Saturday, March 2, 2019

Enough thought to last for a time

I have come to a sort of working comprehension of who I am in reference to myself. This is a pleasant understanding, and one achieved by slight but significant shifts of effort and emphasis over the past few years. I am less and less concerned with what needs to be done, or that category has simply lightened for me; while that which has been or is being done seems more complete and generous. So the work people accomplish and share delights me whereas, when I was younger, I woke up mornings with a critical gaze at everything around me. But then I was raised in a meritocratic family and cultural environment.

Even then, one's notions of what merits "merit" change over time. I care for honesty now like I did when I was a kid, so perhaps I have jettisoned intervening baggage or the baggage was kicked off the train by others. Hard to know. I am capable of silence. I am capable of speech. And somehow I am capable of knowing the difference and making better choices between the two. It has not always been that way with me.

And, for another thing, I have got poetry and publishing right for me. I am convinced that the best poems make for more poets, that the fact of writing is the purpose: full stop. I have returned to writing and publishing my books through the avenue of prayer, I believe, not by praying to write (God forbid!) but because the relevant mental/spiritual states are strictly analogous if not actually overlapping. It remained only to divest myself of certain inhibiting mental states (baggage, he says) that accompanied the act of writing - the presumptions and insecurities, generally speaking - and here we are: clean and alert. Happy to do nothing today or to write volumes. It's all the same to me.

So poems are written, sometimes drawings are drawn, assembled at some point, a cover is created and a title conceived (at times I have written to the title or even drawings, first, but that is not standard practice) and the whole is published via lulu (an independent, self-publishing platform), proofed, and approved for distribution. And I am done, free and open for what may come. I am my own editor and publisher. My publicist is sadly neglected as I do no readings, send out to no magazines, and basically do nothing more than to post the latest book to Facebook. I maintained for years a delicious shame originating in the idea that I did things this way because I could not do them the other way - by the way, don't delude yourself that shame is endemic only to religion: secular forces such as ambition prompt shame as surely as the Sunday sermon and with fewer recourses to remedy. 

But shame falls away with prayer, and perhaps that is how I returned to writing "clean and alert." I am not thinking of what isn't - which is a large, large, large category - but of what is, which is personal and thought-out. I no longer think of my writing against other writing. It is an act of conscience. The task then is to carry out the act conscientiously. This, lulu allows me to do. Thanks, lulu. Thanks, everyone. Thank you, Endi and Jackson. And thank you, God. The more time I spend with you the more I enjoy being with myself.