Posted by: Corri van de Stege | January 19, 2008

Poetic despair

I travel from despair to exhilaration and back again.  You wonder why?  Well,  (1) there are only so many bids you can write within a week without beginning to feel that the words somehow or other take on their own lives, nothing poetic about these words, they’re cold and hard with precise sense, but it is nevertheless a kind of creative process, yes.

Then there’s (2) which is about this creative process that somehow has become completely constipated because of  thinking about poetry and writing poems that don’t immediately make you cringe with total embarrassment.  This is what is sometimes referred to as listening to your ‘inner voice’, which has eluded me completely this week.  I look into myself, and there is nothing to draw from.  I look at the world and listen carefully (another advice) and there is only so much silence.  I see lots.  And then I have a brainwave which is that perhaps you have to do both, not shut up one or the other: you have to let your own ideas, voice, imagination, whatever you call it, play around with what you see and hear (and work very hard on this, using dictionaries, the thesaurus, etc) and then just maybe you come up with something after long and hard work.  Well, it makes me feel better.  Now I have to find the time to do it.  Still, I would rather write short stories though….. 

And then (3) I have a whole pile of books that I have committed to, stories to read and comments to write and I cannot keep up with my own promises, made in enthusiastic haste.  Never mind, I can even see a ray of light there: the year is long and this is only dreary January.  And there will be weekends, and Easter and the summer holidays and…..

Between you and me, the thing that most worries me is the poetry and getting myself back into exhilaration mode again – I really was there not so long ago, but this week the words have run away with me (on work paper).  The mood has escaped and I cannot find it back.

Mind you, I do greatly enjoy my daily dose of The Master and Margarita. I took a picture from my workroom window, one morning this week, and imagined I saw Margarita flying on her broomstick somewhere in these clouds, laughing her head off at my silly worries.  She had not, at that stage in my reading, acquired the flying automobile yet, with which she is, at this very moment, on her way to Moscow.  I’ll find out about the havoc she is going to create there, alongside the good Professor Woland and his retinue, imagine.  Don’t tell me, I am greatly enjoying this book on my Russian Reading travels, and  I want to find out for myself.   Here is Margarita: can you see her?



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