I finished posts of a poem and a short story last night, and I had a sudden and distinct feeling that I am wasting precious time in my life. When I am in the middle of the creative process, I love it. I’m sure others relate to this. I get this exhilaration that seems greater than any other high imaginable. My mind churns, but it is not the normal psychotic, spin-the-wheels, 19-trains-are-arriving-at-the-same-time-from-different-directions type of churning. It is focused. It is always new. I love it. There is this part in me that says, YES, THIS IS IT! I never know when this will happen so I carry around a little journal for notes and hope no one reads any of it because it has some wacky stuff.
The bad part happens when I put it out on the blog. Suddenly, my view of the content almost reverses. I feel as though it sucks too bad for me to be able to handle it. I think this is a problem with self-esteem, but it also seems to be some sense of reality. You can love writing and at the same time be really bad at it. I’ve had classes, I’ve read immense amounts of literature and I love good literature as well as poetry, but these loves do not help a man become a good writer. I wonder if I should get back in classes to get more critical feedback. This seems to be a way to move things forward, but if it is bad in the first place, and feedback helps you make it mediocre, is your activity worthwhile? I don’t know. Sometimes I say that if my writing touches the heart of one person, then I feel good about what I have done, but is that a rational thing to say? Would it be better for me to simply read all of the time and forget the writing? There are millions of beautiful books which I will never have time enough with which to read. I have gone through reading-only periods, and I always feel this consistent drive in the back of my head making me feel as though I should be writing. Good writing always inspires me to write. I don’t say, “I could do that,” but I say, “I wish I could communicate some of the crap that rolls around inside the hollow chamber on top of my sore neck in a way that even partly matches the skill of so and so.”
I don’t know what the answer is. I have noticed in getting back into writing this time that the people on the WordPress sites and the people who share through the poetry rallies and such are always so good and kind with their feedback. I suppose they say nice things when they can and don’t say anything if they don’t like it, but sometimes I long for that honesty that helps us grow. I have had one note that was a heavy-hitting critique of my writing, and she was incredibly perceptive about the writing and her suggestion was excellent. I feel as though I have improved my poetry since she commented. I long for more of that. However, I am such a sensitive baby that if all I got was critics, I would quit and run away and hide. I think I will keep trying it for a while, playing around, perhaps get back into some creative writing classes with some youngsters, and I will work hard on not being so rough on myself, knowing that I have little ability to judge objectively. It’s funny – I love the judgment that takes place while editing and re-writing, but at some point I get done with that, then I put it on the blog, and then I say this sucks like dog doo. I wanted to put a nice, big fat image of dog doo with this post, but I resisted. I have enough of it in real life with our five dogs.