It’s that time of the week again; the time when I dig deep into my past week and sometimes yes, even my soul and publically confess something. Sometimes silly, sometimes trivial, sometimes profound, I just never seem to know until I’m done.
During the past week I dug out one of my old journals to find poem draft that is over 5 months old. It’s a draft that I’ve had on my mind off and on since I first scribbled it out in long hand. It’s been one my mind for two reasons. The first because I’ve felt it had the making of a powerful poem. When you have written something like that and yet are not finished with it you tend to think about it over and over in your head even if it is tucked away out of sight. Well, I do anyway and I suppose I can’t speak for others.
There is a second reason I’ve had it on my mind and yet at some distance. Each of us it seems write things at some point that others we know read and automatically think you are writing about yourself. Fiction writers write things all the time and people don’t particularly associate the story with the author in a biographical sense but dear God if a poet writes something people you know will automatically think you’ve just revealed something about yourself they never knew.
I confess that this second reason on occasion keeps me from doing my job as a writer in the purest way. There are things (though not many) that I tend to try to stay clear of. This self censorship is a detriment to any artist and I’m not happy that I have to admit I am at times guilty of it. Now the poem at issue this past week actually was not of a topic of my so called forbidden zone. Still as I’ve thought about it all these months I’ve considered that some may wonder about the poem and if it is autobiographical. The possibility of this has troubled me. All that said, I did tackle a rewrite of my draft and settled upon a final draft that I felt good enough to send out. All this to confess that this was a most difficult decision and the process of going through it was not easy. It also revisits in my mind how disappointed in myself I am that I am able to let such things dictate what I write and what remains unwritten.
I do believe all poems give up something of the poet. Though not always autobiographical I confess that I think we all have grains of ourselves in our work. That they may not tell stories that are our own story but they do uncover a little of the mask that all of us wear daily.
There… that’s my confession this week. May you have a week of crystal clarity.