Friday, March 31, 2006

"To write poems I need to be alone. When I avoid being alone I avoid poetry and the messages it brings me." from poemcrazy, by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge.

Being alone. What does that look like anyhow? Someone out in the crowd, please shout it out to me. It's like I'm seeing faces all the time. I see faces. I love the faces, moreso than the empty places without the faces. Strange, strange times as extroversion ignites. I remember being the incredibly shy one, being angry at my wordlessness, hoping one day I would speak, and speak well, and speak in a subject-verb perhaps adjective-direct object construct. (Yes, I diagrammed it too.) Mostly, I didn't want that fear of approaching someone else. So I fought it by forcing situations where words had to come out of my mouth. In front of others. I stuttered and spat, spat and stuttered. Those addressed wiped their faces. Shyness covered me with a wooly shame. Ugh, it itched. I got eczema from it. (Isn't eczema a cool word??)

But, it's true. If you practice, twenty years later, you become adept at going overboard. Tonight, a woman called to possibly set up a running date, and I blabbed on the phone to her for about 20 minutes. I don't even know her. Frightening. Do I chitterchatter erratically to the serial killer at my door? I'm thinking that he would have an interesting life to hear about.

Now, according to Wooldridge, it may be essential to backtalk, to return to the feelings and the mood of solitude because it contains essential poetic material, an attentiveness one cannot have while in the presence of others. "Everything's got to do with listening," she quotes WS Merwin. Didn't we just have this talk, Cindy and Jennifer? Yes, indeedy, I can get caught up in the contemplative beauty of the quiet. Thomas Merton, Paul Jones, Julian of Norwich, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Thoreau, Me ... it's all elemental and good.

But then ... I've got a coffee planned on Tuesday with a friend who must tell me all details about his new girlfriend and a ski trip. In turn, I will tell him about baby calves on the farm. And, I've got running planned with mothers who breathe out stories regarding their children or faith. Or, there's a group gathering soon to talk together (for goodness sake) about poetry. Then, there are e-mails to old friends. And, of course, my son rarely ever stops talking which he got from his father who tells me the meat of all of his exceedingly exciting business calls with engineer types. Therefore, I rebel from Wooldridge and poetically assert that society can also be the signifyer of messages and that ~~

Words, words, words pile, pile, pile
like leaves raked to a glorious
glorious glorious
of breath.

Perhaps that little song could have been better had I walked in the desert alone for a while? Yes, most likely. :) I'm just, however, surrendering to my noisy season of life, knowing quite well that in a year, or two, or twenty, silence might surround me once more. For better or for worse.

No comments: