Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Before the Ruby-throated Hummingbird Stood Still

When not composing on the computer (and before that on a Remington Quiet- Riter exactly like this
one which my parents bought me as a junior high graduation gift), I jot down bits and pieces of rantings and ravings on a 7 1/8 x 5 1/4 inch account book--the perfect size for my miniscule scribblings. 

Number one starts on January 11, 1975 in Seattle and finishes (with stopovers in London and Paris) in Greece in July 1976; the one I'm currently scribbling in is number twelve. That's not much of an output but what can you expect from a humming bird.



  1. A bird that hums, but knows the words.

    Funny, a few months ago, our youngest son came home with that same typewriter model, old beat up case and all.

  2. I love this kind of thing. Just yesterday I posted (somewhere—where?—can't recall) a comment (now I have it!—over at ursprache to the effect that the magic is not in the first draft but in the revision. (Turned out to be a quibble over terms.) Anyway, your worksheets, like mine or anyone's I imagine, have the aura of magic about them. I remember once seeing reproductions of an alchemist's notebook (or maybe I dreamed it) whose pages were covered with similar birdtracks of the visiting Genius. Fascinating!

  3. William--

    Like you my friend--"A bird that hums, but knows the words" = one that prefers a low-keyed eloquence. As for that relic of the past, I'm sure it is now in much better hands.


    I saw your comment at ursprache and wanted to agree with you but then something else showed up and I forgot--sounds familiar?

    Even when poets have written a poem in the very first sitting (which is a rare bird,by the way), the seed had been sown a good while back and kept warm in their subconscious waiting for the moment to sprout. (Sorry for that rather pompous-sounding extended metaphor but it couldn't be hummed!)


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