Monday, May 25, 2020

tricks and trades

Sometimes I've managed to get myself unstuck creatively by trickery.  It happened after my MFA, when I'd spent about 3-4 years waffling and only occasionally sputtering out a poem like a firework that every quite went off completely.  There were too many people in my head, too many fingers in my poems, and it felt awkward and like it barely mattered. I was plenty busy with other things...that fall after graduating, I moved into the studio and started to hustle to make that rent--the etsy shop, growing the press, more forays into crafts and visual work.  All took away from the writing I'd been focusing on predominantly before that. I'd spend most of my weekend working on jewelry and soap and a million different things and a lot of time during the week filling orders for the shop. I was also pre-occupied by myriad romantic drama that cut across about three different entanglements that ate a lot of emotional energy, even while the library was pretty quiet in those days and my responsibilities considerably less. 

Mid- 2011, everyone seemed to be talking about the ridiculousness of James Franco and his writing.  Or maybe less his writing and more the fame-whoring that seems to be permeating the lit establishment that clamored to embrace him.  Also, just JF as a construct, a caricature even of himself.  Something very meta.   I started writing what I thought were just blog entries based on conversations spinning around and would occasionally share them. Even my non-poet friends seemed to like them a lot. What started as a fun little diversion became focused on the idea of art and celebrity and my own writing insecurities and experience.  I've always thought it was never about JF at all (who turned out to be kind of a creeper and most people lost interest). But more about me. I decided to pull them together and send them to Sundress as an e-chap and they were published in late 2012, at a time when I was just beginning to churn out work more readily.  By virtue of subject matter and easily accessed format, they may be my most heavily-read project ever. Later they would be included in major characters in minor films.

These past couple months have distracted me endlessly from creative pursuits.  There is the news of course, alarmingly fresh everyday.  And library work, which is now occupying my home and not just a set of hours spent elsewhere.  General dread and uncertainty. Also trying to keep the wheels turning with more rote pursuits (cleaning, cooking, assembling books) in the absence of creative roving.  While I've managed a few days where the writing feels good and tending to literary business seems possible--getting ready for sex and violence's release, submitting poems, working on the overlook pieces, outside of a couple graphic cover designs and some crypto memes, not much had been happening visually at all. 

Yesterday, I found myself wishing I had a larger landscape for my kitchen wall next to the fridge--perhaps a larger reproduction of the ghost landscape pieces that are all postcard sized.   It seemed easy enough, but as I started working this morning, I realized I really liked the colors I was mixing, and in an effort not to waste the paint on the pallet,  and eventually knocked off five different variations that aren't half bad.  We'll see what I think of them tomorrow, but it's a start and a move in one direction or another.  Meanwhile, the weather has been lovely the past few days and the windows all open overnight for the first time.  Let's hope it holds.

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