Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rules for Walking

When I was growing up, just a few feet from the back of our house, all these wonderful meadows and woods sprawled out and upwards. I'd go for long walks by myself, with Cyrus, or Sarah, but mainly with our labrador, Dusty. We'd walk for hours. Since I've been back home, I've been doing long hikes in that same area. It might be one of my favorite places in the shire. I've been listening to audio books and also, just listening to the sounds of the valley. I've come up with a new idea for a young adult series of books based around these woods. More on that...once I write it. For now, the novel is in chapter 7 and moving along slowly but surely.

In Brenda Ueland's, "If You Want to Write," which is a helpful book (albeit a bit archaic), she says this about nurturing the creative spirit: “I will tell you what I have learned myself. For me, a long five or six mile walk helps. And one must go alone and every day.”

I also love this one: “So you see, imagination needs moodling - long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering."

And so I do. (And, as someone who has not had the luxury of writing full-time until now, I am grateful every day for this little carved out space. I only hope I can keep carving it out.)

Rules for Walking:



(First you will encounter a great oak. Here, you must listen carefully and lay down your worried brain.)


(Then, you must rub the soft dark bark of the manzanita tree three times for luck.)


(When you come to the reservoir and see the stones, practice gratitude (and also worry a little and then stop worrying.))


(When you can see the mountains of the valley, think of yourself as a real animal.)


(Where all the low hanging oak branches drop their grandfather's moss, get just a little lost.)


(When you climb down to the creek, this is surrender and dissolve. Also, remember the dog you had growing up, throw a stone in for her.)


(Think of everyone you love and blow them a kiss.)

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

You've inspired me to walk...and maybe actually write today. By the way, I bought Sharks in the Rivers and I have been really moved by all the poems. Can't wait to read the novel.

Best, David

Narayan said...

Keep walking, though there’s no place to get to.
Don’t try to see through the distances.
That’s not for human beings.
Move within, but don’t move the way fear makes you move.
Today, like every other day, we wake up empty & frightened.
Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
-- Rumi

Lowest Unique Bid said...

Quite beautiful pics....

thirsty_stork123 said...

Found your blog by happy accident through Readers and am having a ball reading it – archives, too; heading up Mendo way soon for R&R: writing, reading, cooking (and eating!), watching the waves roll in, going to the show for the popcorn with real butter on it; plenty of room in my ample hip pocket for Limonada's words. :-)

taoben said...

Hi Limonada - I've read a few of your posts and I've really been enjoying your poetic sensibility. It's nice to know that there are people who can walk with that patient mindset. You don't encounter them very often. Thanks for your words. I just started a poetry/writing blog of my own and I'm trying to find some folks who it might be cool to interact with as I dive into the blogosphere. You can check it out at www.tao-ben.com if you're interested. I'll keep my eye out for new posts! Good luck with the novel!

Anonymous said...

Hey Ada,
I did a doubletake in my car...soon after my two daughters came out of the bathroom at Jack London State Park, you walked by..took me a half hour driving home to realize it was you! Congrats on the blog and have fun reading at USF. If you are ever on campus, come by, I teach art there. Eric Hongisto

LONE MOUNTAIN READING SERIES - SPRING 2011
A series of free literary readings and discussions, open to the public
Presented by the MFA in Writing Program, USF

Ada Limón
Tuesday, February 8, 7:45 p.m.
Xavier Room, Fromm Hall

Ada Limón grew up in Glen Ellen and Sonoma, CA. A graduate of New York University's MFA in Creative Writing Program, she has received fellowships from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and won the Chicago Literary Award for Poetry. She is the author of three books of poerty: "lucky wreck" (Autumn House Press, 2005), "this big fake world" (Pearl Editions, 2005), and "Sharks in the Rivers" (Milkweed Editions, 2010). She is currently at work on a novel and a book of essays.

For more information, please visit www.usfca.edu/mfaw and click on News & Events.