I’ve been slow to post lately. I’m working on updating the visual part of the blog so it looks better. But I don’t really know what I’m doing so we all have to live with the stock photos for a while longer. If anyone’s good at this sort of thing, please let me know. I’d love some help. Hopefully, the actual blog content will outshine the photo of the little black and white dog’s bottom that keeps coming up.
I have so many ideas floating around today that it’s hard to focus. Each area of interest seems linked to at least three others, making it difficult to follow a clear thread and record any actual content. That last sentence is a mess. In other words, I have too many things I want to work on. Each story, poem or project connects with the others. I find myself diving into unlikely tangent pools. Kind of like tide pools but filled with internet sites and books. Or maybe a Venn diagram that keeps multiplying. Actually, I like the idea of a Venn diagram of a tide pool. There, I’ve just done it in this post. See what I mean about tangents? (Little Venn diagram example.)
For example, I want to write about the kind of long, vaguely philosophical, probably pretentious talks my friends and I used to have in college. We were in our 20′s hanging out in New Brunswick, Brooklyn and Manhattan. Right after college, most of us worked in restaurants or did low paying work in non-profits dealing with the arts. We all had plans. Some more ambiguous than others. We were all pushing against things from our childhood and trying in earnest to figure out who we were, what we thought. Late nights, drinking and hanging out. And always talking. Turning things over and over. We pulled on bits of thoughts like a knotted ball of yarn, hoping to tug just right so the whole thing would come untangled. Those times were both a luxury and a necessity. (Oh do I feel old. Read the book Just Kids by Patty Smith. Do you think she felt old while writing it?)
David Samuels wrote a wonderful piece for this month’s Harper’s magazine entitled, “Underachievers Please Try Harder: Indie Rock Unites on the English Coast.” The article reminds me of the spirit of those discussions. In brief, Samuels takes us through his weekend at the ATP weekend concert in Minehead. He talks about the 80′s and 90′s indie bands that perform with the kind of understanding and nostalgic appreciation only a true fan can muster up. Samuels is a really good writer and is clearly into his subject.
The concert included bands such as Belle and Sebastian, The Vaselines, The New Pornographers and Camera Obscura. Some of the saddest music around, according to Samuels. Fans and band members drift in and out of pubs. The weather is predictably grey and cold. You get the sense from Samuels’ piece that the whole weekend rolls out and along, time sort of suspended except for the memories shared over a bottle of Bushmills or a beer. Not wanting to grow up is a big theme.
This is where I jump in for a visit and revisit- remembering all those late night rambling conversations. The kind you’d almost have to schedule a month in advance now while working, being a parent, a spouse and/or at any point past college age. I pay to go to poetry workshops just for this kind of searching discussion on art. I have step children so I sometimes get my fix when we hang out.
One of my goals with this blog was to write about creativity, writing and art. How is this process of creating your work different once you become a parent? The short answer is that since I’ve had kids, I have much less time to write and I use that time a lot better. I have material cropping up from unexpected places. I love the tension that exists between working on a poem ( ie. mentally playing with images, trying to get down to the bones of the words and ideas, researching, drifting off into a shape or color) and rushing to make it to school on time to pick up the girls, wondering if anyone will notice that I’m wearing the same clothes as yesterday. I also really hate this sort of thing and wish everyone would just leave me alone.
When I go back to my college days, it feels as though there was nothing but time. I didn’t write a great novel or publish my poems. I didn’t really accomplish much in some ways. But writing, painting, any art form requires some amount of drift and time. Remembering to take this time is like the muscle memory of holding a stretch or hearing a long note played on a violin. We can conjure it up.
I went to YouTube and conjured up a song by Belle and Sebastian–one of Samuel’s favorite bands. Just to infuse a multimedia wrap up for this bounce around and keep the site current. Hope you like it. As always, comments/discussion are most appreciated!