The love of words in any language.

“There must be a Russian word to describe what has happened
between us, like ostyt, which can be used
for a cup of tea that is too hot, but after you walk to the next room,
and return, it is too cool; or perekhotet,
which is to want something so much over months
and even years that when you get it, you have lost
the desire. ” – Barbara Hamby

Maybe it’s because I’m a Russian-Latvian that I find this beautiful. I love the Russian soul. It’s part of my blood; my history. It’s in my DNA. I have always had a love for words. I love Woolf, Greene, Austen, Eliot, Plath, du Maurier, Brooke, Flaubert, the Brontë sisters. So many.

But then there are the words written down by Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Turgenev, Chekhov, Bulgakov, Pushkin, Pasternak, Akhmatova. A man once told me that Tolstoy was the mind of the Russian people. Dostoyevsky, the soul. I almost fell in love with him then and there. Almost.

We can also look at the compositions that came out of Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Scriabin. Music felt in the chest. Resonating. We fear our hearts will explode. We cry to relieve emotions suddenly resurrected; uninvited.

And maybe it’s just the simple fact that I love the idea… the tepidness that comes from waiting.

 

 

 

http://www.barbarahamby.com/

 

“Let the line of thought dip deep into the stream…”

A re-printing of “Let the line of thought dip deep into the stream…”(MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2007)

“All these infinitely obscure lives remain to be recorded, I said… and went on in thought through the streets of London feeling in imagination the pressure of dumbness, the accumulation of unrecorded life, whether from the women at the street corners with their arms akimbo… or from the violet-sellers and the match-sellers and the old crones stationed under doorways… Above all, you must illumine your own soul with its profundities and its shallows, and its vanities and its generosities, and say what your beauty means to you or your plainness, and what is your relation to the ever-changing and turning world.”(Virginia Woolf, “A Room of One’s Own.”)

I wonder what Virginia Woolf – who is one of my favorite writers – would think of blogs today. I believe that she would be very excited about the availability of this form of expression for women writers everywhere. She had the belief that women needed five hundred pounds a year (in 1929) and a room of one’s own in order to have the freedom to pick up our pens and write.

I am lucky, finally, to have the ability to write full-time. I realize that I am in a wonderful position and am thankful, although it did not come easily. I feel, also, that having two blogs have given me a platform on which I can express myself. Blogs create a constant exercise in writing and thinking and putting your thoughts together. It is so important to write (if you are a writer) or to take photographs (if you are a photographer.) Whatever your dream, your focus, your end all be all, it is important to have the time to devote to it. Too many people do not have the time or money to concentrate on their dream.

Last month I wrote about my love of writing on the silky pages of a good journal. I even took a photograph of some of my lovely bound books. My two blogs – “A Bohemian Girl” and “The Weight of It” – both serve a purpose. One is a scattering of thoughts (which I hope are not ignorant ramblings) and the other one is a chronicle of something that is very important to me.

To Woolf, it didn’t matter if we were poets, fiction writers, or travel writers. She supported the woman’s desire to be a writer. It didn’t matter to her what sort of book you wrote. She even wrote, “Therefore I would ask you to write all kinds of books, hesitating at no subject however trivial or however vast. By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream.”(Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own”.)

“Let the line of thought dip deep into the stream…” What a fantastic line. What an inspiring thought. I want to inspire, because I want to be inspired in return. I want to be inspired by what happens in another person’s presence. By the simplicity of a situation. By a perfect moment. Moments that could have happened yesterday or twenty years ago, but will remain forever fresh in your mind.

I want to record these moments. Things like a conversation between strangers. The colors of Malaysia when it rains. A bird flying through an old barn’s rafters that has rays of light slicing through the air that are filled with dust. Sleeping on the top bunk as you take the night train to Saint Petersburg. Sitting on a Vermont mountain side amongst scultpures and tall grass as you take in all the nature around you. The Charles Bridge in Prague at midnight as the rain comes down softly while you walk past police officers and a couple in love with the castle on your right in the distance. Or an attractive man getting up to give you his seat. I could go on forever….

But inspiration should come naturally. There should be no pressure or design. It’s in the person’s make-up. In their own personal design. In their interest in the World around them. And because of this, they make you want to be the best person you can possibly be. Isnt it wonderful when you turn around and are surprised by inspiration? By a spark? By life? By something you have done! Or seen. Been lucky to have witnessed. Isn’t it lovely when you don’t have to say a word and the energy flows through you simply because you are sitting beside this person? And they can be a friend, a relative, a lover… Ah, inspiration is addictive… I love to be fueled, inspired, supported by my friends. By my loved ones. By my family. We should charge those around us. Inspire each other to do our best work and be the best people we can be.

Blogs are a form of expression. We are given anonymous free range to express to others who we are, what our thoughts on matters are, what our experiences have been like, what our memories are filled with. It’s a way of connecting to readers, friends, loved ones, strangers… I write in order to inspire. I write in order to keep my mind working. To keep it oiled, if you will. I write, because I have to and there is nothing else I could do. Or, rather, be happy doing.

To Write or To Draw

Almost two years have passed since I published a simple word or thought through A Bohemian Girl. This does not mean that I have not written other things. Grocery Lists. Emails. Letters. Notes. Journal entries on smooth white, lined paper. Long, elaborate texts. Facebook updates. Twitter.

There are a variety of approaches to writing: creative, editorial, scientific, to name a few. And I have always enjoyed blogging – as I wrote quite frequently on my previous “A Bohemian Girl” site – but there came a time when my life started to get complicated and I, in turn, ceased to put pen to paper (or in this case, fingers to computer keyboard.) I cannot blame anyone, but myself for my lack of time spent writing; time spent contemplating life or my sense of self; chronicling my daily (or weekly) activities; or expressing my thoughts and opinions.

When I was in France in May of 2009, I spent a great deal of time journaling in a number of notebooks that I collected on my month travel around the country. It felt wonderful sitting in Parisian cafés that once served patrons such as Ernest Hemmingway, Jean Paul Satré, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Lee Miller and Kiki of Montparnasse, among other writers, artists, models, philosophers and general wanderers. In Paris – or cities with similar histories – one can get lost in the romance of the place.

There, I wrote about being away from Los Angeles; about becoming reacquainted with my European upbringing and roots; about a script that had been running through my head; about love and heartache; about the food; about the French; about my desire to return to live in Paris part-time; and about my dream of being a filmmaker.

I have always used journaling – and now blogging – as an outlet. Great writers – like the amazing Virginia Woolf, who is by far my favorite writer – have used diaries as a way of not only expressing their literary and artistic selves, but also as a way of expelling their emotional burdens. I find writing to be an amazing way to “let go” and I am always interested in looking back over time to see how life affected me. In the future, my carefully chosen words will remind me about how happy I felt about my new love, photography. Today, I can look back and see how my life changed only days after my best friend Amanda suddenly passed away.

After my trip to France, I knew that life had to change, but I did not know how. I did not know how I was going to recapture something I felt I had once lost a long time ago – a sense of self that had become foreign to me. Somehow, I must have put it out into the Universe that I knew that everything was different, but I had no idea how to manifest a 180-degree about face; however, change quickly found me.

******

Below is a re-print of my August 11, 2007 blog entry entitled: “To Draw or Not To Draw.”

There is nothing like the craftsmanship of a firm, leather bound journal. You crack open the pages and you hear the crinkle as they become unstuck. Putting pen to page, you think about what you want to write. To write in such a beautiful journal – like Hemmingway and Greene – you cannot be wasteful with your words. It’s an art form in many ways. You don’t just rip out a page and start afresh. They are expensive books. They are heavy books.

When I was seventeen (when the sketch of the woman was done) I went to Rhode Island School of Design for the Pre-College Summer Program and found myself in paradise. Eight-hour studio classes drawing nude models all day and being surrounded finally by like-mined teenagers was bliss. I never wanted to go back home or to my stuffy prep school. NEVER!

Sketchbooks, journals, and notebooks. These are some of my favorite things.

When I wasn’t writing, I used to also carry a sketchbook around with me and would draw almost daily, filling the books with sketches of my classmates, of my school buildings, copying photographs and pictures in magazines. Kids used to say they didn’t understand me: “You’re in 3 varsity sports, you’re an artist and we find you reading Shakespeare in a tree!” So, I was the weird kid.

Sketch of A Woman (1996)

But those days of drawing every day in my sketchbook did end, although I have thought about taking that back up over and over again. It’s therapeutic and I think if you have a natural talent for something, you shouldn’t let it go to waste.

Virginia Woolf (1999)

But I guess when you really focus on one thing, like anything, other things get left at the wayside. Things get left behind and you have to figure out how to incorporate those things you love back into your life before you loose them forever. They’re like friends that you don’t want to loose touch with. I guess that’s one reason why art always finds a way into my stories. I have to have it around me. It’s all over my walls. I see it everyday. I read about it. I make sure it surrounds me in my life. It’s in me. I might as well make sure it comes out of me again.