An Answering Spirit

December 16, 2011

Cedar by Emily Carr, 1942

Totem Forest by Emily Carr, 1930

When I travel, I like take along reading material that relates to my destination.  For my weekend trip to Vancouver, B. C., I packed The Complete Writings of Emily Carr, and from that 900-page volume, I read her journals, called “Hundreds and Thousands.”  It was a perfect choice.

Emily Carr was an accomplished artist and writer from British Columbia.  She is well-known for her paintings of Northwest woods and totem poles.  But she was also quite gifted at painting with words.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading her journals for her thoughts on making art, making money, solitude, loneliness, and for her vivid similes and metaphors.

I was taken by one passage where Carr defines the difference between keeping a journal and writing a letter:  “Here I am, little book, having neglected you for some time.  I have written to Lawren twice, so that does you out of your little spiel for I work it off on him instead of on you.  It’s all the same as long as you can get it off your chest, only it’s easier when there is flesh and blood at the other end and, more than that, an answering spirit.”

I think that having flesh and blood at the other end of my blog, and more than that, the occasional answering spirit (my readers’ comments), is what has motivated me to keep posting for almost three years now.  Last week I reached a milestone — my 1,000th post!  I’ve never kept a diary or a private journal for so long.

It’s always rewarding when a good writer articulates something that rings true for you.  I love the idea of an answering spirit.  I hope that you keep your comments coming.  I really do appreciate every one of them.




7 Responses to “An Answering Spirit”

  1. garden2day Says:

    Congratulations! I love to read your blog and see your photos of nature as well as other things of interest. Your blog is real, relevant, and your thoughts are so valuable. Thank you for sharing your world with others.

  2. Roberta Says:

    There is a children’s book based on her. I don’t recall the title right off hand..

    • Rosemary Says:

      Well, I happen to be at the library right now, so I looked up the titles!! I found two — Four Pictures by Emily Carr by Nicolas Debon (2003) and Emily Carr at the Edge of the World by Jo Ellen Bogart (also several years old). Thanks for the tip about the books. I’ll have to read them.

  3. One thousand posts? Congratulations! I love the immediacy of feedback in comments.

    Have been learning a little, just a little, about totem poles. Apparently the carving is a record of history?

    • Rosemary Says:

      I’m not sure about the meaning. I do love the design of the totem animals, and all of the art of the Pacific NW tribes. The stylized lines are abstract, but so perfectly capture the essence of the animals.

  4. Hallysann Says:

    I didn’t realise how long it had been since I’d visited you here, I’m hoping for a chance to do some catching up today. 🙂

  5. Shirley Says:

    Keep it up such a joy for me to read each day

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