15 March 2009

Where do we go now?

All weekend I've been taking pictures of things that look haunted in some way. I cut things short at the gym on Saturday because I passed this window, and couldn't stop thinking about it. Well, I was also really hungry and lightheaded, so that was a reason to ditch too. But I would've been sad not to get this picture.

I went back today, only earlier, and the light wasn't quite right.

Sometimes I think it's easier taking pictures than writing poems. It's easier to keep them. You don't know how many lines I've lost in the past week because I didn't have the time to write them down. Later. I'll do it later. And then later it's gone.

I make myself feel better by thinking that the really important ideas are bound to resurface. But what if they never do?

O blogosphere friends, do you ever speculate about what percentage of your creative matter goes unspent?

Say you are writing something brilliant and the doorbell rings, and it's somebody asking you to sign a petition, and when you get back to your work all you can think about is clipboards and pens taped to string, string knotted to clipboard. You might as well start from the beginning.

Do feel like you are writing (literally, or figuratively) all of the time, or only when you are actually writing?

I'm an "all of the time" kind of writer. I don't even want to speculate about the percentage of my creative matter that goes unspent whilst blogging, on facebook, etc. Let's not talk about that.

In other news, hello Spring Break. I will spend most of you editing, but I will not be at my desk.


Lyle Daggett said...

I'm always writing, on some level. It's always going on internally, constantly.

I also always have my poem notebooks with me, I bring them everywhere, never more than a few feet from me (unless I'm in the shower or other water, or carrying out the garbage, etc.). When I'm asleep they're on the table by my bed.

When I get together with friends, to talk, for a meal, etc., I always take out my notebooks and pens and have them sitting by me while we're talking. Occasionally I'll started writing while we keep talking. Most of my friends are used to this (and many are themselves poets, of course), though now and then someone I've just recently met will be taken aback slightly by this, not undestanding that I can have a full involved conversation and be writing at the same time.

Over time I've come to have great confidence that the bits of poems I lose (or misplace), because of interruptions, distractions, etc., will come to the surface again at some point, in some form. I believe we never really lose anything.

Vince Gotera said...

Hi, Mary.

I used to worry about all that stuff that I forget. All those times that a poem started to come and I postponed it thinking I would get to it in a while and then only remembering later that a good poem had started but was gone.

And I gotta disagree with you, Lyle; in my experience they mostly don't come back. I think they go find another writer who may be more receptive at that moment. I'm both kidding and not.

I'm always inspired by the example of John Rybicki, to whom lines (how to finish a poem he was working on) came to him while he was out jogging. John simply took a stone and wrote it out on the asphalt, then came back later to copy it down. Now that is seriousness.

Anyway, of late I've stopped worrying about it. Maybe Lyle is right; maybe they do resurface. I just figure things work out. If I lose a poem, then I lose a poem. It probably wasn't a great one after all. The great ones are patient and stay around.


Vince Gotera said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vince Gotera said...

Mary. Me again. Off topic here: just wondering what you thought of my new blog banner. Trying to go more 3D. See ya. --Vince


Kees said...

I'm always writing- and it's funny- the most profound ideas come to my head at times when I'm not supposed to be thinking about it, like when I'm working with a student. Thankfully, as an educational assistant, I have a job where there is always a pen or paper around. On my trip down to Florida (passed right by your university! haha) I kept coming up with poetic thoughts of course while my hands were on the wheel, my wife was napping next to me and we had to get as much driving done as possible (we were driving from Ontario). Thankfully the images that inspired them kept recurring so when it was my turn to be passenger, I was able to jot things down. Like you,I feel it's a tragedy that ideas come to my head that fade once my mind gets pulled elsewhere- it happens all the time to me,since I have young kids, a dog, a job and a small house! It's frustrating, but it's all part of the balance I have to keep in my life as a father and a writer.

Frank said...

Not sure how much this applies, but it reminds me of ABBA. Bear with me. Apparently, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, the principal songwriters, never wrote down melodies that came to them, figuring that if it was a sufficiently memorable melody, they would be able to recall it later.

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