As Nora Ephron once wrote in the New York Times Book Review, “Fiction is chance to rework your life so that you give illusion of being intelligence at center of it.”
I’d settle for being either somewhat intelligent or at center of it – either one.
How ’bout you?
Simplicity and directness versus art/artifice.
A separate life, practicing our art?
Or integrated into everything we do?
Which part of my work would I most want “discovered”? Note, I didn’t say which part of me. How telling!
Apart from my journaling itself, it’s always hard for me to imagine writing that’s not intended for circulation, either among a small select circle or else a wide public. Anything else could be left as notes to myself. So I’m always surprised to hear otherwise, yet apparently there are many who practice the art purely for their own private pleasure.
On the other hand, I’ve also worked so hard, so long, to be invisible. To be among those sharply objective observers. The dispassionate yogi – even though ultimately, as I’m finding, passion is what counts, in life and in art. Read the Psalms, if you must, for divine confirmation.
For one thing, as I’m finally admitting, I’m finding how liberating and energizing the effort to candidly proclaim “I hate” x, y, or z can be. No more nice face requirement, but the full range of feeling, from noble to disgust.
Face it, there’s no visibility as a poet – and even novelists are surprisingly marginal these days.
So here it is, and there you are, doing whatever we do.
As you know, I’m fond of subways. So when one of my favorite lifeguards was telling me of her first semester away in the big city, I had to ask.
“Oh, no! I hate them!”
“Everybody’s stinky and pressed together,”
It’s not always like that. She must have been riding at rush hour.
But she continued, “And then one threw up on my shoes.”
I’m trying to remember if she said she then had to do the same.
I do know she hasn’t read my subways novel, though she did have some input into What’s Left.
I hate being labeled in a demographic targeted with mailings that ask questions like this:
Is it hearing loss, or just … EARWAX?
I can still use a Q-tip, thank you. Now will they please go away?