Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Strongest Clench

When a true genius appears in the world you may know him by this sign; that the dunces are all in confederacy against him."
Jonathan Swift

Here's an interesting article that confirms something we already knew about writers in general and poets in particular. The point is that being rejected and having the proper mindset to deal with it, actually seems to help spark creativity. This would help explain the last 3000 years of unrequited love poems. Dante's 'Divine Comedy' which is arguably the greatest poem in any language was inspired in large part by his unrequited love for Beatrice. Beatrice appears in the poem at the end and even though she (and his love for her) operate on a symbolic level, the point still stands. Shakespears wrote one of the greatest sonnet cycles in the English language and they're mostly about unrequited desire. Go figure. One the one hand this makes me happy, because it's always good to have company. On the other hand it's terribly depressing, because it means there's most likely no real way out of the dilemna of being mostly creative when things aren't going well. I used to know a poet who went around bragging that he was the only one of his poet friends who could still be productive when he was happy. He was also, unfortunately, the worst poet out of his group of friends. I write the most (and the best) when I'm obsessed with some woman whom I can't have. It totally sucks. But it's been that way my whole life. I don't just mean popems of unrequited desire, I mean poems about anything. My work is just better when I'm in "the strong clench of the madman," it is what it is, I suppose. Part of this is because for many writers writing is a coping mechanism, but it looks like part of it is just because of how our brains work.

Boardwalk sunset-
Sea gulls turn away
my crumbled bread

And until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)
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