Wednesday, 8 pm
I am cross and discontented right now because I didn’t accomplish much today. Tidying (a little), pruning the basil and blogging were my major accomplishments for the day. I’m not certain where the rest of the time went, either; that’s the puzzling thing.
Husband is away from home this evening, so this is a throwback to the old days for me: the semester I lived in Germany, actually alone in an apartment for the first time in my life. The last, too, now that I think of it. I’ve been living with friends and/or NTS ever since.
I was pensive and productive during those months in a way I’ve seldom been since. I was alone—not always, but when I didn’t have plans. I was alone, and being alone, created my own company. I had little access to a fiction library, not having discovered project Gutenberg and online books, and had no internet access nearer than the university. Public wi-fi was not a priority in small Bavarian towns at the time.
I wrote half a novel in those six months. A callow adventure, to be sure, but the story lived during that time in a way it hasn’t always managed since.
It didn’t hurt either that the sun would set behind the hills in an orange flow, and paths wound unpeopled through the hills for my especial benefit, drawing in strands of summer’s hilltop light that never would make it to the surrounding valley.
I went to Rome that semester, to Salzburg and Paris. I skied in [the Alps] and lived in Munich. But it’s not the snow-topped mountains I remember. It’s the hills that ring Eichstaett, a unicersity town no one has even heard of except for the students and the pilgrims. It’s the light that they hold and the life where I walk to school like Heidi along a footpath that weaves between grass and tree to village edge.
Anyone who writes fairy tales knows the seductive pull of liminal space: between day and night, light and darkness, good and evil. Magic kingdoms exist in those spaces, and goblins creep about the edges, rubbing long, wicked fingers. Suspended in the hills between glow and shadow, day hung suspended for infinite moments. It was in those moments that I breathed in dusk and summer and breathed out story.
Now the days grow long again, and dusk falls on trees lashing in spring wind. Night has fallen. I’ve written away the moments between day and dark; written the light into my own words. A candle against the night.
A candle flame is not nothing.
I am not cross.