Sunday, January 07, 2007

Transitions; or, why I've been in a rut maybe?

This is the thought that's currently both exciting and terrifying me:
The work you've been doing for the past few years is done. It's time to move on to something new. Wrap up the old work, tie its shoelaces, pat it on the head and send it off to go wherever it goes. You have to clear the decks before anything new has room to land.

The terrifying part, of course, being -- having faith that there will be "anything new." Not to mention, faith that the old work won't get flattened by a runaway school bus the minute it turns the corner and I can't keep an eye on it anymore.

Sometimes it's easier to start things than to finish them, eh?

The Muse (if she exists) whispers seductively. She taps her foot impatiently. She shakes her shaggy head and says, Look, if I've told you once I've told you a hundred times. She turns her back but when she doesn't know you're looking you see her cast a furtive eye over her shoulder to make sure you are still following. She is bread crumbs in the forest, the fairy tale that takes a wrong turn. She is blue, she is that minor key, she is laughing at you. Amphibious, she tries to lead you into water, launching herself toward the blurred horizon. Land mammal that you are, you wade in chest deep, stand stock still, feet mired in the muck of the bottom. Your thick brown fur is soaked and briny. There's a great wave coming. Learn to swim. Learn to swim. Learn to swim.

7 comments:

Montgomery Maxton said...

Anne - Love the two poems, you title your work well.

Radish King said...

Dear Anniepants, sometimes it helps to sneak up on your poetry. The muse is a liar and a bitch. Write from the very edge, your peripheral vision, the things you can barely see. They flit in and out. You know what I'm talking about. The poems are waiting for you there. Wear a costume or a mask when you approach them. Be rough. Don't ask questions. Be brave. Write down what they tell you no matter how terrible or scary or weird or complicated it seems.

love,
Rebecca

Radish King said...

I believe, and I may very well be alone in this, I'm sure the poetry pundits do not feel the same, but I believe that art is supposed to be scary and dizzying and risky and dangerous. It's supposed to feel that way whether you're creating it or reading it or listening to it or looking at it. I believe this with all my heart. Art is not supposed to be safe.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree with Rebecca (i.e. Ms. Radish King) that "art is supposed to be scary and dizzying and risky and dangerous." I agree that are is not supposed to be safe.

I believe it's a normal part of the process to have deep terrifying doubts. They come and go. In my limited experience, the only way through the doubts is to keep writing. The poems are there if we keep listening.

Anne said...

MM: Thanks! I've never felt like I was very good with titles.

Radishpants and Lyle: Oh, agreed, for sure. I haven't written a poem that made me feel like throwing up for about six months, which is why I think it is time to tackle a project that's been lurking in a corner for quite a while, and that *does* make me feel like throwing up a bit. This one's going to require a different quality of attention. We'll see what happens.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Rebecca. No safety nets. Write the stuff that makes you vomit a little in your mouth. Or, in my case, that will get you written out of the will. ;-)

Anonymous said...

She shakes her shaggy head and says, Look, if I've told you once I've told you a hundred times.

--I just LOVED that Anne!

and Collin just cracked me up with his reply.

But yes, I agree with rebecca too. must be some kind of risk. i really loved those sugar poems of yours.