Thursday, August 02, 2007
We Seek To Conceal
My first experience with a negative review came from one of the toughest people I have ever known, my mother. I wrote a story in my teenage angst mode about killing myself (creatively -- NOT -- I slashed my wrists) and called it (wait for it, this is brilliant) "The Razor's Edge." The mother came off rather badly in the story as all mothers do when one is a fifteen year old girl who reads way too much Sylvia Plath. My mother caught me writing on my dad's Tandy computer and made me give her the draft. She was, to put it mildly, royally pissed. I tried to explain that it was "fiction," that I actually liked some of the things that I professed not to like in the story and that was true. My mother worked a lot off and on outside of the home in a variety of jobs -- I loved when she worked as it gave her focus and drew her attention away from me and my multitude of faults. In the story, my narrator complains about this, complains about getting fast food for dinner (in all honesty, my absolute favorite dinner in that house that I longed for), and so on. She grounded my sorry self for a week, a punishment for both of us given my wonderful, sullen nature (I was going to be a writer -- didn't all artists have to be sullen?) and her penchant for turning a blind eye when one of her dogs tried to bite me.
Unlike Anne Sexton who stopped writing for ten years when her mother accused her of plagiarism, I didn't let my mother's reaction stop me. Instead I turned to wildly abstract poetry in which nobody could be identified, not even the point of the poem. I had not a clue what my poems were about -- they read like a cross between the confessionals and the lyrics of Slayer. But I wrote and was glad for it. When I got into my first workshop, nobody had a clue what I was trying to do. So I went back to the hard work of exposing myself and others. Of course, I'm always nervous -- it's hard to see what's beneath all that we seek to conceal under other circumstances. I'm done with killing myself in stories -- life is doing that quickly enough! And nobody grounds me these days except myself, especially when I need to get some writing done.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard." Anne Sexton
Drinking poetry suggestion: To Bedlam and Part Way Back Anne Sexton
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday! Dear readers, check out The Cave of Pythia, a fantastic blog, in my links section. It was her comment that inspired this post! Thanks Lindy!