Monday, January 20, 2014

The why and the why not

Quite the thing among writers, to have a manifesto on writing. Brainpickings has a post and yea I've read most of them, I am really quite fond of F. Scott. Stephen King's On Writing -- the first time it came out. John Irving's My Movie Business. Recently my best friend Ray's stuff, some of which was so very hard to read that I can't imagine how hard it was to write -- much less live. Hemingway's A Moveable Feast -- although this one I read with a jaded eye; not about the writing, but about the, ah, romance part. I have a feeling the romance was more Ray-Carver-Alcohol-ish than warm-and-well-lit-Paris-ish.

Not that one needs to justify a bad, lightly read (yet tenacious!) blog ("Est. 2002") but maybe it's helpful for me, and you, if your narrator over-shares why we must all plow (haha!) through posts like this. It's pretty short, of course.

1. The Selfish Reason. Evening.  Laptop. Kitchen table. Headphones. Boz Skaggs. Tea. Books. Here. This.

2. The Creative Reason. Lousy at fiction. Good at describing things. Good at the details, the things often overlooked by others, the grace of the ordinary, the stuff it seems most of us blow by in the hurly-burly of our days, all these things slap me in the face, then come to me in phrases and lines that won't leave me alone, that haunt me for days and months and maybe longer until I do the hell something with them. See? Lines, not stories.

3. The Flashy Reason. And why do anything with these lines-not-stories? I mean, I've read a lot about why poets write poems. From the lofty (we're lookin' at you, Will Shakespeare) -- to the visceral (Ray. Again. Shut up.) Every possible reason in between.
But why here? Because, maybe, reading even a pale poem will let/make/allow you, errant reader, for just a sec, to see the day differently, to slow it down and let you, too, see the flash -- the flash of understanding, the flash of beauty, the flash of connectedness, the flash of whatever it is you need. Not flashy poetry. Just a flash of insight.

4. The English Major Reason. Because poets and poetry lovers read and write poetry like crazy but unlike decades past NOBODY ELSE DOES. And that sucks. You-all are missing a lot. So here -- right here -- welcome to your worst poetry nightmare -- dammit, you're gonna read something poetic. You are welcome.

That might be it.

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