and the rain said
“go ask the Moon”
and the Moon,
the Moon just sighed,
you’ve let me slip away again.”
I hate art. There, I said it. Now I can love it even more.
For me, talking about process is kinda like talking about sex…I, the intellectual me, isn’t really at liberty to speak for the primate in me who wakes during arousal and takes the controls. I can say a few things about him, but my monkey doesn’t talk about sex. His talk is part of the sex act. The difference is profound. The poet/proset in me doesn’t discuss writing, not very well anyway. His discussion is the writing. I can say truthfully that sometimes I have a plan, sometimes not, sometimes just a title with which I’ve fallen in love (“Not the Case of the Rural Hooker” or “the Ghost of Lenny Bruce” or, well, you get the idea) and suddenly, there I am, racing to the climax. But to come off (sorry) like I’m an expert in discussing writing would be wrong. I’m not. I’m not even an expert writer.
What I do know is my own voice. It is one of the few things I have mastered in this life. My voice guides me through the work: it works with breath and line breaks; it sings the prosodical and passes judgement as to whether it is true or no; and my voice has an uncanny sense of what sounds like me and what sounds forced, beyond my reach, beneath my chair, or whathaveyou.
I write for my friends, idealized sometimes, sometimes for one specific person. It works for me. I am fortunate to have a varied peer group. Some are superbrains. Some are hickweeds. Some are musicians. Some are older, successful writers. Some are weird, booknosed relatives. And these aren’t exclusive sets. The point is, when moved to write for the hickweeds (or the hickweed in me), I create work that will move in ways necessary for this audience. Dickens says, in The Old Curiousity Shop, “Necessity may have no law, but she has her lawyers.”
I do work alone. Sometimes I drink vodka for three days before anything comes. And then anything goes. Remember Hemingway? He was saying, at the end, “Nothing comes,” and then the shotgun in the mouth. Sometimes I just go jogging.
I like taking on a hugely ambitious project I’ll never complete and then, in delay/avoid mode, I write little pieces of fabulousness. I dunno. It works for me.