why to write?

No, I don’t mean writing here. I’m not sure I can enunciate a reason for writing in a blog, much less daily as I seem to have been doing lately. But: why write poetry? Do I think I’m as good as the other poets out there? Well, yes I do. Except for maybe Seamus Heaney and one or two others. That does leave a person a lot of leeway, though.

For the last many years, I’ve thought, I wish so-and-so (specific teacher, poet, whoever) would tell me my poems suck, to go be a shoe saleswoman in a mall somewhere instead. I visualize the relief of not having to write anymore, of not having to be a witness. Someone who can just speak what she feels and sees, and who has no power to affect the world around her.

It only just occurred to me half an hour or so ago that this is giving up such power as I have (little, maybe, but there). With all due respect to those who sell shoes, especially those fine people at Prada and Dolce & Gabbana, my destiny does not lie there. (At least, not as employee.)

If I continue to view my talent as in some way subject to choice or another’s whim, I degrade myself. And I’ve been doing so for many years. Time for a rethink.

4 thoughts on “why to write?

  1. According to one biographical film I saw, it’s what a studio manager told Elvis: “Better just go back to truck driving, son.”

    I was told something similar, too. I agree wholeheartedly with the assessment in my case, however, but I can’t help myself from sneakily thinking that I can, through sheer effort, work my way out of vapid mediocrity. The urge to write, I think, is an illness with no cure.

    If there were a medically approved procedure which would excise this urge to create art, I’d submit to it at once. I’m sure I’d be a happier man.

  2. I dunno.

    Is it better to seek to create art and fail, or to never have the urge to create beauty?

    Don’t we lose something quintessentially human when we suppress the urge to create? I would rather be a bad writer than no writer at all, but I guess it depends on perspective.

    I’ll never pay the rent with my writing or film work, but the process is personally rewarding.

    I think that for me to lose the will to create it would be as if though I had become partially blind, and somehow less human.

    Art is pain, but art is also life..

    And now for the required sports metaphor…

    “Pain is the sound of weakness leaving your body.” – overheard at dragon boat practice.

  3. I’d have to disagree.

    There are clearly people who do not encounter this urge and they are also very human.

    I’m also deeply wary of any idea that suggests a personal quality or its lack reduces one’s humanity.

  4. I am learning to choose words more carefully here.

    Creativity is not restricted to the arts. How can you know the measure of the urge to create in a person?

    Lack of creativity does not equate to a loss of humanity. I do apologize for my insensitivity to the blind community. It was unintentional and not representative of my views.

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