It’s 10.30 pm Dec 22nd and I’ve settled down to a stream-of-consciousness year’s-reaching-its-conclusion type assessment. . . If there’s one thing I know about this year, it’s that I failed to send my work out to publishers AGAIN. That would make this the 14th year in a row I have let myself down this way. On the up side, I did come closer to the mark than ever before.
One of these days I am going to get myself the proper guide books. I’m not sure what it is about this leap that is messing with me, but I am really 100% FOR this step. Apparently somewhere in there I am almost 100% against it as well. Progress is slow.
After a very bleak few years in London, I am finding my head, heart, and soul crawling with characters and miniature pieces of plots again. None of them worth much on their own. I’ve got to sit myself down with pen and paper and the willpower of an absolute wild thing and say go! Write the connections. Tease out the plot. Plaster it all out and weave everything loosely together. Elements swirl, but the stream has and will again carry most of them away if I refuse to write them down. I’m finding that the refresh rate of the pieces in my puzzle is once every 4-6 years, optimistically speaking. I can’t keep smiling like a dim-wit and watching them float away downstream — they’re far too precious, and I need them collected together physically or I cannot chronicle the chemical reactions of story. I have so many memorized moments and short film strips, but they don’t belong to the same body yet. They can – I know they can. My mind has a certain way of working and because of this I know they have the same blood type. They just need to be allowed to develop in each other’s presence for it to work.
How can I do this?
Sitting down, I fail. This is because for so long I’ve had to write poetry while studying at school. Now, I have time. It’s the intentionality I lack. Tenacity is no problem; I worked that muscle well in holding my many poems and editing them over the years. I think I’ve become poem-bound like prisoners become institutionalized (forgive the example – please stick with its substances and not its lacks). I’m not sure I can survive on the outside.
There are ways in which poetry is free-er than any other type of writing, and its ambiguities and recognitions are utterly unbounded and real. But it is precisely its precision and concision that lull one into a false sense of writing something — when its essence and heart are only to sense, to point out memorably, to draw the imagination out of hiding, to jumpstart hope, to highlight the meaning inherent in this or that, and to touch the soul of the reader. Creating something complete is a new frontier, one I have not travelled in many a year.
Perhaps if I set some rocks just so, I can catch some of the pieces floating past into a small pool — just for a time — until I am done with them and have seen what potential they have when jostled against one another. I will lie in wait in the silence among the eddies and collect the works of my mind for use.
Perhaps if I stop hunting things up on my computer from long ago and just write, I will find many of these things rewriting themselves with new maturity and connectives I hadn’t given them before. Perhaps I must give myself a blank page challenge next — digital or literal — and dig in unprepared, expecting to be amazed instead of worrying old bones long ago stripped of their nutritive value.
It’s no wonder I feel a little bit blocked. It’s not writer’s block — it’s just stupidity! =D
~Mary Kathryn Gough, Dec 22nd 2011, 11.11pm