Friday, August 5, 2011
Anam Cara - Day Five
And of course poems don't like to be rushed. Who does? Today I'm scouring old notebooks for abandoned work. It's a lesson I need again and again. Most of my poems start as dreck, as unreadable slosh. There's only a glimmer of what I'm beginning to think.
Yet, if I don't let myself write badly, I will never write at all.
A friend told me of an experiment she read of in the book Art and Fear. Both groups of people were told to make clay pots. One group was instructed to make the best one pot that they could. They worked hard. The second group was told they'd be judged on the number of pots they threw. Pot after pot with little angst over the shape of any one piece. The group that improved the most, that created the best art, (don't ask me how they judged this) was the second group.
Why is it so hard to let myself throw a pile of poems? But that's today's goal. Not to finish anything, not to worry about the calendar waving its pages away.
Of course I'm already cheating by going back through old notebooks and I do it because the new pieces I'm writing feel frightfully bad. But how unfair to judge them in the first minutes after creation. I'd love to know how others allow themselves this initial writing stage with less self-loathing. I think at the moment there has been so little time in my life to write this last year that I'm moving through sludge. I'm hoping that over the next few days something will let go. And even if it doesn't -- I have to admit I'm pretty happy watching the clouds and the cows.