There is a lot to say, but I'm at a loss for words these days. There is solace to be found however, in reading the work of others. It's nice to find a cozy, safe place in between the the lines of great poetry or to live one moment of another's life through a blog post. I come away from it all with a sense of sharing, as if I've been given a gift of insight and perspective. Reading also forces me to come to grips with my own limits when it comes to my grasp of the English language.
It didn't help that I grew up in a place where words like "dang" and "dadgummit" were thought of as real words. It took me years to realize that "fixing" did not mean the same thing as "going" as in "I'm fixing to eat" as opposed to "I'm going to eat". The little knowledge I gleaned in college has abandoned me. It was replaced by more practical information such as knowing how to fold fitted sheets and cooking a dinner from next to nothing. I can simultaneously clean, make doctor's appointments and referee arguments without losing my sanity.
One of my biggest peeves about myself is when words fail me. It is a source of great frustration because I, like most people, want to communicate my thoughts and feelings in an effective, concise way. I want to be heard and understood without the need for endless clarification. Is that even possible? What one writes will be interpreted by the particular individual who's doing the reading. Inevitably, there will be misunderstandings and points where the writer and the one reading will completely "miss" each other when it comes to meaning and intention.
In the days when I took my own poetry more seriously, I worried about how well my poems represented me as a person. It was a way for me to say things that I would otherwise keep to myself. With poetry, I could weave layers of meaning between the lines. There would be an obvious meaning for all to see and something for those who knew me best. Still, even deeper, I buried things that had meaning only to myself. My methods often resulted in nothing more than cliche'd, badly written gibberish, but it was my gibberish and I could live with that. Even with my own sad limits as a poet, it felt like the perfect form of expression to an imperfect being.
Yet, I worried about what readers would bring with them as they read and how much that affected what they "saw". In a way, poets are painters except they use pens instead of brushes and words instead of paint. The difference is that poets have less control over the "image" itself and how it appears. There is always the risk of misrepresenting oneself and/or making oneself look like a complete idiot. Even now, I'm wondering if I sound pretentious. It is the risk writers take every time they put something out there.
My favorite saying is a Serbian proverb, "Be humble for you are made of earth/dung. Be noble for you are made of stars". I think it's a good approach for both readers and writers as well as for life in general. It's another reminder of the dual nature of existence, a concept that reverberates throughout my writing.
The saying reminds me to both read and write with the realization that I'm inescapably human. At the same time, I'm encouraged to improve how I convey my thoughts as well as my understanding of what I read. It leaves me room to learn from my failures. It keeps me from becoming arrogant when others don't understand or misconstrue what I'm trying to say. I am given reasons to keep trying while keeping in mind that others may not give a damn that I'm trying to say anything at all.
It's all there, in two lines and I can live with what acceptance of the saying entails. I admire anyone who can write pieces of their soul onto a piece of paper and walk away satisfied. I will probably never know what that feels like. I can also respect anyone who tries to express a thought but fails miserably. I'm all too familiar with that one, but it's the trying that counts, right?
So much for my writer's block, eh?