These thoughts by Elisabeth Pike on beauty and writing resonated with me. They’re from an article entitled ‘Space to create’, which appeared in Third Way, April 2014.
I have heard it said that writing is as much about staring at the empty page as it is about writing. I love that. It takes the pressure off; it gives permission to dream. As Nabokov said in Lectures on Literature, the words will arrive when they are ready: ‘the pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamouring to become visible.’
Pike then quotes some lines from Virginia Woolf’s In a Room of One’s Own on idling and comments:
To idle! Did you hear that? There is always beauty to be found, whether we are at home looking after toddlers, or paying the rent with a day job.
The beauty is always there … you just have to take the time, open your eyes and perceive it.
And she quotes from Raymond Carver’s essay ‘On Writing’, published in Fires:
A writer sometimes needs to be able to stand and gape at this or that thing – a sunset or an old shoe – in absolute and simple amazement.
This, as Pike concludes, is what it’s about:
To live, to see, to idle, to communicate wonder!