Have been doing a lot of surfing on the Net. Exploring what other people are writing and what they are writing about. And, of course, getting sidetracked into my own personal areas of interest. One of those, perhaps the most basic one of all, is poetry. I essentially got into writing by beginning with poetry, and that will probably remain my first love forever. You know what they say about that first love, you never forget, find yourself daydreaming, remembering, and reliving those moments again and again. You might put it all aside for years, but at some point, it will come swimming back up to the surface, and there you are, once again caught in its embrace, drifting away on a tide of remembered emotions.
I, on the other hand, have been actively engaged in posting poetry on another cite, while writing these prose blogs here. That’s a definite no no in some places. Its been said that the individual who attempts to write both prose and poetry will do a disservice to both. Its been said so often, that it has become a rule of thumb (unspoken law), for anyone who wants to write seriously and be published. So, why am I breaking that unspoken rule? Aren’t I afraid of going against the proclamation of all those who have gone before me and are obviously far wiser than I am? Yes and no.
I am also aware that a certain number of myths arise in any given discipline. Myths, in this sense, are false ideas based in some aspect of truth, or reality. Language has rules, or it wouldn’t be able to communicate clearly. If those rules are broken, the result is misunderstanding, or worse, gibberish. The rules are there to retain clarity. But, who made the rules? That’s a whole other book long discussion and not a task I want to engage in. Suffice it to say that the rules were made sometime in the past, and most of them were made through trial and error, experience, and so forth. As long as they work and maintain some good levels of clarity, don’t mess with them, right?
However, we, as living breathing organisms, do grow and evolve. So some of those rules no longer apply. If those rules of written language were created back in the days of Thees and Thous, and we no longer speak in that manner, our written language would and should follow suit and it has, thank goodness. But, some of those rules remain as no more than whispers and those whispers become myths.
A good way to know that is to think about what you believe is true of writers in general. Do you believe that all writers have to be a bit crazy to do what they do? Are they heavy drinkers, maybe drug users, or sexual deviants? Will they use anything they come in contact with as something to write about, even you? All of these ideas are myths based in what we know about the most famous writers we have read.
What about all those folks who aren’t famous, yet write every day, either making a living at the craft, or because they simply, personally enjoy engaging in that pastime? They wouldn’t fit into that myth of drunken, or sexual craziness that surrounds others like Earnest Hemingway, Theodore Roethke, or the Beat Poets and writers of another generation. And by the way, these same people were living out another myth about the need to overwhelm the senses with drugs and sex to be able to write anything of value.
I am not saying that myths are out and out falsehoods, they aren’t. They are based in some element of truth or reality. Yes, if you overwhelm your senses, create an altered state, you will write some very interesting and different things from what other people are doing. Even some things of value. However, if you kill yourself in the process, all you do is create ultimate silence and an end to further communication. That’s not the real goal of any writer, be he/she famous or otherwise. Personally, I’m still angry at Anne Sexton for shutting off a magnificent and necessary voice that had so much to teach me.
Yesterday, when I woke up, there were words dancing in my head. So much so, that instead of doing my usual type of journal page, I crossed all the lines and created something in-between poetry and prose. It was a direct result of all that web surfing I’ve been doing. It was a cross-over, a bridge between these two aspects of what I love to do. A blending of both into something separate and different from either one. On one level, it was scary because I had no idea where it was going. On another, it was exciting for the very same reason. Before I could give in to the fear of not being understood, I posted it on the splitting darkness cite, listed here on the sidebar in my blogroll. I titled it, Not My Usual Whatever.
I knew when I did that, that I was breaking that rule about writers who attempt to do both poetry and prose. I’m also aware that others have done the same and some of what they have written is extremely good stuff. That brings me back to my original question: why do it at all? Maybe because all rules eventually become myths? Is that even a possibility? I think it might be because I come here every other day and challenge my reader to do something that he/she might be afraid of doing. I have always believed that I can’t challenge someone else, unless I’m willing to do the work myself. I think I had to prove to myself that I was willing to do just that.
So what are the myths you hold about doing this writing stuff? Do they have to do with what you think you know about us crazy people who do this thing? Is that what holds you back, creates the fear that holds you where you are and away from what you truly want to be or do? Can you cross over those lines and begin something new, something different, something of deep value, not only to yourself, but to anyone who might come across what you have expressed? Are you willing to build a bridge and then dare to put your weight on it?
Crossing over isn’t easy, but it is possible. It is how we grow and let our comfort zone expand to accommodate that growth. And you might be pleasantly surprised at how many hands will be outstretched to help and to greet you. Mine is only one of them.