Thursday, July 08, 2021

writing as exorcism

Sometimes, I am more prone to dreams about exes. It will usually happen randomly..something will flash through my head briefly--a location, a memory, bad or good. And there that person will be in a dream setting--sometimes about them, sometimes not at all about them. The failures of the relationships play themselves out again during sleep over and over, even when I have not set eyes on or otherwise thought about that person in as much as a decade. The dream version of these lovers rarely have learned their lesson over time, though my waking self has. Sometimes its merely bittersweet.  Sometimes, it's infuriating. 

Poems work similar, though I've often written in a more sly slanted way about former lovers.  Sometimes, they were combined, like a hydra, from many different parts.  the fever almanac feels less about one relationship than about several through my 20's. Other projects have a snippet--the male characters in girl show, for example take inspiration from a couple men I'd encountered. major characters in minor films combines a couple different relationships, one of which is broken out more fully in dirty blonde.  Even within manuscripts, there are variations.  shipwrecks of lake michigan is about one ex. dreams about houses and bees, another. radio ocularia, a kind of mixing of both

Of course, as Taylor Swift will attest, breakups and heartbreak sometimes make the best art, or at least the best entertainment. And, as a writer, I reserve the right to bend the details to my own devices.  Especially when the relationships have passed their expiration date.  It's a little trickier when you are still IN the thing you are writing about. how to write a love poem in a time of war started out as a sweet valentine and tuned into a #metoo inspired examination half way through, and while a sort of complicated love letter, it was very real and raw (and I would say much the better for it.) Since that little set of love poems, and because circumstances are happier in that arena,  I'm not sure I've written so much about my own relationships in other recent projects, barring &nbsp, which I think of as about intimacy and loneliness specifically. Most of my other recent projects have had their inspiration outside of my own life--maybe a quick dip in the spell poems I've been working on recently, but nothing major.

&nbsp, when I get the odd chance to look at it and think about it (most of it was written over a few weeks pre-pandemic, when my brain was clearer,  and I haven't been able to get back to it properly) does feel very much like an exorcism of old ghosts. The sort of men who knock around in my brain after I sleep--the good or badness of them. If poems are a spell or a prayer, maybe this well work to banish them and their dirty boots all over the floors forever.  Or maybe I'll just hole up with the ghosts sometimes, like a seance, and write the really good sort of poems that come from bad romantic choices.  

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