Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jack Johnson - Breakdown

I am at the Jefferson County Public Library. It's also called the Columbine library, near the Columbine memorial. So much violence in our society, so much of it under the table and quietly ruining lives.

I received a book of poetry by Patti Smith for Christmas titled
Auguries of Innocence. I hope to start reading it this evening, but I of course first had to blog ;) I will write about it later.

I'm not going to have much money soon and it's likely I will whine about that, but just remind me that I am not having to slave away as an adjunct anymore. Whew. What a relief. I am free. No more bondage to institutions of higher ed, which are, frankly abusive to adjunct faculty for the most part in terms of no health care, no job security and so forth.

I don't recommend earning a doctorate in literature, especially contemporary literature. Similarly, I recommend not earning an M.F.A. which is largely a waste of money and time. My experience is living proof that an education in creative writing poetry is largely questionable. This is not to say that life's over; it's just that doors have closed re: teaching and I think that I owe it to the world to send out a little red flag re: creative writing programs and their numerous ads. More on that later.

I recommend fellowships and week long seminars in writing such as the Napa Valley Writer's Conference, Squaw Valley, Breadloaf [I hear it's good even though I can't get in!] Join a local writer's group, take a class at the local community college or a summer writing program like the one at Naropa, but I think it's a good idea if you are poor and honest for the most part to avoid M.F.A. programs. Okay, maybe not, but to enter a program without any real career agenda since they are purely about writing. Write a lot and read more. I think I learned most of what I know about poetry from reading a lot of poetry, sort of by osmosis if you will. Poetry profs are often fart heads who lack compassion for others. Granted if you find one that cares, you are very, very lucky.

I will revise the 7Seven manuscript after I finish moving, which is proving to be quite trying--the moving not the revising. I have no idea how I ended up with so much crap! I've been tossing stuff and hope to toss a lot more tomorrow. Then I can probably go through stuff and get rid of even more stuff. Tons of journals, notebooks, paper, pens etc. You can tell that I'm a person who finds writing important. I also found several sketch pads which are somewhat amusing, but what they all show is that I have indeed been striving for self-improvement, growth and creativity.

Today, I learned I've been too hard on myself. I need to try to be more compassionate towards myself. I could go into past trauma and stuff, but the point is that I am too hard on myself, and I'm going to try to be good to myself in this space. No more self-deprecation here!!!!! Yes. And for those who think trauma or hurt is silly; to each his own. Maybe some day I will write about it all; maybe that would help me clear the air, get healed and move on. So in any case, try to be good to yourself.

1 comment:

Lyle Daggett said...

I appreciate your comments here about MFA degrees and working in the academic world. I've never done either of the above, have worked for a "living," as we call it, mostly in offices in large corporations doing various anonymous cubicle work. Not always the most personally satisfying or rewarding work, though it does the practical things (paying rent etc.) that you need a job to do.

For what it's worth, my observation over the years is that the things writers generally need the most are 1) to write; 2) to read the work of (at least some) other writers; and 3) to know at least a few other writers and be able to talk with each other from time to time.

There are other things too, obviously -- some people seem to need periods of solitude from time to time, some people need contact with the natural world (whether deep wilderness or walking in a nearby city park), some people need routines that periodically take them away from writing so their inner batteries can recharge, etc. But the three things I listed above seem to be in common with most of the writers I know.

Clearly there are a lot of options for finding and staying with those things that don't necessarily involve academic work.