Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Recollecting in Tranquility

The Writer's Almanac tells us that on this day in 1798, Wordsworth began to compose one of his most famous poems, "Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey on revisiting the banks of the Wye during a tour, 13 July 1798."  Of course, you probably know it as "Tintern Abbey," if you know it at all.

In many ways, "Tintern Abbey" serves as an overture to all of Wordsworth's work.  The major themes are there:  love of nature and its consolations, consideration of childhood, a bit about the writing process (I'd sum up Wordsworth's process as recollecting great emotion at a safe distance), his relationship with Dorothy.

So, today might be a good day to reread "Tintern Abbey."  How many years has it been for me?  Oh, how I wish I could say, "Five years have passed," and echo that poem, but I fear it has been longer.

You say you are not into Wordsworth?  I understand.  Maybe you want to revisit the movies of Cameron Crowe, who celebrates a birthday today.  I'm probably the only female in America who didn't like Jerry Maguire, but I did love Crowe's earlier movies.  When I'm old and senile, I'll probably remember my high school boyfriend standing outside my window with a boom box--but of course, that didn't happen to me.  That's part of the plot of Say Anything.  I loved Fast Times at Ridgemont High, although my high school was much more boring.  Or maybe it was just me who had a fairly low-drama high school life.

Crowe was a writer before he was a movie maker; he wrote for Rolling Stone, and he got a shot at interviewing a lot of newer bands, bands he liked, because the older writers turned up their noses at those bands.  There's a lesson here, but I don't feel like pontificating this morning.  Still, it's interesting to think about opportunities that may come our way if we follow our passions.

Bllhhh.  I hate it when I sound like Oprah too early in the morning!  Not that there's anything wrong with Oprah.

So, in honor of Wordsworth, think about your biggest passions, your truest loves.  Have you written about them yet?  If not, what are you waiting for?  As Jennifer Egan reminded us last year in A Visit from the Goon Squad, we don't have world enough and time (I know, I'm quoting Marvell, not Wordsworth); time's a goon coming to break our kneecaps and steal our most precious memories.

If you knew you only had a year to live, what would you write?

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

Thanks for these memories, reminders, sweet urgings! Yes, have I written about my big passions?! I think so...but something remains unsaid, and you are the nice spur stuck to my sock!!