23 February 2015

Lying-ass Song

 ...Some things in this world
Do not depend on speech to be felt.
That is how Terrance Hayes new book, How to Be Drawn*, ends. The lines seem to both soothe and to warn. They are almost a hex.

There is a listlessness in the end of winter. It's like the final days of illness when you are feeling better, have an appetite, even energy. But you are still hacking up phlegm and oozing from your nose. You may go back to work/school/etc. but you will be coughing like death for a few more days.

You might lose your voice.

How does one get back their lost voice?

Hook up a battery to it and jump?

Mid-semester and I am not writing. I'm editing, which is great, let's not get hysterical about this. But I am not producing new. It is easy to blame this on teaching. That I am spending a lot of brain-space on being creative in a different way.

The reality is that I get tired too easily.

I have very specific spaces that I am able to get creative work done in.

Mental and physical.

I need to be rested, but not too rested. Awake, but not over energized that I can't sit. Distracted by my surroundings just enough to go to that imagination place to make weird connections, but not too distracted that I start transcribing the lyrics tot he song playing or start live tweeting the conversations at the next table.

I need to have a jolt of creation, but not a jolt of someone else's energy.

If this all sounds like excuses. Well. It feels that way to me too. But these are the rules that my brain has given for the 'work' to commence.

Lately. It just hasn't.

That isn't to say I am out of ideas. I have mapped out a series of linked short stories. I've reworked bits of the novel-in-never-ending-progress. I organized a chapbook and printed a bunch of poems to try and pin together a manuscript. I even wrote a new poem the other day.

But it doesn't FEEL. And maybe this is a limit of that word. Or of the word 'work' or 'creativity' or or or or or.

I keep waiting to feel like I've turned a corner, or the ball is rolling, or something akin to that absolutely not able to be defined thing.

Maybe I'm waiting to be an 'adult'. Or a 'professional'. Or.

The Hayes quote above ends with this:
Remember too that the eyes are not flesh,
That crisis is initiated by the absence of witness,
That Orpheus, in time, became nothing
But a lying-ass song
Sung for the woman he failed.
It isn't that I am waiting.
It is that I am not sure I ever learned how to feel it when it gets here.

* How to Be Drawn is out March 31 2015 from Penguin

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