My wife is too good to me.
I am having a little relapse of vertigo and I’m spinning around and tipping over (more than usual). I get whiny and grumpy when this hits me and I have a generally low tolerance for everything.
She throws me down on the sofa and strokes my head and brings me glasses of cool water. She whispers sweet nothings into my ear and tolerates my spazzy jerking when I think I’m falling over backwards or spinning in circles.
She doesn’t even complain a little bit.
I am working on things, but I can’t help feeling like I am not doing enough. I am not working hard enough. I’m not serious. Not because I want to get something out of the work, but because the work demands a certain level of commitment. I think that I am shortcutting the work in some way, not giving it what it demands.
I am too impatient. Scatter-brained. Lazy.
I think that my brain is too simple. Too quickly pleased. I see a beautiful complexity in the writings of others, or in their visual images, and I feel that my own efforts have a stilted kind of ‘one-dimensionality’ that might be a result of a failure on my part to let the work develop more fully before I pull the trigger on it and declare it finished, or abandon it and move on to the next thing. I am child-like in that way.
I want to serve the work well.
I’ll keep working at it.
Does the urge to write poems spring from a sense of dissatisfaction with both the exterior and interior worlds? I guess that Whitman was celebratory, but he seems an exception. My own feeling is that when I am happiest I am least likely to be generating poems, and that when I am most unbalanced and depressed and I’ve lost my insulation against pain that I am compelled to wrestle with the world through the poetic medium. When the filtering mechanism is too sensitised, too finely attuned to the subtlest input from the outside world of the senses or from the barrage of interior thoughts, then poems result.
When the system is in balance, then the poems that I write seem to me to be more ‘academic’, mere wordplay. Intellectual exercises, little more.
This must be the surest sign that I am not a serious poet.
I like it when the fever of compelled creation grabs me and worries me like a bone in its jaws.
This, perhaps, is a trustworthy sign that, whatever else I am engaged in, there is some aspect of art about it.
I can’t get off this merry-go-round.