With this, I conclude what I aimed to achieve at the beginning of the year. I have written something here (in this semi-public, self-published manner) once a week for every week of 2010. I have done so at some expense: first, my wife has prepared the family meal on Wednesday nights; second, I have written with less ambition at my job; and third, I have written very little poetry this year. Of these, I lament the last the most.
Beyond demonstrating a bit of self-discipline, I am less certain of the rewards of this year-long exercise. Although I felt out-of-practice at the beginning of the year, I doubt that my prose-style has improved. I’m not any smarter; I probably lost as much knowledge this year as I gained. (My very limited language skills, for example, have eroded.) As for readers, except for my wife and one friend, I am pretty sure that I have no consistent readers. I did not look for readers, so I can’t complain, but the world also gained very little from my labors. Nonetheless, it was time well-spent in so far that it was (selfishly) mine.
In the coming year, I hope to write more poetry than in previous years. This will result in fewer contributions to this blog. I have some unfinished business (the Lycidas series is incomplete) and I do not want to lose what little prose writing muscle I’ve gained, so I will carry on, but I expect to write no less than one post per month in 2011.
Today, the temperatures will reach the mid-50s; the snow is melting and the rain will come this afternoon. Today is not a good day for writing. I am ending this now to drag my Wii-addicted sons through the mud. We live in exile and want more for mud than for words.
Posted in Notes
This year, in our home, July and August and now September have been difficult months; no one died.
What does one write? Hollowed out, all confidence gone, wept dry–what does one write?
At the whiff of madness and grief, I am often tempted to flee into the visual and tactile arts. Abandon writing for a sojourn in process-based and non-communicative territories. Making. Solitary Homo faber.
What does one write? Picked the lock on my daughter’s room; this time, nothing found.
David Jones made “Exiit Edictum”; he did not write it. In contrast, William Blake wrote much of: “Satan watching the endearments of Adam and Eve“.
Silence after sense. Meaning outside of narrative. Narratives! I can’t afford them; I don’t have the foundation. Give me something material: leaf tannins staining the sidewalks, moldy melon rinds, the unread sediment of now. A narrative would be a corpse.
Meaning unmade; unmade meaning. Found.
Exiit edictum. David Jones, 1949.
Last month Doug Holder of the Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene posted a series of quotations and excerpts on the question “What is a failed poet?”
After skimming through these, it is clear that I do not have anything of substance to add in the way of an answer. Perhaps I am more than a “failed poet” — I am a poet who has failed at defining his own failure. Oh fun!
I think this question would have worked for a “meme” – a blogging trend I appear to have avoided … or failed. So (as ever, late), I’ll take it up here: what is a failed poet?
One who turns (desperate) from verse to the imagined audience of the blog.
And what do I write? This and 20 bad lines a month. (June 23, 2008)
Over-rated? I’m not sure. Honesty comes seldom to visit and when it does, we’re stingy with each other.
Aim: To write honestly without succumbing to the confessional. (March 25, 2008)