artist
michele r gutlove
email
phone
508.650.5757

Long ago when I was Ursula
writing, but not “the writer,”
and not very plural yet,
and worked with the owls not the sparrows,
being young, scribbling at midnight:

I came to a place
I couldn’t see well in the darkness,
where the road turned
and divided, it seemed like,
going different ways,
I was lost.

I didn’t know which way.
It looked like one roadsign said To Town
and the other didn’t say anything.

So I took the way that didn’t say.
I followed
myself.
“I don’t care,” I said,
terrified.
“I don’t care if nobody ever reads it!
I’m going this way.”

And I found myself
in the dark forest, in silence.

You maybe have to find yourself,
yourselves,
in the dark forest.
Anyhow, I did then. And still now,
always. At the bad time.

When you find the hidden catch
in the secret drawer
behind the false panel
inside the concealed compartment
in the desk in the attic
of the house in the dark forest,
and press the spring firmly,
a door flies open to reveal
a bundle of old letters,
and in one of them
is a map
of the forest
that you drew yourself
before you ever went there.

The Writer At Her Work:
I see her walking
on a path through a pathless forest,
or a maze, a labyrinth.
As she walks she spins,
and the fine thread falls behind her
following her way,
telling
where she is going,
where she has gone.
Teling the story.
The line, the thread of voice,
the sentences saying the way.

The Writer On Her Work:
I see her, too, I see her
lying on it.
Lying, in the morning early,
rather uncomfortable.
Trying to convince herself
that it’s a bed of roses,
a bed of laurels,
or an innerspring mattress,
or anyhow a futon.
But she keeps twitching.

There’s a *lump*, she says.
There’s something
Like a *rock*—like a *lentil*—
I can’t sleep.

There’s something
the size of a split pea
that I haven’t written.
that I haven’t written right.
I can’t sleep.

She gets up
and writes it.
Her work
is never done.

—Ursula K. Le Guin, from “The Writer on, and at, Her Work”