Monday, December 26, 2005

The Night-Walker Takes Back the Blog


Every other Sunday
Originally uploaded by aliasgrace.



It was last March when I first happened upon Blogger. Looked kind of fun, and easy, too. I began typing in information on my computer.

BLOG NAME? the computer asked. Hmm. I thought of one of my favorite poems by Goethe:

THE SECOND POEM THE NIGHT-WALKER WROTE

Over the hilltops,
Silence,
Among all the treetops
You feel hardly
A breath moving.
The birds fall silent in the woods.
Simply wait! Soon
you too will be silent.


I'd call it THE NIGHT-WALKER! I typed the words with abandon, but then I started to get kind of creeped out. "Night walker" probably sounded romantic to Goethe, but it shared too much assonance with one of the terrors of our time--the night stalker. I imagined some lonely guy in a trench coat taking possession of my blog.

Or maybe the night-walker was a desperate woman wearing garish make-up who had stopped allowing herself to feel long ago. Nah, as much as I enjoy, well--walking at night--I didn't think I'd call myself an actual "night-walker". I pressed the delete key just in time, but I wasn't about to give up on the poem. The poem was my mantra, my daily reminder; I could never read it without feeling a little more alive. I typed in my URL address, naming my street after the poem's pointed exhortation.

Then I second guessed myself again. Simply wait? What kind of blog name blog was that? I opened a nearby book to a random page to a poem by Rumi. A line about a Marvelous Garden that yielded apples and pears out of season caught my eye. That would work. And besides, it didn't really matter what I called the blog. I was only playing around. My days were too full as it was. I certainly didn't have time to put much energy into blogging.

If only some of YOU had been around to warn me about the addictive nature of the game I'd begun. I posted something short, and felt a rush of the old pleasure I always felt when I had something published. But this time I'd done it myself! I showed my husband and my kids and a couple of my friends. Lookie! My very own blog. I posted a few times, but still had no idea what I wanted my blog to be. If anything.

And then an amazing thing happened. Someone read it, and left a comment! Someone I had never met before, someone who lived on the other side of the country, and had no reason to care what I thought, or what poems moved me, or the wild stories I brought home from my waitressing job. But she did. It was Diana from Seeking Clarity, and I still have no idea how she happened upon my blog, but by her generosity in leaving a comment (and yes it is a generosity), she pulled me out of my solitary nightwalking and into a world of community.

Once it was a real blog, I realized the Marvelous Garden was not the right name. Had never been the right name. For one thing, who was I to call the scruffy and overrun garden that is my private world "mah-velous?" I wanted to reclaim my original title, but thought it was too late. I was already linked in various places. I couldn't just change my name, could I? Then one day I went to visit the LUCID MOMENT, and found it had become THE COFFEE SUTRAS. And really, it was no problem. I could leave my link the way it was, and it would still lead to Kurt's illuminating blog. Or if I was ambitious, I could change it, but I didn't have to.

A week later I took out the poem and read it again before I made the change. Did I really want to name my blog after a poem about death? Did I want to greet the world with the unspoken message "Simply wait--you're gonna die soon"? Was that the best I could do?

I read the poem again, and decided that there was nothing morbid or threatening or ugly about the death that Goethe was describing. It was, quite simply, the ultimate reality. As real as the trees and the hilltops and the birds that rested in the stillness of their branches. You can pretend it's not there and place way too much importance on things that don't matter at all. Or you can look fearlessly into Goethe's bright and beautiful night and make the most of every breath you take.

Simply wait.

42 comments:

tom said...

thanks....I was going to ask why you changed the name...it makes sense, and I look forward to more of your work...if we could all only wait simply, the world would be a more peaceful place.

tom said...

thanks....I was going to ask why you changed the name...it makes sense, and I look forward to more of your work...if we could all only wait simply, the world would be a more peaceful place.

Kerstin said...

I looked up the original version and a more literal translation of the German title (Wandrers Nachtlied) would have been "The Wanderer's Night Song", no associations to stalkers here! But a bit more of a mouthful for a blog name :)

I like the title "Simply Wait", especially now that I understand your thoughts behind it; actually gave me goosebumps ...

Rexroth's Daughter said...

It is good to know the origin of the name. I agree with Kerstin, the meaning of these words in context is actually quite breathtaking. I'm glad you decided you could go with it.

Mark Gamon said...

It's a great name, Patry. I wish I'd been told Goethe was a buddhist - I'd have probably tried to read him by now...

amy said...

Blog naming is a difficult feat... because you know it's going to stick & you'll be laboring under that umbrella. I was trying to make up a new blog last night for the heck of it, and I came across a photo blog called "your waitress photos," which for some reason struck me. so i made up yourwaitresswords.blogspot.com and tried to integrate a found template on it. i like the look, but it doesn't really work though as it only shows one post. the others disappear; i know not why. and the name doesn't hit me the way the first one did.

oh, long story with very little related point, except that the look and the name are hard hard hard!

i like your bloggedy blog, Patry, and the name (particularly in our rushed world & bc I often repeat a phrase I got from a movie, "Wait for it..."), and even more, I wanted to wish you & yours a happy holiday! Cheers!

rdl said...

Good choice, I love it. I also like kerstin's translation - The Wanderer's Night Song.

west coaster said...

That's a great post. You're right comments are a generous gift. It means that your thoughts are taken seriously by someone. I would like to commend your blog, so I will.

Donna said...

Nice post. Nice poem. I've updated you from Marvelous Garden to Simply Wait.

liz elayne said...

Love this explanation. And the invitation to simply wait amidst it all.

MB said...

Perfect.

:-)

(Moose)

Dave said...

Wow, I had completely forgotten about that poem! I read a translation of it as a teenager, and I think it must've really impressed me, judging by how many times I have tried to write it.

"Simply Wait" is good...though I liked the old title, too. Thanks for clearing things up.

dog1net said...

Patry,
I like "Simply Wait." It carries the promise of something good to come when we just relax and show a little patience. Congrats on your almost one year anniversary with your blog. I know I'm glad to have discovered it and your writing.
Scot

Sharon Hurlbut said...

It's funny, but because your URL was always Simply Wait, I always thought of your blog as being that as well, despite the Marvelous Garden title. Simply Wait is perfect, on many levels, and I'm glad you've gone back to it.

Becca said...

love it!

colleen said...

I thought "simply wait" was a reference to waitressing with a twist of patience to it!

I enjoyed hearing this history. We started our blogs around the same time, and I had a similiar experience and reaction to blogging.

The line "simply wait!" reminds me of a poem and line that I like in the same way...by a Japanese poet...he says "admit it! you're happy!" (even when we're not...we're often happy in our unhappiness). I'll have to go see if I can find the poem.

colleen said...

PS I just can't help adding: Don't just do something, sit there!

Kurt said...

This title feels more appropriate to me. I'm glad you've claimed it as your own.

And thanks for the plug for The Coffee Sutras. For what it's worth, this is about my fifth blog title (and the second time around for this one), and most have included changes of address. In my experience, at least, your friends stick with you.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

"There is no need for you to leave the house. Stay at your table and listen. Don’t even listen, just wait. Don’t even wait, be completely quiet and alone. The world will offer itself to you to be unmasked; it can’t do otherwise; in rapture it will writhe before you."
--Kafka, REFLECTIONS ON SIN, SUFFERING, HOPE, AND THE TRUE WAY

Love the new title, except that now I'll have to go into blogrolling.com and change it...

Happy New Year, Patry!

Idi said...

Simply wait... So, indeed I wish you (and me too) very much patience where it is necessary in the New Year
Heidi

Melly said...

Wow, you actually put thought into it. You're always deep and meaningful and purposeful (sp?), Patry. What a great way to be.

Mary said...

So interesting to read another's description of those strange few days/weeks immediately after starting a blog. And I like the new name, Patry, and will be amending my link

tom said...

patry...I tagged you in a recent post...not sure if you participate in these...this is my first one and not sure if I will in the future....let me know where you stand on these...take car

Swirly said...

What a lovely story - thank you for sharing this. Happy New Year. :)

Lynn Hayes said...

As a new blogger I found this story inspiring, and your language beautiful to read. Thanks for your fine work!

Sara said...

I like the name Simply Wait. I like the double entendre which links it to your Waitress Poems site and the waitress part of your life.

I am relieved, also, by Kerstin's alternative translation of the Goethe. At least 15 years ago, I wrote a poem entitled "Night Walker" about the thrill of each moment of being alive and walking around in the California forest where I lived, one stunning night after another. At that time, I had never read the Goethe poem, at least, not with that exact turn of phrase in it, so when I read it here, I suffered a little frisson of a completely different flavor from the "Night Stalker" creepiness you experienced! For me it was more like, "Ack, unoriginality! Nooooooooo!"

Now, I liked Marvelous Garden, too. I did take it as referring to life and the imagination as gardens full of marvels, not as a literal garden in tidily landscaped order. This is good, too, though.

leslee said...

Starting out with a blog name seems so arbitrary because you really have no idea what it's gonna be when it grows up. It's like calling a puppy tiny and the thing grows up to be a monster (well, I guess with puppies you have some idea if you know the breed). Anyway, there's no reason not to change it and dub it whatever you want!

Simply Wait. Reminds me that the Tibetan Book of the Dead is really about living, no?

I'll go update your blog name now!

steve said...

Not since The Vernacular Body changed to Abdul-Walid of Acerbia have I read so much interest in a blog name change. I admit I loved the name "The Marvelous Garden." But the writing is as beautiful as ever. I just hope you won't follow Abdul-Walid out of the blogging world.

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