From Ross: The Brazilian philosopher, Rubem Alves, retells a Gabriel Garcia Marquez story about a dead body washing ashore a small and lifeless fishing village. As the women prepare the body for burial, their imaginations alight with new stories, speculating who the dead man might be, what his voice sounded like, where he came from, who his family was, who he loved, who loved him. The men watching became jealous and made up their own stories. The village became alive with these imaginations, full of new thoughts and stories. The dead man resurrected their conversations and brought with him new joy. His death brought the village life.
The poet, Elizabeth Myhr understands the intrinsic power of words and elucidates this new life writers bloom into the world with her meditation titled “Hello”.
This writer does not jump into creativity. Creativity bumps into her on its way through the world.
I walk around, go to work, take care of my family, drive up a long, shaded city street and for just one moment the words drift into the brain from right to left. The brain sees them out of the corner of its internal eye, a phrase, incomplete, but unmistakably new. This is the beginning.
One who is not a writer does not pay attention, or sees and lets go of the gift. The gift’s living nature is to be ever moving. It has the quality of light. It is not a product of the human brain.
The writer has a tool called language by which she pins this light down on paper. There it listlessly flaps its beautiful wings, its shine vanishing. Then it dies.
The writer pins it to a board we call a document. Then the writer’s work starts. Using this tool and this board, the writer creates the world around this piece of captured light, this butterfly. When she’s finished with the construction, she pulls out the pin. The resurrected creature lifts its antennae, the wings fold up, and with a quick, tiny jump, it flies away.
Look, there is a reader with a butterfly net.
For the writer, there is only one word, the word of recognition: “hello.”
Elizabeth Myhr is a poet, editor and product development manager. Her debut book of poetry the vanishings & other poems, was published by Calypso Editions in October of 2011. She holds an MFA in poetry from Seattle Pacific University and lives in Seattle with her family.