Tuesday, April 26, 2011
April 26, 2011 Wandering in the Mud
Rain again this morning as I drink a cuppa (Earl Grey, decaf) and wonder how much time is actually going to my writing today. I have (perhaps) too many writing projects in my head right now, and political concerns crowd my brain too. Plainly, the state of things politic is drastic and disconcerting. I want to get through to those who are just not being logical, helpful, kind, thoughtful, and/or reasoning. So I ask myself is this the role I have as poet? Is it at least partly up to me to write things that will make a difference. Truly this once was the actual role of a poet.
But I'm thinking that the role of poet is watered down to some kind of entertainment provider. No, this is not a happy thought whatsoever. It stinks like last week's fish. I am not in the entertainment business. Of course I want my poems to strike a match, to burn. I don't want to hear "cute, nice, pleasant," etc. I want to be a bearer of something hard to hold. I want to tell something that stays for a long time.
I guess that's why I don't write humor. I have been told I'm funny by people who spend time with me. I prefer to think that I am ironic and wry. I have been told all my life that I am "far too serious" or that I need to "not take things so seriously." Which is it? How do I see myself? When I clean the layers of dust off my mirror I will let you know.
I wish I had more time to write. But I do waste time, so I am inconsistent. Back to my old dreams, dreams of living in a lighthouse with nothing to distract. Or maybe I just need a long residency somewhere.
Back to today's dilemma: I need to narrow my focus, get into one project (two?) and run it out to the horizon. someone said (was it Donald Hall or robert Bly?) that one ought to have three things going at once so as to not get bored.
I'm reading (again) Savage Beauty, a wonderful biography of ESVM (aka Vincent) with the idea of writing a book of poems in response to her life and poetry, commentary and persona poems. Her birthplace is down the street from me. I visit her statue in Camden frequently. I read her poems, especially her sonnets, whenever I am stuck in my own writing. So is this the project I ought to keep at the fore? Then there is The Boyfriend Project. I am drawn to this repeatedly. Why? I think that, as I am getting "not younger," I have a particular attraction to those boys or men I dated, most particularly the boys who impressed themselves hotly on my memories. I am way farther along on this project than on the Millay project. What does this mean? Is it a sign
Of course the other part to this conundrum is my fickle nature around writing. I am like birdshot, all over the place, fascinated by the "stuff" of writing, craving fresh projects, working like a fiend on one thing and then another. Can I settle myself and center myself on something that I see all the way through?
The new book is out. I am ready to move on. BUT, there are other manuscripts that want to be let out of the binder clip: a collection of coming of age poems (persona poems), a collection of psalms, and a manuscript of writing that embraces the Native way of looking at time (days and months). I feel uneasy about these being "out there" in some kind of drift, like seaweed at the mercy of the tide. I should just give away my worry over these and move into the projects at hand. I should. But....