Saturday, February 29, 2020

Interim Note!

This current sequence of posts began on December 18, 2019 and is slated to finish on April 21, 2020 (all the posts are written and scheduled). I seem to be shifting away from this version of this project and towards something new. What that means exactly I can't say, which is somewhat unusual for me. The desire to write is strong but the mode is not clear.

There are generally four modes of writing for me: short traditional poems (which now and again show up on Twitter), longer prose poems which are housed here, spiritual-type essays that I publish here, and then a pretty traditional journal which I don't publish anywhere.

[I say "traditional." I don't know what that means. The journal entries are pretty academic (what I'm reading, what I'm thinking) but also pretty high school in their emoting (so-and-so said this at work and I hate them and hope nobody invites them to an Xmas party ever again etc), but the emoting is generally linked to the academic stuff which always has a general theme of healing. I'm not trying to be immature.]

Every few years, the writing doesn't fit into the forms that exist, and so one of two things happens. First, and most typically, the writing accommodates itself to an existing form (this happened in late 2017/early 2018 when I began writing about radical constructivism at (for example)) and from time to time here (as the recent sequence indicates).

Or - in lieu of accommodation - the writing makes some new demand on my living that in turn brings forth a new form of writing altogether. This happened in about 2000 when I began a ten-year journalism career, which included writing and publishing fiction.

The "new demand on my living" is actually more exciting than squeezing into existing forms but you can't insist on any outcomes (timing or otherwise) in this domain. It's really about being attentive to a process that's unfolding in the interior which - like any gestating entity, be it a baby or a loaf of bread - can't be forced. Bread's ready when it's ready; babies too.

That said, I do dislike the interim period. Long ago, in a different context, a friend called this experience "hallway hell." You've closed one door and the other hasn't opened yet so you're standing in the hallway waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

What does one do?

Since I firmly believe that writing is a craft, then one writes even when the writing is obviously falling shy of itself. Even if it's shit that you delete upon finishing, you write. Serious musicians practice every day regardless of whether they're "feeling it." Writing is not so different. I think of it as showing up at the altar, even if I'm all but empty-handed. Eventually, the gods recognize you and gift you back. But you have to be there.

Okay but write what? Well, write this for one thing. Or twenty sentences, Harry Matthews style. Or an email to a friend. One of my teachers long ago pointed out that writing is writing, period. Do some. If you can't find any, then invent an exercise: Write five quatrains with collectively include every color you can name. So long as you write, it doesn't matter what you write because it matters so. fucking. much.

So that's where I'm at. I don't know what shows up after April 21. Thank you for reading through then, if you do, and I hope the poems are entertaining/interesting/insightful or some other form of helpful.

And if you are a writer yourself, keep on keeping on! It's not the result that matters but the process and - truly - it's not even the process so much as our willingness to show up for it.

~ Sean

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