What Will People Say?

Slept a bit late this morning. Trying to “catch-up” on sleep, although I know that is not supposed to be a real thing. But it helped. I was dreaming when the alarm went off. And the morning kicked in. I’m trying to return to routines. A glass of water followed by a full yoga flow.

It felt good.

Maybe that is a good sign.

There is snow on the ground again, but I feel the weight of winter lifting. Something is lifting. I am afraid to look it square in the eye and question it.

It helps that I am excited about the wasp project. Feeling like it is alright for me to throw myself blindly into something that doesn’t quite fit a mold. I’m not sure that I have ever done that before. I have clung to molds as assurances. Who was it who said that there is no such thing as a failed sestina? There is a measure of safety in coloring within the lines. You can be sure that you do one thing right.

I suppose there is an irony in that I am playing with constrained poems while claiming to be coloring outside the lines. But I am designing my own constraints. Conceptually relevant. I don’t think that experimentation has to be arbitrary.

I am doing a lot of reading – online, and ordering what I can afford. Exciting publishers, that are new to me. Exciting – very niche – poets who are inspiring in so many ways.

I know I am late to the party. By that I mean, not only am I aware that I haven’t stumbled on anything “new”, but that I really thought that I had found my voice as a writer some years ago. But now it is like I’ve discovered I have a whole new octave to move around in.

I’m not saying the work will necessarily be good. And with no clear framework that defines what is at least technically “good enough”, I feel brave moving in this direction.

Well. I feel ambivalent at least. Because I have been here before. In the previous century, I was excited about the idea of hyperlink poems. While I’m sure I am not the only person who thought of it, I might be one of the few of those who did, who didn’t follow through. I played with video poetry for what felt like 10 minutes.

Fear of failure is a big deal. Fear of doing okay is a big deal. Fear of people saying, “Yeah, so? I have had that backbone-energy-confidence all along, so what took you so long?” is real: “Why do you care what people think?”

Well-adjusted, self-confident people are judgy as f-.

I think I have been cursing for two years as a way of learning not to care. Like a B-movie prisoner banging a metal cup over the bars of his cell. Like a Be-movie actor banging a metal cup over the bars of a piece of scenography. In character: totally method and “living in the role”.

It’s not a healthy approach to acting: it’s not a healthy approach to life.

This is my mid-life rebellion.