A few readers of S.P. have asked, after recent entries, whether I am announcing here--in cowardly fashion--the end of my writing career.
All I can say to that is, "Career? What career?" A writer might career, in the sense of weaving around in blundering, drunken fashion from one mishap to another, but personally I've never thought of writing as a job, with definable steps from initial obscurity through first visibility through consolidation of one's reputation up to final fame and fortune. It's just what I do when I've got nothing else to do. I like it when people respond to what I've written, but I have no overweening desire to be regarded as a literary lion by a cadre of influential poets and editors. It's not likely to happen anyway, but my ego just doesn't need that. I like it much better when a pretty woman smiles at me. ("SHALLOW!" I can hear my friend shout mockingly.)
Poet is man, and this poetman's life has changed considerably in the last year. I have seen a four-year relationship with a woman I once loved slowly suffocate. And one of my friends has died suddenly from cancer she didn't even know she had. In the wake of those tragedies nothing seems the same.
Maureen worried all her life. She worried that she wasn't good enough at her job (she was). She worried about being unworthy of other people's love (she was worthy). She waited for everybody (except L.) to hurt her because they always had. She was even convinced that she didn't manage her household as well as everybody else because it was always in a mess. Shame she never came here. And on the penultimate day of her life she worked a 12-hour-shift and left torn to ribbons because she felt nothing had gone right and everybody was getting at her. Which knowing the crowd she worked with, they probably were.
You have to put down your anguish-- TODAY if possible, because you may not have a tomorrow. That is the lesson Maureen's death has left me with. Stop doing the things that cause you unhappiness. Try to forgive the people who hurt you in the past so that the wounds they made can heal. Try to forgive God for letting it happen: there is no greater pain and loneliness than turning your face away from He whom you believe in your DNA, whatever clever accretions may have been laid over it by Time and education, created you. Find a way to believe again that good things can happen. That the Universe is an hospitable home for a poor suffering human who only wants somebody to hold their hand.
To use a marvellous phrase by Allen Ginsberg, you have to unravel your mysteries before it's too late.
And that's all I'm trying to do now, really. It's nothing big; it's nothing important--the sound of eggs frying on the stove or a car rolling by outside is just as significant as the sound my fingers are making pumping these profundities into the keyboard. In fact, they all mean exactly the same thing: life being lived, that Universe I was talking about talking to itself and taking pleasure in the expressions of its energy.
I will write when I feel like it, and some of it will be poetry. Some of it won't. What happens to the words once I've put them down is something I don't really care about, unless what happens is that somebody finds some truth or delight in them, which seems unlikely. I certainly don't want to build any empires out of my scatological outpourings. I'm too busy trying to save my ass before Death claims it to worry about that.