There Is More to Life Than Being Right – (notes on not writing #2)

Everyone wants to be right and it’s the most important thing in the world. It feels exciting and invigorating. But this hardly resonates.

To be right, has a temporary glow… but also, to be right… sucks. It sucks the life out of everything. The way we are treating it now. It’s rigid and, the way we’re treating it now, unintelligent.

To be right has become the most banal aspect of contemporary existence.

Writing is more difficult than ever. And also easier. Because of the culture of RIGHT.

It’s enough to make you feel done with language, with writing. To give up everything. To just give up. Because to write, to use your words – this involves taking a position. Do I need to be right, to write? Because there is more to life than being the one who is right.

We’re dealing with an actual and deliberate detachment from reality. Because as much as we propose to speak truth, truth is not only what we are speaking at any given time. We’d like to believe that it is, but truth changes as quickly as we figure it out.

What is truth? You can’t only be right and also have the truth. It’s impossible. Truth is filtered through the material world, but it can not be caught by you. Truth is a phenomenon created by the sum total of an infinite multitude of ideas and perspectives. Truth is a multitude.

And this is why we need poetry.

Poetry calls us to remind ourselves how foolish we are in being so right. In pretending to have all the answers. In our righteousness against the assholes.

Because there is no right answer in poetry. There is no “figuring it out” once and for all. No one single truth or perspective. And there isn’t supposed to be. Because this would not be possible, and it would not even reflect all that art is capable of – nor all that we are capable of.

Art can understand us even beyond ourselves, because art is perspicacious. Because art is a universe, within universes. Because art reflects reality as this complex multitude beyond one single ego — one single ego whose tragic flaws art is also sure to reveal, so that nobody can be a god (but perhaps, merely part of the god we envision).

This is not to elevate the artist too much. The “one single ego” of the artist or the writer – that’s just a personality. The artist, or one who creates, serves as a medium for an aspect of truth. But not all of the truth. The artist who is specifically concerned with what they call the truth – this does not mean they need be considered right (though they may be).

To be so right and so perfect, even so irrefutable — that would be the creation, ultimately, of something stagnant. Irrefutability is stagnation. And what would be the point of that? To end ourselves?

…What is the actual end game of RIGHT?

We don’t need to be right, much as we act as if. And artists don’t need to be right to create, nor writers – especially not to write poetry, which neither needs nor strives to be irrefutable. The creator just needs to show. And this is why we won’t give up. Craft will continue to excel at creating more questions, than answers.

There’s people out there who really wish we would, just give it up. We all know them. And we can’t help but disappoint them. Truly. And this is okay. In fact whatever we do, it will disappoint someone. And that’s marvelous.

This is the reason it is worth it to keep going. Not to make more points. Not to be more right than they are. But to imagine. All of what is possible. And in doing so, we will not please all. If we existed only to please, then nothing original would ever get made or done. Because so often, what is original begins by embodying what is not-right.

And as for the whole? Not just the artists. The “everyone”? There is the idea that if we compromised on everything so readily, then nothing would ever change. And we could not dare to hope for a better world.

But this does not mean we are the god of intelligence. Is our opinion seriously, honestly, the highest intelligence possible? Does our opinion represent the highest world order? Please.

We’ll do better, in today’s climate, to celebrate how wrong we can be.





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Two Words, Two Worlds

prac-ti-cal (adj.)

*of or concerned with the actual doing or use of something rather than with theories and ideas.

*relating to experience, real situations, or actions rather than ideas or imagination.

————————

im-ag-i-nat-tive (adj.)

*new, original, and smart.

*good at thinking of new, original, and clever ideas.

————————

prac-ti-cal-i-ty (noun)

*the quality of being adapted or designed for actual use; usefulness or convenience

*the quality or fact of relating to actual activity, especially ordinary or everyday activity

*a detail or consideration involved in putting something into action

———————


imag-i-na-tion (noun)

*the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality

*ability to confront and deal with a problem; resourcefulness

*the thinking or active mind

*And the André Breton quote, aptly quoted in Barbara Guest’s Forces of Imagination. “To imagine is to see.”

———————-

Writ-ing

*the activity or skill of marking coherent words on paper and composing text

*the act or art of forming visible letters or characters specifically

*doing whatever you want





Life is an adventure – remember?

A tea kettle whistling – someone else is up at 5:53 am too. A neighbor.

I’ve had a writer’s block and an artist’s block at the same time – I don’t remember the last time that happened.

Suffering gets boring.

I don’t regret recording it.

Paralysis, though – that’s an empty space – but something happens in it.

In the space of doing nothing.

A mystery to us. It doesn’t seem worth examining.

Consciousness needed to shift.

I prefer the hand just a little bit childlike sometimes.

Like what’s always come most naturally – a style mostly resisted.

What was wrong with that?

Why resist anything? Why resist anything?

It’s not always worth it to be so adult. What is beyond adult?

The struggle is too adult.

But artists aren’t childish, like they insinuate.

Art is ageless. Period.

A Polished Predictable Person

There was a time in my life I actually embraced being alone. Content with it, full and complete. Other times I’ve feared being alone. Or it’s just made me feel, in one word, miserable.

Now I just feel neutral. And that doesn’t have to mean anything.

Writing about loneliness can scare people, although I’m not exactly sure why it should.

There was a time when I wrote more “poetically” on here. I suppose it was nicer, prettier, or better quality in some way but I don’t know. It’s a different time now. An uncomfortable one, but this is interesting. I have no idea what will happen.

Something broke in me. For a time. Now I am just here. Quietly. I was subjected to the myth of the perfectly polished woman. Tortured with its image and all its presumptions.

Someone fell in love with that myth. Someone dear. But there were no people there. There was no truth. Only gods.

The real woman is pissed off by all that now. She is sad. She is a spontaneous puddle of tears. She is feeling forsaken. She is seeking the generosity of spirit that this myth wouldn’t allow her.

Inside is the only place to go – for that piece, at least. The trouble is, this myth is actually everywhere.

There is no point in pretending. There is no academic-background point of view that will do anything. There is no game to play to elevate the mind over the feeling. We have enough of that crap around.

Shit is normal. But to eat shit is not.

When true cruelty is encountered – and it does exist in degrees, from unlikely alcoves at times – closure can never come from its source.

The flip side of the most romantic type of personality, is sometimes that it is the least realistic. Romance has always been a good thing – not something to be so cautious about. But there is true romance, and then there is romance riddled with agenda.

This morning I had the defiant thought, I’ll forget all this by dressing like crap and take no hair cuts for a while. I’ve done it before. When I didn’t have any money. I got through. And it was good. It was amusing to reject what is expected of us. Right now what I don’t have is time, and patience to entertain any level of psychological garbage. As if this disengagement from elements of the myth could weed it all the way out.

I am heartbroken. It resonates. But I am surviving it. And learning to have fun.

It’s an open road again. I can’t see the whole thing. Only the entrance.

I have seen a much smaller light before now, and followed it out.

Anything could happen.

Observation #1



Fear is the fuel of judgment. And judgment is not exactly perception. Do it anyway. But first, there’s the mirror.

Who is it? Is it real? Is it true? Where does this mind come from?

We like to say, it’s not personal. Don’t go thinking everything is so personal. But also. Everything is personal. Everything.

art


i’m drinking a tangerine Italian soda at 11:20 at night. the apartment is messier than usual. it doesn’t matter. there’s no good enough reason to be motivated to mind. it’s been one of those days. it’s gloomy out. nothing better to do than create things. supplies scattered around everywhere. computers. books. papers. i live here. fully live here. nobody is in my way. but i kind of wish there was.

there are those who would have you believe that doing this sort of thing makes you selfish. selfish to spend so much time on art, like you’re so important. selfish to write about yourself. no, selfish to not be writing about somebody else. talking about somebody else. existing as if you value everything else more so than what is inside you.

as if every other activity out there isn’t selfish. as if watching tv isn’t selfish. the person who assigns worth to something is yourself. the person who decides something isn’t worthy is you. but it feels like it’s everyone else who decides. decides that their meaningless and half-assed pursuits are somehow okay but yours isn’t.

am i supposed to just let the ideas die? what happened to the life of the mind. i literally have nothing better to do. i could make more money and work myself to death but i already have one job and i like it. i just don’t watch tv. i don’t want to. it’s boring. there i said it. it’s fucking boring. except when there’s company. when there’s company, it’s entertaining and enjoyable. that’s how i feel about it. maybe if i really loved alone time with my tv, i’d be too busy for art. it’s practically sacrilegious to say that out loud. i wouldn’t want tv gone forever. it’s just not what every person who exists on this planet is here to do with their time.

making art is not selfish and self-centered just by default. art is for others. as much as for the self, maybe more so. art is made with audience in mind. with communication in mind, however abstract. i use myself but i am not writing to me. I am writing to them. i am writing to you. i am writing for you. when i write, it is you i am thinking of. art is made because humanity desires it. humanity needs it. but i fail. like anyone i fail. so i keep doing it. i show up to fail. i hope the next time i will get it right. it takes a lifetime. but that’s okay. art is made to make the world a better place. a richer, more beautiful and more honest place. imagine a world entirely devoid of art. seriously.

you can be a megalomanic doing any sort of occupation in life. not just art. look at the world’s wealthiest people and how we admire them and excuse their flaws. and then look at poets. it’s REALLY damn hard to be an egotistical poet. maybe for a short time, but it likely wouldn’t be sustainable. poetry is humbling. nobody cares, at least in real life. “nobody” as in, society at large. in most cases it doesn’t pay because the world does not respect you enough to think that you deserve it. it’s even harder to please a crowd than in music, or visual art also. but these are all tricky occupations. you do it because you want to and you feel it is needed. you need it. others need it too and you know it. even if it doesn’t always seem like it, others need it.

you show up as your inadequate self. you may never quite match that pre-filled idea that someone else hopes, and you are passed up for better investments. you are rejected over and over, and in so many nuanced ways. and you show up.

you know that the rest sucks even more. the alternative fucking sucks. so you get up and you start again.






Two Thoughts On Writing Love Poetry

  1. If love is not important enough a topic for important poetry, then I just… don’t care. (And if poetry can be that arrogant, then we’ve really lost the plot).

  2. No, I don’t write on love “for women” as someone suggested. Love is not a women’s problem.

    And do we think that men don’t love?

    And did anyone ever posit that a man’s poems were “for men,” even in times one might argue they were?




Life Support III

__

At a certain point, there’s only so much that can be done.

I’m far from the first one to think that our situation now should be no surprise. We’ve been recklessly asphyxiating, mowing, crowding, disrespecting, neglecting, destroying the planet for generations.  Now nature is taking over.  Science could never move as fast.  Nature is in charge.

Nobody IRL wants to be the one to say it, or even think it.  What fools we are.  How self-important we have been as humans.  The unchecked egocentrism comes now to this. Of course, it is our moral and ethical duty to provide people with the best chance that they can have at survival.  We sacrifice for the sake of one another.  We value lives.

Why then does our true primary source of life, our environment, the earth, get left out of the equation so often in our daily political and economic consciousness?  This has been a permanent conflict of interest.  Our growing population and extended life spans, without any truly impactful or sustained attempt to mitigate its burden on our environment, the earth from which we are largely alienated.  Nature becomes something to visit and vacation, rather than to take as part of ourselves.

As much as we see and value ourselves, our society, our culture, we must too turn an eye towards this earth as our real and ultimate life support.

Now each one of us, any one of us, could die.  We experience this die-off just as whole swaths of species have died at our inattention, our neglect.  Few want to recognize how we ourselves have created so many of our disasters.  It’s easy to get busy and look the other way.

We must learn more reverence for that which is old, which has already come before us, and in this case, the one true elder.  We must care for it, above and beyond our own self-interests.  Nobody wants to say these things out loud, not me either.  How uncomfortable we are with nature doing the job that it does, to the extent we must do whatever it takes to regain control over it.  How uncomfortable we are as a culture with death, dying, aging, changing — not just in this instance but with the natural cycle of life, as we rebel more and more against these inconvenient truths.

Which brings us to the most difficult question of all. Are we even responsible enough, to extend our own lives? And what exactly would be the point, if we can not even breathe the air, drink the water, draw nutrition from soil, or exist without intermittent unprecedented calamities anymore?

Who wants to sit down and take the time, a long time, to regard nature with the respect it deserves?  Because ultimately we are not in charge.  The river is in charge, the glaciers are in charge, the ocean is in charge, the mountain is in charge, microorganisms are in charge.  Everything is different now as we can not pretend that’s not true.

We can not ignore another kind of science – climate science, environmental science.  So I don’t really want to hear them talk about science, until they’re ready to talk about that.

March 23, 2020 – March 31, 2020
(links added)


(Lockdown Journals Part VII, FINAL THOUGHT, II)