not a pretty picture. not a good. not a bad. picture. but an argument.

Monday, January 9, 2012

please, always choose to deviate

it is 1 a.m.  i am on my way upstairs to bed.  i reach under the lampshade and turn out the light, a motion i have engaged in a thousand thousand times before, without thinking.  as i do so, i look out the living room window.  i am struck.  this exists.  i think of every time i have not acted in my life, not stood up, not thought, not felt, not breathed, not taken the picture, not written the poem, not stepped outside my boundaries to be present.  with great respect and recognition, i thought of donna telling me (on another post the other day) of this: 

I was driving home a few nights ago around 11 p.m. The sky was clear and the air was crisp. A part of me longed to find an open field where I could stand in the night and feel my puniness, the speck-of-dust space of my existence. But it was late and I was expected home. But it was late and my trajectory was already set: mom’s house to home, point A to point B, my safe world. My one world.

Approaching an intersection, the wet pavement reflecting the lights of gas stations, street lights and stop lights, I imagined the vast grid of streets that continued far out of my sight and my vehicle, antlike, following its programmed route.

I didn’t find a field. I didn’t even pull over to look at the sky.   To deviate was unthinkable.   almost. But telling it, it becomes a possibility not taken. 

(my bold and underscore.)

i tell myself, erin, you must always, always choose to deviate.  always the field exists.  screw whoever or whatever you think is waiting. 

i take the picture.


  1. And that, Erin, makes you a poet.
    The rest of us, stick to the script.

  2. is so lonely though, but one does pull good poems from those fields

  3. there's one thing i won't deviate from, erin.
    the rest will have to give
    if it gets in the way
    of that

  4. oh, and another thing: i love this picture.
    the timid light.

  5. Oh how so many of us long to deviate. We go through the same motions every day like robots. So many times I have gotten in my car and I feel like my car can drive it self home or to work,but I try to fight it. I want to take the picture. Yesterday after crying all day and just got home from going to the movies. All I wanted to do was go climb into bed and cry some more, but as soon as I got out of my car there it was! The moon was full and had me forgetting what I was wanting to do. I grabbed my camera to get some pictures. I did the same this morning. I usually get out my car and make my way into work to get out of the cold air but there I was grabbing my camera again in hopes to capture this beautiful moon that had me deviating from my normal routine. :)

  6. I echo the photographic sentiments - I'm thankful phones fit in pockets for easy snapshots :) . Other things though ... yesterday i opened the curtains in my cave of a dining room for the first time in eons to give me a new writing spot...why write from the same place? Amazing how this in turn can bring new turns in our writing (among other great things)!

  7. I want to deviate. It calls me but where can I deviate too without repercussions. Some days I feel like if I do not deviate I am going to cease to exist. But I stay on track. Always.

  8. rosaria, it is that i think we all have it in us to be more present and for some reason we too often choose to fail this.

    ollie, it is(?) but living itself is in great part loneliness. but to stand in the field is to contend with this, to allow it to happen and to celebrate it.

    andreas, you leave me hanging. i have to hope that the one thing you won't deviate from is deviation itself:)

    music, good for you. yes, we must dare. sometimes that crying is the deviation itself though. sometimes that crying is the recognition and celebration of this living. it is lonely to live. it is not easy. but we must stand in the field. or what else?

    aimee, light is everything, isn't it? in photography, in writing, in living. light gives birth to new things all the time. i can imagine your writing spot, how warm the tabletop is to the touch.

    steven, every day i wake up as though i've bumped my head and i have to work to remember.

    birdie, the repercussions are exactly what we need. they are our wake. they say, she is here.

    you are so much stronger than you realize. i've seen it in you from the first time i saw/read you here.


  9. and so glad you did.

    i'm a lifelong deviator. playing a shy and tentative romance with loneliness.


"Words at the limit of hearing, attributable to no one, received in the conch of the ear like dew by a leaf." (philippe jaccottet) or even a quiet presence is appreciated))