Thursday, March 25, 2010

Why We Fight

For my own protection I've cultivated a vague fuzziness in my manner and style. This cloud of indeterminacy makes it hard for others to get a good clean shot at me -- my version  of a quantum rope a dope. When I write I stand in sharp relief, and trust my punch will overcome a tendency to lead with a weak chin.

I say that I write for myself. When I finish something, the glory of it’s something that makes a part of me vibrate. When asked by others what makes me happy, the only thing that comes to mind is writing.

I fight writing. Because it seems predetermined and inevitable that I write, I rage against it. When I finish something and know it’s good, I wonder where it came from – what beast inside me used me. In daylight I don’t see anything that makes me capable of what I see written in front of me.

And I know that some of what I write is good – especially the poetry.  When I focus on the words – their order, sound and place, I seem capable of nailing what’s in my head to the door of art.

It’s a strange kind of vision that I’ve always had in me. The stuff I want to say with words has always been internally consistent, even though I wasn’t. What I see in my head as a theme of who I am and what I’m supposed to do is ice cold clear. When I hit it, I know, when I miss, I know that too.

What I mean when I say that I write for myself is not that I don’t think other people will understand of see my vision, but that the vision is for me alone. Even if no other person sees the things I write, I know they have to be born. They are like my kids – belonging to god in the sense of source, but gifted to me for cheap thrills and responsibility.

I worked on a sonnet yesterday. I woke up at dawn and worked until well after dark. 14 lines, 10 syllables in each line. The work was intense, full of pacing and the active staring at walls. The sonnet is not yet perfect, but it’s good and needed to be. Only I could have written it. That’s why I write.



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