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Thursday, December 07, 2006



Poetic license

Last night I got an urge to pull out some old files and look through them. I didn’t feel like writing, but I thought I might look at some poems I wrote about a decade ago. They were in a box in a file drawer up in the attic. I think there are over a 100 in all, plus assorted notes, scribblings, and first drafts of things written as an exercise when my wife and I used to host a writing group (this is something we are toying with starting back up). I believe that’s where the previous post about the dream came from.

There was one poem in particular I was looking for so of course I couldn’t find a copy of it. It may be lost for good. Most of the others are probably deserving of the recycle bin. I flipped through them while the tv was on, skimming the text at most. I found myself not really wanting to read them. It felt like when you bump into someone unexpectedly at a social event who you either feel guilty or embarrassed to see. It’s awkward and you have difficulty maintaining eye contact.

Most of these poems I wrote during a year long depressed period. They were a lifeline and a survival mechanism back then. And I loved them all like children. Now they strike me as juvenile, self-centered and amateurish. They are more obvious than clever. More sophomoric than wise. More spoiled than passionate.

Over the years I’ve written and probably forgotten a few short stories and also tinkered with 3 or 4 ideas for novels. In one case, I got as far as outlining and researching portions of the book and even writing a few chapters.

I saw some of these novel-related files mixed in with the poems and other stuff. I didn’t open the folders. I might be disappointed if I had. As it is, I think the stuff is probably half-baked. Which is not so bad I think.

Something that’s half-baked at least has all the right ingredients. They are prepared and mixed in the proper proportions. The dish is simply missing two things: heat and time.

Somebody stick a toothpick in me and tell me if I’m done.


Blogger wordsonwater said...

I think the most embarassing thing about my old spiral binder full of poems (with a bunch of scrap pieces of paper stuck between the pages) is the fact that I have way too many written for guys whose names I have forgotten. The ones I wrote in eight grade are fortunately missing, but no such luck with the high school and college stuff, it's all there. It's been so long now that I can't throw it out, but then, I don't want to take the chance on my children finding it after I'm dead. Mostly though I worry that when I look back on what I'm writing now in 10 years, I'll cringe, but it will be too late. I've put it on the internet!

6:11 PM, December 10, 2006  

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