There was an Amazon affiliate link in there somewhere. I think we're supposed to say that now, right?)


Kathleen Grace said...

Thank you for the rose water link. I'll have to wait for summer, no roses in Michigan right now! But how lovely to look forward to. I imagine the hardest part of writing is starting, once you begin I'm sure it will all come rolling out. Best of luck, I know you can do it!

Shelley in SC said...

I'm already eager to read that book!! Love your writing . . . as always.

Betty said...

Brin, I'm ready to read the book and that salve sounds fabulous for dry winter hands!

Patsy said...

There aren't any roses right now in Illinois but oh I wish there were. I am glad your holidays were good. God bless.

Kay Thomas said...

Just wanted to let you know that I have gotten no newsletter. I got the confirmation but never a newsletter. Thanks.

Gail said...

I am looking forward to your book.