Suzanne Caporael, 014 (LIKE THE WISDOM OF SMITH, 1), 2012-13, NYT newsprint collage
The urge to retreat is so strong, and sometimes it’s necessary, and called for — but now, digging into another creative project, I need a space for marking time, processing the challenge, keeping perspective. So I turn back to the blog, this universe of my own creation, in part to show The Voice and Resistance, in all their deceptive guises, the exit. On a regular basis.
So much rejection. And humiliation, lately. Compounded by a worn-out habit of knocking the wind out of my own self.
Ironically, in this creative process, it seems essential to not care and care at the same time. To inhabit a slim space between pure exploration with no concern for the outcome and awareness that there is a finish line, there is meant to be an end product, at least some of this is intended to be shared.
Now, with an exhibition approaching, I have a seat in the arena, and I’m determined to occupy it, to not pass up this opportunity and heed the chorus of Voices — cultivated over a rich and fertile past of shame, inadequacy, fear, and overall who-do-you-think-you-are-ness.
A poem, a poem, seems always right at these moments.
ON NEW TERMS
I’d like to begin again. Not touch my
own face, not tremble in the dark before
an intruder who never arrives. Not
apologize. Not scurry, not pace. Not
refuse to keep notes of what meant the most.
Not skirt my father’s ghost. Not abandon
piano, or a book before the end.
Not count, count, count and wait, poised—the control,
the agony controlled—for the loss of
the one, having borne, I can’t be, won’t breathe
without: the foregone conclusion, the pain
not yet met, the preemptive mourning
nothing left of me but smoke.
Daily cultivation of free-form curiosity and wonder and help, making space for new delights that bubble up so unexpectedly.
The other day for example, Suzanne Caporael’s collages crossed my field of vision. How did I not know about these until now? Where has she been hiding all my life?
Suzanne Caporael, 023 (LIKE WEDNESDAY), 2012-13, NYT newsprint collage
I also discovered while flipping through the NYT, eyes on alert for images that spark, Frei Otto, the architect; William King, the sculptor; Mavis Gallant, such gorgeous short stories — all of whom passed recently, one 89, one 90, one 91. Prolific, engaged, and in the second case at least, funny. Aha! There’s that fire.
So off we go. Writing drunk, open to whatever comes and whoever I may be; revising sober and clear-eyed, hunting for the best form and the clearest path.