Weston’s daybooks

Jeremy lamented that Edward Weston’s Daybooks are out of print.

So, I thought I’d put up one of Weston’s entries, oddly enough concerned with writing:

July 4. 4:30 —with rain-like fog: not so pleasant for weekenders. I arose early, to be alone, to see my new work now mounted, to write and think quietly. Always someone sociably inclined to drop in for morning coffee,—Sonya, Cole, an early riser, Everett Ruess, camping in our garage,— a boy who has potentialities in painting and writing, and though I agree morning coffee can be a delightful ceremony, it is the one time I wish to be alone. Every day I must write with chattering all around me,—no wonder I feel like destroying as poorly-said my entries of the day before. This sounds like a poor excuse for poor writing, maybe is. I should not attempt to write then?—but I must write— Well, what luck! Here comes Sonya at this ungodly hour—couldn’t sleep with a bad cold and Everett rushes from the garage with paper in his hand bound for the woods on a hurry call— I am finished again —just this one thought-if my technique in writing was as strong as my technique in photography could I not write despite confusion?—for I am usually surrounded by near or distant confusion while photographing. I lack technique in writing, hence weak or incomplete expression. I have to think—and one must not think—have no need to while creating. Yet I go stumbling along, and someday may arrive.

This entry from 1930 cuts to the core of the crisis of writing. Not knowing how can impede you, and thinking about how to do it also causes a wall. Creation only comes with a certain freedom from thought. That’s why techné must be internalized. Weston, of all people, really knew that.

I still haven’t forgiven Sontag for trashing Weston. His daybooks, and his photographs were a big inspiration for me. So, the whole modernist project was flawed? Show me a human who isn’t.

We all go stumbling along, hoping one day to arrive.