Friday, August 24, 2007

A Note to New Readers ...

I have maintained this site as an online archive of The Jetty, my first, enormously lengthy blog. There are over 500 posts from a roughly 2 year timespan. I'm proud of most of them - some, though, won't make much sense without the context of the online activities/daily events to which I was responding.

I hope readers can find a few sparkling pieces here amid the slate and shale. I'll keep maintaining this site for as long as blogger will allow me.

Kind regards,
Cassie Lewis

Monday, March 28, 2005

You can follow my continuing adventures in writing, at the following address:

This new blog will be less personal, less a writing project than an 'architectural
survey' of literary process and inspiration.

See you there!

Cassie Lewis

Thursday, March 17, 2005

I am following silence

There is no beginning, no end. I have been offline for a few months, and "A silence like snow" was, deliberately, the final post in 'The Jetty' sequence. That writing project has reached its natural conclusion, and since that time I have focused on its genesis in me.

After looking out on Lake Ontario, I left the foreshore. I have been amid stars. This blog, pared back, rather than rewritten, has become a manuscript. And will become, some day, an object in the world, a book in my hands.

I hope the book will sit in your hands finally. Or that your hands, cupped, will be filled with
running water.

Or that images are clues that will lead us home.

My online friends ... I have had to drive down this rainy street. I have had no input except from the road, slick with black ice. Street lights every few hundred feet. Amid stars.

Soon I will start a new blog. Perhaps not today. My new apartment is latent with words' precursors. Last night my friend Christine and I sat on the floor listening to Keren Ann's new CD 'Nolita', and suddenly we saw vines springing up the walls of my kitchen.

My breath holds.

Once I know the words I'll link to them, and a new website, here.


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

"A silence like snow"

I seem to remember Sheila Murphy quoting this phrase, but the name of the original
author eludes me just now.


I am going to stand silently on the jetty and look out on Lake Ontario as the snow falls
on my hat, my scarf, my gloves, my upturned face. It's a beautiful image, and that is the
image with which I am going to end this blog.


In yoga class today I finally understood what my teacher has been trying to show me.
There are gaps between thoughts. If you allow the gaps to become longer, the curtain
of thoughts - tinkling like rows of beads - parts and you are deep inside of consciousness
itself, deep inside silence.


Mine is a broken but deep faith like a river inside of me. I believe in people even
when I do not trust a word they say.

In church the other day, I rebelled inwardly at all things scriptural. I wanted to stand
up and say " you see something but nobody else can see it in your words. They can only
see it in what you do, in the degree to which you are the demonstration of your words."

Words are 'mirrors of our self-regard', to quote John Forbes. I read the bible and I see
myself. The face of God is behind my face. Until the concepts of 'face', of 'god' fall away
I can never see the face of god.

All we see when we read the bible is that of which we are already convinced, until
the gaps between words become very large. Then, perhaps, we might sense the
depth of love or fear or pain that occasioned the words.

It is the same with vows. With ordering coffee. Statements of all kinds, ordinary,
sacred or profane.


I am a writer, but what is behind the concept 'writer'?


It occured to me this morning that poems tend towards wisdom, towards depth
not because of any particular insight on the part of their craftspeople. I know
a great many poets. They are just people.

I know a great many people who are no better or worse, as people, than poets.


It dawned on me - the sun behind this thought - is that by virtue of its sheer
compression, poetry generally pushes a little further into the unknown than
novels are able to.

(But any novel that does so is a poem in my eyes. See, for instance, Jean Rhys'
'Wide Sargasso Sea'. And similarly, in a novelist's eyes a brilliant poem might
approach the scope of 'War and Peace'.)


Linguists often note how many words the Eskimo people have for 'snow.'


Why do we, we who speak only English, have only one word for 'love'?


Another word for love might be 'snow'.


"My god is immense, and lonely
but unbowed"

- Ted Berrigan, in 'Words for Love'


God is a word for love is a word for snow.


Language isn't enough. The most a writer can hope for is to fail with
grace. I can gesture towards a feeling but I cannot make you feel
what I feel when I feel snow on my face.

I cannot understand what you mean when you say 'love'.


'Failure' is a concept. As the gaps between words widen, it too falls away,
tinkling like the glass of a beaded curtain. Time, too, falls away, and in the
silence no explanation is necessary.

'Silence' is a concept too. Behind it is that towards which we can only gesture.
One gesture might be "my friendship extends as far as the hand that holds
your coffee cup now, and at other times it richochets off stars".

It is hard to know where we are going because all the signs lead to a place
without signs and symbols of anything, anything. They lead to place where
we and the universe just are.


This is our shared loneliness.


Behind it is the silence of snow.


'Thank you' is a gesture, readers, take my hand.

Monday, December 20, 2004

(Rereading this blog from start to finish tonight its repetitions seem to coil around eachother a maze that enfolds itself into itself endlessly and I think this is an accurate reflection of how I think as I am writing it.

When I write a POEM it is like a cinematic instant, a DNA segment removed from the whole. It says specific things about a finite field of variables but the interactions are potentially limitless.

When I talk I am here. I am wearing a watch. But sometimes I am not here or time floats.)
Burning Bright

If I could be friends with any animal I'd like to be a tiger's friend. He and
I would lie in the sun.

Then at night the tiger would pace around the campsite, guarding a wide
arc around the fire, beside which I slept.

My pillow - made from woven-together cloths from the clothes I took
with me from when I was a princess.

The pillow would be a crazy quilt of silks and saffrons, fading with sun
and many cares.

Every morning the tiger would yawn with incredible silent strength and
flex his powerful shoulders. Cat yoga.

I would wake up, yawn, and stretch my own scrawny shoulders until one
day I would wake up and I would be the tiger and the tiger would be me.

One personality, part child, part tiger.
But also I don't want to sleep because there are so many things
to dream awake.

Snow makes the town a new town.

Life puts on its magic cloak, and I am seven years old,
up late reading by torchlight.
My sleep test came back normal.
I'm normal.

But I still can't sleep.
Can't sleep can't sleep can't sleep.

At least it is the world's problem, now,
and not mine.

Headline in tomorrow's paper:


(Philip Whalen's poem 'Further Notice' deals with this theme.)

Sunday, December 19, 2004

I just woke from a nightmare about lawyers!

Friday, December 17, 2004

About 25 millilitres of clarity

This has been a very intense ... life. For the benefit of confused
friends, let me say

* Yes, I am still in Rochester
* Yes, I am staying in Rochester, for the next several months, anyway
* Yes, I am single now
* Yes, I am getting my own tiny place in the new year some time
* Yes, it is snowing here but
* No, I'm not riding my bike anymore because my bike needs to go to the repair store,

plus my first winter proves too cold for cycling
after all.