Apology to My Muse

Muse,

You and I have been estranged for far too long and I miss you. You remain with me, but as some shadow confined to a corner, turning only when called. I’ve been selfish, expected you to expect to know your place as supplier, misunderstood your true purpose and lost sight of my love for you. I was afraid of you and your power, the unconditional nature of your being. Your proximity to me made me uneasy every time I questioned whether or not I was capable of fulfilling our potential. My faith in you wavered and for that I am sorry. There can be no relationship if there is no trust.

I lost my way and have had trouble finding it back to you. So much has happened and perhaps I’ve built those capsules of moments and years around you to quiet your voice of expectations. I knew you were there. You were always there. You were close enough to call and I knew you would come, prepared to give. I rarely, if ever, replenished you in the way that was necessary, that demonstrated my love and appreciation for you. How disingenuine of me! There were times when I asked you to show yourself, a servant treasure to my art. You gave me what you could and reserved the rest.

I’ve neglected you for far too long. It is time to make things right. I will set aside my fears and learn to listen, to hear you and to trust you. Who knows me better than you?

Please forgive me. Stay.

 

 

Getting Back to Business

I’ve said this often, I am a terrible procrastinator. I’ve spent too much time (years really) attempting to either perfect every poem or simply find every excuse of why I cannot find the time to write. Every moment I look up and realize how much time has passed since I graduated grad school I get a little bit sad, a little bit disappointed with myself. I drench myself in thoughts of “I should have my book by now…,” “I should have published x amount of poems by now,” “I should be writing x amount of hours everyday,” “I haven’t written in so long how can I call myself a writer?” And so on and so on. In my mind I know that I have too long been my own worst critic, stopping myself before I’ve even started.

When I do find the time to sit down and write I remember how much I love it and how much I miss the excitement of finishing the draft of a poem, or the challenge of finding the right word to replace a general one, or rearranging lines and stanzas until it just feels right. It’s exhilarating. Yet once that session is done I do not return to the writing table for a long time. Insert excuses here. The list becomes longer and longer. I mask my insecurities about writing with the excuse that I do not have enough time. I’m too busy with tomorrow’s workload and meeting. I have to teach. I have to do this. I have to do that. Now that I have a child I have hit the mother load of excuses.

But the truth, as it always is, is that I do have the time to write. I have the talent to write. I have the love and the passion to write. I have the utensils to write and I have an abundance of books and music and such to inspire me to write. All I really need to do is remember the fun, remember the exhilaration of putting pen to paper (yes, Pen.To.Paper) and finding those infinite combinations of words that form my stories, my voice, the voices and stories of others. When I was a young writer that was my answer whenever I was asked why I enjoy writing. I was in aw of the infinite possibilities of combinations of words, of how no matter what words we use every day can be put together differently to make a new sentence, phrase, emotion, etc.

As writers we can reach a point, when get to the place of MFA’s and fellowships and publications, where we can lose touch with our younger writer selves who wrote because yes, we were angst-y, and in love, and broken-hearted, and happy, and all we wanted to do was the tell the world about it. When I’m with my students and they are performing their poems, or I’m listening to poems of other students I become nostalgic. I become so filled up with possibility and free-ness. Young writers are so free and un-hinged in a way that causes me to remember why I pursued writing in the first place, the days when I felt that if I wasn’t a writer then I didn’t know what I was meant to be on this Earth. A little melo-dramatic? Maybe. But true.

Somewhere along the way I started taking myself to seriously and between the fear of both failing and succeeding, and worse being mediocre. (Issues, right?) Once, I had a conversation with one of my professors about the fear of success. It’s crazy to think that anyone can be so afraid of being successful that it prevents them from pursuing their art. Tony Medina often mentioned the sadness of those writers who were great writers, but were so caught up in their fears that the only published one book or one body of work. In some ways I understand that fear, as odd it is. What if you do write something great and that one piece of work is your peak? How can you top the expectations of those who are waiting for you to do something else amazing? It sounds self-centered, but it’s a legitimate reserve for some writers. I can admit that I have read a work by a writer, watched a movie or show by a director, and the follow-up work was lackluster and I was disappointed in the second experience. Who am I to have that judgment? No one, really. Yet these are the types of thoughts writers allow to cripple them.

I don’t want to be one of those writers. I’m trying my best to be done with the excuses, to find myself mixed between not giving a fuck and giving a fuck, between youth and obligation. I am a writer and I want to be a great writer which includes a necessary discipline. I have the time to write. Housewives and Scandals (oh the guilty pleasures!) can wait. Someone, even if it’s only one, will like something I write. I have always said that if one person is influenced or touched by my writing then that’s all that matters, that I’ve done my job and I have to hold fast to that idea and hold myself accountable. I just have to have fun, again.