Chimera Song Mosaic
Sunday, September 21, 2003
A(rg)h! It's raining again! Normally the Valley is a pretty dry place. But lately we've had Houston weather: lots of torrential rain. Public schools closed last Friday, and our college closed after noon (which gave me a day off because I teach a college class at a local high school and then only have office hours on campus). I got last Friday off too because of the rain (hey, we don't get snow days here). Despite the free time and the lovely weather, I can't say I got much poetry work done this weekend. (I did spend over 6 hours Saturday on a 40+ page screenplay, but that doesn't make me happy. I'm not sure why.)

I cannot get into the correct state for writing a poem. That and the reluctance to begin for fear of failure. I am not interested in producing a mere exercise today--I want something of substance, something that will ring in my ears for weeks to come. So I am writing under a deadline, I suppose. I want something new to send out. I know that September is one of the best times of the year to send stuff, but I seem to be letting it slip by. I have other kinds of pressures on me, too. Self imposed ones. I just turned away two Jehovah's Witnesses. (Strange how, although a bad speller, I did not have to struggle to spell out an unfamiliar word: Jehovah. Comes easily--too easily?)

I will not be sending my manuscript (can barely spell that) out this year, so I won't have a chance of being validated in that way. I will have to content myself with magazine/journal acceptances (if they come). However, now all the pressure funnels down to this: I have to make very good choices; I have to send stuff out; in some cases, I have to write the poems first; finally, I have to allow that kind of noise into my house. For the first time in years--four years since I finished my degree--my manuscript won't be circulated. It's time to put it to rest (after spending over $480 in reading fees). I won't allow it to come out again until it is something--fabulous? --worthy? I don't know. I guess I would settle for spectacular.

This is good news, I think, not just because I don't have the money to spend on reading fees, but also (more importantly) because I really shouldn't send something that I don't want to be published as it. And I am feeling more and more that way about it.

meanwhile, I must make the absolute best use of my time. I can't waste it on trifling exercises. But can anything be written under these desperate conditions?

There is a certain advantage to writing in an extreme state of naivete. Far from factual or accurate, the work is already in a state of creation or art or dream.

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