Monday, May 22, 2006

Contemplating obstinacy

this is an audio post - click to play

Starfish at Yahats, Oregon Tidepools (c) Kayar SilkenvoiceI've recently been contacted by someone through Literotica. An interesting man, who claims to be an editor, and who insists on calling me a writer, much to my chagrin. We had a bit of an argument about it, which he cut short by changing topics, I think becuase he felt that he, as one who edits writers, knows far better than I what one is. After our conversation ended, I went about making dinner, and as I ate it, thought about what we had discussed. And with a glass of wine in hand, I mailed him this:

You are not the only one who calls me a writer, if it is any consolation to you.

I do not know why I resist the label so. Perhaps it is a habit: I do not care for labels.

Or perhaps it is that writing comes too easily, or that I put so little effort into it. I mean really, I write what I think or feel or see or notice. There is no craft in that, no art, it is merely transcription.

And friends say to me, "Mozart and Beethoven merely transcribed the music playing in their heads. Does that make the label 'composer' less applicable? Does that lessen their genius?"

My answer is that I am no genius. Most days I feel like a fraud for being recognized for saying or writing things that simply 'are' to me. It is like saying Columbus discovered America. When I was a child I said: but it was always there! Why not recognize him for having the courage to test the theory that the world was not flat after all? Its not sexy, that is why.

I write about things that are sexy. Perhaps that is why people call me a writer? I do not know.

As for your feedback, also known as criticism, I welcome it. Truly. If nothing else it sheds light on the contrast between your perception of what a proper ending is, and my intuition that there are no endings, merely transitions from one moment, one state, to the next.

I recently wrote a poem called Compelling Question.
In it, I mention that another's consciousness is impenetrable. But it does not stop us from seeking to penetrate, to possess that other. Perhaps because I express my consciousness well, people find me more accessible, find the mystery of the other more accessible, and grasp at it. We are all so powerfully driven by the awareness, conscious or not, that we are alone, and not only that, but by the knowledge that the only certainty in life is that we will end, and we will end alone. And yet, there is a commonality, a universality to all experience, to all perceptions of reality, and in that, we are not alone. We find ourselves touched by the echoes of another's pain or self-awareness--their creative expression of it--and through it we can vicariously experience the other, or feel that they have experienced us, and know, for that moment, that we are not as alone as we felt. But people are not content to let the moment happen, and flow into the next, not if it means the possible loss of that shared consciousness. They do not want it to move on, and leave them solitary again. And so they cling to it, they close their hands about it, and forget the lesson of childhood: If you clutch the butterfly tightly in your hand so it will not fly away, you destroy the butterfly.

I think. Perhaps the better label is 'thinker'. I am a thinker. But applying that label to myself would seem vain, yes?

Better yet, call me a self-aware, self-conscious babbler.
That is a label I will not argue with :)

Starfish at Yahats, Oregon Tidepools (c) Kayar SilkenvoiceThe irony of the above is that it is written in response not only to him, but also to CD, my friend and mentor and ardent, loving admirer, who also calls me a writer, and whose encouragement on my writing I so roundly rejected this morning. Sorry, CD.

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