Creating the Dog Doo

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.

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  1. #1 by Raven on January 12, 2011 - 3:46 pm

    Personally I think constructive criticism re: poetry is difficult. If you are writing a book that’s one thing. Some people write like kindergartners. That’s all there is to it. (if I write like a kindergartner please continue not telling me that…kthxbye) Poetry, on the other hand, is very based on taste. Your poetry speaks to me but I prefer rhythm and ryhme so maybe I don’t like it as much as others. But still…it speaks…and that is an accomplishment.

    We are always our own worst critics. That will never be less true. And you do, very truly, write beautifully. Keep it up.

    • #2 by Carl on January 12, 2011 - 8:42 pm

      Thank you for commenting – I appreciate it. You are right about poetry and criticism. Often, I love a poem and I cannot tell you the specific reasons why, and I suppose the opposite is true.

  2. #3 by Marian on January 13, 2011 - 12:21 pm

    oh Carl, i so hear you. sometimes i think i’m all that, and then i think, well this sucks.
    or i think if an actual poet read my work, i’d be called out as an imposter or an amateur.
    i just keep trying, keep pushing, try to keep reality at the forefront.
    some people who can actually write read my poems and like them. and you too!
    keep writing. keep writing!

    • #4 by Carl on January 13, 2011 - 12:53 pm

      It is really nice not to be alone in the sentiments. Knowing others plug away through those feelings is enough to keep us going. Thank you for your comment!

  3. #5 by Evelyn on January 13, 2011 - 10:47 pm

    “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.”
    this is so exactly how I feel. You always do this! its like you are in my head.
    Sometimes I write something, then I hate it. I have to not look at it till the next day. then I like it again.
    sometimes I post something and then hide under the covers literally just willing myself to not think of it out there.
    also, poetry is really subjective. I may think something is good while someone else may feel no connection whatsoever.
    so I dont think its that its bad if people dont say anything, its more like this doesnt speak to them.
    altho there is bad poetry, but I think its a question of editting. many poets cant edit.
    this is such an honest GOOD post.
    I LOVE your site. I feel a kinship, truly.

    • #6 by Carl on January 14, 2011 - 1:55 am

      Oh, it is so nice not to be so alone. I appreciate your comment more than you can know, and the feeling of kinship is mutual. I love your site!

      And hiding under the covers? That is what I do!

      • #7 by Evelyn on January 14, 2011 - 9:42 pm

        mmmm hiding.
        I like it too much.
        And I cant remember a day you havent commented and supported me…

  4. #8 by April Belle on January 14, 2011 - 8:56 pm

    Like Evelyn said, I too can relate to this all to well… I have literally woke up in the middle of the night to change just a period or to re-read my (crappy) post and change sentences here or there. I don’t care if nobody ever sees it, I have to do it for me! LOL. But from what I can see of your work, you have nothing to fear. I’m no poet, and sometimes, quite honestly, poetry is hard for me to read. I’m kind of ignorant like that. But what really comes through is the emotion of a piece. You have that in spades (as does Evelyn). I love it. Thanks for sharing and allowing me to share in return.

    • #9 by Evelyn on January 14, 2011 - 9:43 pm

      how can you say you are not a poet?!?
      that is truly ridiculous!!
      both of those posts I just read were so good!

      • #10 by April Belle on January 14, 2011 - 9:53 pm

        Aw Evelyn… In truth, my strength is more prose than poetry… I would love to have that gene, but I tend to like sentences. Beefy, manly ones. LOL. You poet peeps bend words like master magicians. Imagery is your breakfast and metaphor your sexy bedtime companion. If I’m lucky I’ll find that skill someday. If I try really hard!

    • #11 by Carl on January 14, 2011 - 11:20 pm

      April, after you have been so kind to me, I hate to be disagreeable – I agree with Evelyn – I am afraid you are a poet, even if you don’t want to be! I just recently read your material, and I find it wonderfully imaginative and dream-like. I look forward to reading more of your prose and your poetry. Don’t let those inner voices squelch the beauty!

  1. poetry and I | heikewrites

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