My Ego is Shit

I don’t even know why I write notes. I guess if imaging in my head that there are some people out there that read and benefit from my ramblings helps me to write more–even if it’s nonsense words jumbled up in Ivory soap and canary feathers–then I will continue to write notes, blogs, etc.

Being sick aside, I have had a most interesting Spring Break. The universe is testing me, perhaps to be more humble, to count my blessings, or just to say “Hey Shannon, just when you thought you were on a roll, well, HA, guess what? You gotta work harder, sweat more, climb a couple more thousand feet, and THEN, maybe your brain will be able to perform again.”

I go through these cycles of writing things that seem to come out of nowhere, as though some brilliant ghost has descended and handed me a marginally good piece of work….and then, BAM. It all goes away. Just like that. And sometimes, this “absent ghost” period can last for MONTHS.

And I play the usual self-deprecating mental tape over and over again, knowing all the while in some corner in the back of my head that it will all come back…one day I will write something and not want to hide in shame and embarrassment.

Oh, but Shanon, don’t you remember why you started writing in the first place? Don’t worry about “audience” etc etc.

Easy. Easy said.

Yes. A long time ago, I used to write journals to guardian angels or to my horse or my dead grandmother.

And now? Perhaps I’ve lost my writing-spirit.

Tonight, I got tired of writing, spilling tears over my laptop, getting frustrated and saying for the twentieth time today “SCREW IT!” that I decided to take a break and read some Larry Levis.

I feel very close to Levis. The first time I opened up his collection, Elegy, which was the first book of his that I read, I cried. I read the first poem and burst into tears, right there in the library. I didn’t care. His words, his images, his feeling…I felt a kinship. Which isn’t surprising considering a professor of mine told me to read him.

And so, I read some essays, some interviews, hoping he’d have some sort of power to kick me out of my funk.

Well, it didn’t kick me out of my funk. When I have lost my muse, it takes a miracle from God to get me back to writing descent poetry, or even prose, again.

But I did read this, which gave me some comfort.

“I write first, for myself. I’m afraid if I stop I won’t do it anymore. And someone asked “Well, why. What are you afraid of?” And I said, “Well, writing keeps me feeling good about myself, keeps me feeling alive, keeps me….,” and then I said, “It’s the only thing that keeps me interested.” Suddenly, everything comes back and it’s at once crystal clear and also meaningless: that tree disguised in shadow of summer, sunlight on a doorstep that transforms it into a threshold of desire and then of loss, just the pure phenomenon…. And we’re stilled, bewildered by those people who are truly happy all the time, who have a cash box for a heart. Almost everyone else has en enlarging kernel of doubt.”

Kernel of doubt.

I have wheat fields.

There are times I feel myself wandering about in an alley of stalks.

And, yes, though I know the field ends, that somewhere the clearing will happen, I can’t help but fall on my knees every now and then, wondering, lost, uneasy.

I don’t even know why I wrote this.

Such a small Universe that I live in. I want to be a dirt devil that, though it spins for such a short amount of time, it knows its purpose and never lets up. It has shape. It has fury. Energy. And never once does it stop to wonder, am I destroying a crop field?

No, that sucker just rips a path straight through you.

You feel it. It speaks a truth even it doesn’t know. Dust and cracked lips.

So, yes. I work, a madman at times, tearing things up and crying out some pathetic prayers.

But don’t tell me to quiet. I rage.

Even when I’m filled with love, I rage.

One day, I won’t be able to cry or sing. The winds will stop altogether.

And when the words abandon me, I’ll find some other way to move my body. To bend this way or that.

I decided, that while I’m in this nonproductive, writer’s block stage, I’ll still write a poem. One long poem that babbles on and on about whatever the hell it wants to say. It’s the most horrible poem you could imagine. It hurts just to write it. Just to look at it. I walk away ashamed. Horrified. Like I’ve committed a dirty act. Sold my body for a buck. I don’t know. But I figure, what the hell. My ego is shit compared to how much I love Poetry.

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1 Comment

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One response to “My Ego is Shit

  1. ComePassion

    ah, yes, yes, yes, YES!

    No, I am kidding about that last yes.

    But for real, yes, writing, I think, is almost inherently a comparative activity, seeing as how text is designed to have an audience. It’s hard to write and not think about your audience and/or other writers. Are they writing the same thing as me? Are they writing something better? Is this just junk? And how do you know (with 7 billion other people here)? You don’t, but there are little phrases that do make sense, that do rationalize the continuation of one’s writing career, like, “the only thing that keeps me interested”–yes, and I might add, hopeful, too.

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