Of Insects and Wood-sheds
The first poem of the June Writing Surge is "finished"--the way all of my poems are when they reach the tiny-edit stage. I haven't anything in mind for the second poem. I will go around the next several days with my eyes and ears open.
Books and the lives of writers fascinate me. I am also interested in craft issues. I am not much interested in literary theory. I am a poet. My relationship to a literary theorist is basically that of an insect to an entomologist.
I am happy to be regarded by clever entomologists as a not very interesting bug. Who wants to be chloroformed? Who wants a pin driven through his thorax? Let me scuttle off and write.
Lately, I am not feeling contentious. I am crawling away from arguments--they could go on for days.
I haven't the time to justify myself.
Annie Dillard writes:
In each book, the writer intended several urgent and vivid points, many of which he sacrificed as the book's form hardened. "The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon," Thoreau noted mournfully, "or perchance a palace or temple on the earth, and at length the middle-aged man concludes to build a wood-shed with them." *
I am 54 this summer and have a wood-shed to build.
*from Annie Dillard, The Writing Life (HarperPerennial, 1989), p. 5