Oh, to be honest, I’m discouraged. I feel like giving up. Granted, I’m still a bit wonky from yesterday’s flu, and from my late night wakings from my toddler with an ear infection (how long are kids toddlers? She no longer toddles. She’s fast and agile, even with inner ear distress), but over the last week or so I’ve wanted to quit this. It’s just me giving myself the inner stink-eye, but the truth is, whatever I was energy and drive I was getting from the exercise earlier in the year has waned.
There are many reasons for this, I suspect. I no longer devote as much time to the poems as I did at the beginning. Is that because this is getting easier? Or because I just want it get it over with? My gut tells me it’s the latter. I haven’t actually practiced my form or style or voice, or all those poem things, I don’t feel. I’ve been content with words on the page, and that is feeling crumby and superficial. I’m also tired of having to go interior every night, to write about myself and my ideas, in part because I’ve been experiencing some depression since my last surgery (all normal with the hormone adjustment, I’m told, but a bitch nonetheless) and this is starting to feel annoying and self-indulgent and whiny at times, which I hate. The purpose was to live more purposefully, to recognize genuine inspiration, and to get better at writing, but I’m not sure at all that any of that is happening, and moreover, I don’t know if I can handle continuing to put forth shitty first drafts for all the world to see (okay, a small, but beloved, part of the world). It is too humiliating.
Nor can I handle the thought of giving this practice up. I simply cannot give up another thing in my life. I’ve done it before, and that regret is a dark thief. Plus, there’s only about 44 days until halfway point, and that’s a mark I’d like to hit.
Stanley Kunitz wrote, in “The Class will Come to Order”, “the poets love to haul disorder in / Braiding their wrists with her long mistress hair”. Perhaps that’s what I’m doing. That and whining. But the sentiment is the same. Maybe the Muse is a mistress of chaos, both fickle and ecstatic, and maybe it’s a bit of a bumpy relationship at first. anyhow, All my favorite poets are old now. That’s the thing about us artists. We get better with age. Maybe these will be the “early poems of Me”.
Something that helped, just now, was Anne Lamott’s essay on perfectionism featured on Brainpickings. In it she writes about perfectionism as the death of creativity, and that rang true today: “Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen. Repent just means to change direction — and NOT to be said by someone who is waggling their forefinger at you. Repentance is a blessing. Pick a new direction, one you wouldn’t mind ending up at, and aim for that. Shoot the moon.”
I do not want to forget to have a big juicy creative life. So, here I sit, again, haul in more disorder, to flirt brazenly with in the muses, and to just get the words down. Inhale. Here goes.
In the Glare
The muses command, time to come clean, at least to whom or whatever you pray, pleading for release from the feeling that all that has been earned or deserved is doom.
Here in the glare there are blogs for every shadow. Someone is writing their way free.
There are children bouncing naked on the bed behind, there are aluminum cans on the desk and cold cups of mouldering tea and in these bedrooms there are tireless shadows writing through all kinds of black weather, the burn is wireless and sometimes viral.
There are satellites watching us love and shriek, fight and confess, give up or in,
ask and need and need and need and need.
Okay. I think this may be part of a poem, and not a whole. I’m going to leave it for awhile and see what happens. Happy Monday, anyone.