My blogs have been dreary lately as I ricochet from crisis to crisis. I do apologize. I/we need to consider something fun and stimulating. When in doubt I turn to Elias Canetti (1905-1994), the Bulgarian/British writer who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1981. Most of his work is too heavy and serious for me. I was tempted recently to read Crowds and Power but a friend and mentor warned me off, saying it's nothing like the two books I love - that he didn't know about. They are The Writer's Notes: 1954-1971 and The Secret Heart of the Clock: Notes, Aphorisms, Fragments (1973-1985), and they are delicious. My copies look like hedgehogs, bristling with post-it notes sticking out of them and inside, the pages are lined and underlined with comments and notes and references by me. These books will go into my archives because they have influenced me so much.
There are descriptions of people or situations that cause me to note for possible stories; there are phrases that trigger (light) poetry; others that (perhaps) describe a state of mind that Canetti was going through at the time, or maybe not:
"If you had traveled more, you would know less."
"If you just wanted to name everything that exists, a lifetime would not be enough. Let alone wanting to know it!"
But then here's an entry that sounds more like a journal, i.e. more than merely (?) an aphorism or a summary:
"...now the silence has entered me and I am happy. I am not tempted to go anywhere. I don't know what to do next. I am waiting, waiting for the thunderbolt and the powerful voice...I often regret that my mind never acquired an English wardrobe...."
I mustn't say too much. You have to see for yourself.
I have an expression I have often used, and describe what it means in my book about writing: seedbeds. I keep a special bookcase full of books that are my seedbeds, like petri dishes ready to grow something from a germ or seed. These two books by Canetti are in my seedbed bookcase.
"Insatiable need for words. Is that immortality?"