My brain finds connections I can’t completely explain between the Shu Ting poem I posted last week and this passage by bell hooks:
“I did not wait for desegregation, for college, for creative-writing classes, for grown-ups to show me the way. I found my vocation. It called to me and I was determined to answer the call. I began to write in my girlhood. And I am writing still, moving swiftly into midlife with a body of words I have made into books beside me. No passion in my life has been as constant, as true as this love. No passion has been as demanding. When words call, to answer, to satisfy the urge, I must come again and again to a solitary place — a place where I am utterly alone. In that moment of grace when the words come, when I surrender to their ecstatic power, there is no witness. Only I see, feel, and know how my mind and spirit are carried away. Only I know how the writing process alchemically alters me, leaving me transformed. Other writers tell of how it works within them. Written words change us all and make us more than we could ever be without them. Still the being we become in the midst of the very act of writing is only ever intimately present to the one who writes.”
– from the preface to “remembered rapture”
“A drop of rain dripping from the clouds
Felt ashamed when it saw the vastness of the sea:
‘Where there is a sea, what am I!
If it is there, then I am nowhere.’
When it saw itself with humility
An oyster adopted it and nourished it with heart:
Fate carried on its work to such an extent
That it became a celebrated pearl, befitting a king.
It attained sublimeness when it humbled itself;
Knocking at the door of non-existence, it became
– Saadi (Translated by Mirza Aqil-Husain) from Persian Poets