Sunday, December 30, 2012

I was young when I left home-- Bob Dylan

Sent my third manuscript to a publisher. Suspect it will be rejected, but you never know. I will continue to work on it and send it out. It may take years, but I might be pleasantly surprised. I sent SEVEN out three times. I am lucky. I am blessed. I think the actual process of writing matters. It helps me survive. Lots of people say this, but some despise such psycho-babble. I will return to Denver on the 5th.

Largely, poetry, the writing of it is insignificant. There are more important things in life. Of late, I feel past  trauma has left me somewhat throwing myself into writing, despite the reality of obscurity and isolation. Regrets over what can't be changed regarding the past personal issues need to be ignored, and this moment now is what matters. It's all we have. Maybe that's in part why I write here, to flesh things out, to move beyond mere talk about writing.

Nietzsche at one point of his writing career was frustrated with his publisher. He felt that there was no promotion of his first books, and that it was not distributed to bookstores, yet later, he simply says, "...Namely, one simply does not want my literature and I-- may no longer afford the luxury of print."  I think this is a fear of many writers, at least it's a fear of mine. Overall, we struggle in isolation, in loneliness. I recognize too still, that many who speak of community are nowhere to be found when difficulty comes in one's writing career. Everybody loves a winner. Nietzsche in some ways was deemed a loser. He quit his professorship and lived isolated and poor in the mountains with poor health. He was at odds with his colleagues. His love life was problematic. Yes, he broke down at the end, and one has to wonder about this. So much to speculate about it. But in the end, his works are revered and read by many long after his death. He went against the grain. He challenged the conformist thinking of the past duality of good and evil. He pronounced that God was dead. He was bold, nervy and obsessed.

Finally, I think it is okay to question the status quo of "community," and to challenge conformist ideas of what it means to be part of a community, which in itself is a vague concept. Smaller, more localized communities seem more practical to me. Workshops and genuine meetings about the work over coffee seem much more rewarding than trying to fit into the murkier world of national "affiliations" which are considered to be allied and supportive. For the most part, they are not. Friends and people in proximity are more likely to spur the writing on with encouragement and that ever so elusive faith. Publishers and editors and the relationships we build with them seem so much more important than the mysterious community. Yes, communities that are "in person" are more real. Networking is mandatory, but it can be of genuine interest and a shared love of literature. I have written reviews and I feel this is helpful and communal, yet there is still that safe distancing that propels us to write.

Kierkegaard supported the individual. He said often "the crowd is untruth." For some reason, I sense this is correct, despite everything else that's currently going on in poetry. This is one reason, I selected to have no blurbs on my next book. So much is about proximity, and this in and of itself leads to disparities in what's called po-biz, but somehow looking at Nietzsche and Kierkegaard helps.

A friend saw that I'd been reading Nietzsche and said laughingly, "I hear reading him messes people up."

No comments: