In it for the long haul

As I’m wont to do when my partner is away, I was up late last night, working on the computer until my eyes crossed. I remembered too late there was a program I’d wanted to watch but picked up the remote anyway.

Notebooks and journals

Some of the dozens of journals and notebooks I haul with me every time I move

I lucked onto a short documentary on William Stafford. He’s long been one of my favorite poets. I remember the sense of loss I felt when he died. I still have a bright memory of a reading he did at Seattle’s Elliott Bay Book Company, as well as the books I bought that night.

The quote below slipped by too quickly in the documentary. I caught most of the first sentence, none of the second.

Fortunately, a retired pastor, Muriel T. Stackley, knew the whole quote and posted it in an essay on the Mennonite Weekly Review. She wrote: “This comes from a 1990 lecture at Bluffton University in Ohio, drawing on notes from Stafford’s four years in camps for conscientious objectors to war.”

I’m posting the quote for three reasons:

  • I’ll need to re-read it now and then. Maybe I’ll even memorize it and pull it out of my mental hat next time someone asks questions that show they’re mystified by my spending so much time on blogs that don’t add coins to my coffers.
  • I have decades of journals and letters that I haul with me whenever I move. Not every entry or letter is worth saving, but many are, at least while I’m alive to enjoy them.
  • In mining those journals and letters for stories to share on the blogs, I’m re-visiting my life. There are passages painful to read, but mostly I look back with gratitude at all I’ve experienced.

Keep a journal, and don’t assume that your work has to accomplish anything worthy. Artists and peace workers are in it for the long haul and not to be judged by immediate results. Redemption comes with care. In our culture we can oppose but not subvert. Openness is part of our technique. ~ William Stafford

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Tweets that mention In it for the long haul « Story Route – Cathryn Wellner -- - August 4, 2010

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Quotes4Writers, MW, Dying Light, Alex Mindt, Joanne Martin and others. Joanne Martin said: RT @StoryRoute: "Keep a journal, & don’t assume that your work has to accomplish anything worthy." Wm Stafford #writing […]

Judith - August 7, 2010

as always and ever grateful for your wise words and also those of Wm Stafford… especially this evening as I am just in from sitting in my quiet garden space (yes, you know the one), where I wrote in my brandy-new journal volume whatever… where I felt the journal energy of May Sarton too. blessings, my friend.

storyroute admin - August 8, 2010

Your comment warms my heart. I can picture in the quiet garden, writing words from that large spirit of yours.

DazyDayWriter - August 27, 2010

Journals are wonderful — any color, size, style. Partially used, totally exhausted (even the margins and cover pages filled with scribbles and thoughts), or barely begun. I have journals in various states of existence, you see! Usually when I have a flash of insight, I just reach for paper or a journal or the keyboard … so who knows where the insight will truly come to land. Such is the life of a writer … a poet … always chasing the next thought, always in pursuit of the next journal. Thanks for your blogs … all of them add to our mortal days and the quality of our brief time here on planet E.

storyroute admin - August 27, 2010

With a new journal and a new pen in hand (or even a refill of my trusty old fountain pen), and I feel incredibly rich. We have similar collections of journals and computer files and scraps of paper – and they are all like treasure boxes when we reopen them. I don’t know how anyone ever finds the time to run out of ideas!

I’m so grateful to you for being in my life.

Leave a Reply: