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Here is the next excerpt of my grandmother, Beatrice Allen Page’s, unpublished manuscript, Still Life with Figures:

“Another day of rain. It’s no longer a pittering rain. It’s coming down harder in what looks like fine strings, and always in the wind. Why do I keep having an absurd notion it should make a tiny clicking sound?

Now I have it: it reminds me of those old-fashioned beaded curtains that used to hang in doorways and swing gently, making little glassy clicks, in the draft created by someone’s passing through them.

The temperature has dropped and the house is beginning to feel damp and chilly. I have built a fire in the living room with some reluctant wood I found under the porch, and here I sit at a card table drawn up in front of it.

There is something irresistible about a blank notebook left open on a table with pen ready in hand. Just as an empty stage invites a dancer’s leap, or a clean canvas lures a painter’s brush, or a bare sidewalk temps a child’s chalk, these vacant pages provoke me to write on them. Odd, this human desire to put one’s mark on something. A small, symbolic act for want to ‘leave one’s mark upon the world?’ (Come to think of it, i.e., come to think of dogs and hydrants, the desire is not exclusively human.)

However, there is something more involved than covering blank pages with writing, i.e., writing a transcript of what’s already in one’s mind. I’m beginning to believe there is also the hope of discovering something heretofore unrealized – or perhaps uncovering would be the more apt word. I sometimes have the ridiculous notion when I turn to a fresh page that it is already filled with words written in invisible ink, and that somehow my pen will trace their shapes and make them visible. And then who knows what fascinating revelations I may come upon, what ancient mysteries, what message from the gods? I suppose what I really mean is that, like that oft-quoted old lady who didn’t know what she thought until she heard what she said, I’m not always sure what’s in my mind until I see what I write.

Expressing a thought in words, whether orally or in writing, is like setting a ball in motion: it may roll on farther than you anticipate, or in a different direction, and end up in some unexpected spot – not necessarily an interesting or attractive one, unfortunately.

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