Don’t they? It’s odd to me that this thing that we supposedly love, that inspires and feeds us, is so hard to make ourselves do. What is up with that? I suppose there’s some performance anxiety, and some inertia, and some straight-up mental and emotional laziness. It takes a lot out of a person to create. Or that’s what I say to myself when I’m not writing much. When I really write (as opposed to sitting down with paper and pretending to write), it doesn’t seem like work. When I can get into the flow, the poem seems to materialize “without my stir,” as Shakespeare might say. I think the thing is not to try to control it too much–not to be too invested in getting a good outcome, but to be willing to just try stuff and see what happens. That is a weak spot for me. I don’t like to commit things to paper unless I think they are going to work, to become something “Worthwhile.” So, my goal for this week, which I am writing here in an effort to make myself accountable, is to write at least two draft poems. I have the seed of an idea from the Ekphrasis class I just finished teaching–a poem in response to a painting. So this week I vow to get that seed in the ground, and to find at least one other to plant. At first I wrote “one other worth planting”, which (just to keep the plant metaphor going) would be the root of the problem, wouldn’t it? So NO, not one “worth” planting, but just one that I have in my possession to plant. Because, in the words of Banquo, “who can look into the seeds of time, /And say which grain will grow and which will not”?
Not sure why all of these quotes from Shakespeare’s Scottish play (bad luck to say the name) are coming to me this morning. Perhaps my subconscious is sending me a message about ambition? Perhaps a reminder from my old buddy Will S. that (to paraphrase) “the poem‘s the thing.”
Quote for the week: “The scariest moment is always just before you start [writing]. After that, things can only get better.” ~~Stephen King