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1000 Black Lines

:: digital coffee stains on the paper of the blogosphere ::

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More than a stack of books and magazines; it is a wall. Or maybe a staircase.

weekend reading material
My mind swims with thoughts and sometimes it takes days to sort it all out and translate the meaning.

Saturday night, upon returning from the reading I told my lovely and enduring wife how excited I was about the event. Some readings I attend and there's a disconnect between myself in other authors. Either the subject matter of the poems or prose don't resonate with me. Or the author presents a work so tightly crafted I despair that I cannot accomplish half of that.

But something clicked inside of me this weekend. Nic Pizzolatto and Tony Tost presented their work to a small audience. They are both young writers starting out in their writing career. I haven't completed reading their books, but what I've read jives with me; like we think along the same or parallel lines. I realized I've been comparing my writings to other older or dead poets and writers. Reading the best most accomplished works by a certain writer can be down right depressing when I am trying to compete or beat what may, by some scholars and critics, be a magnum opus. But I forget to keep it in prespective--that it took years for a poet or a writer to achieve the excellence of craftmanship in creating a masterpiece. The book I helped produce took the writer more than eight years and almost 200 essays to create an enduring manuscript.

Saturday night I had two essays (planned for Write Stuff) awaiting revisions. My wife listened to my enthusiastic revelations with interest and then pointed me to my iBook and tenderly reminded me to write. I did. Inspired by a quote from Walt Whitman (“To have great poets, there must be great audiences… ), I wrote about the audience of fine literature and how it seems to be miniscule. I wrote for an hour and a half and then spent the same amount of time editing and revising the piece down to about 500 words. At the time I didn't know and wouldn't know until today that the centenarian poet, Stanley Kunitz, would translate from living to dead in a few hours. This news adds urgency to my writings; propels me forward one letter at a time, one page at a time. It reminds me not to be distracted with the achievements of others but grow and refine my own writings. I began reading an interview between Stanley Kunitz and Genine Lentine in the May/June 2006 issue of American Poetry Review this weekend, but have not completed it as of today. The essay "Spiritual Atheism" by Steven Antinoff has captivated my attention currently.

More on this tomorrow. I've got freelance work to do.

  1. Anonymous Diana | 1:06 PM, May 17, 2006 |  

    Your spirit of revitalization is catching! Thanks for this thoughtful post.

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