1/31/2021 5 Comments
The Poet's Petard
When I was 14 the world was still humming and burbling with romantic notions about my future:
Shakespearean actress, New York fashion model (I was skinny enough), ballet dancer, veterinarian (specializing in elephants), world traveler (possibly in a balloon?) architect, archaeologist, philosopher. . . .But meanwhile I kept making up (and writing down) my own versions stories about kids my age who had adventures in imaginary countries. And at about the same time --
I began collecting bits and pieces of other people's writings that intrigued me in some way -- lyrics from songs, lines from plays I was acting in, advertisements on billboards, lawn signs, comic books. I scotch-taped hundreds of these into loose-leaf notebooks which somehow survived through my late teens and into early adulthood until finally - -
I realized the decision about my romantic future had already been made for me: I was already exhibiting most of the weird behavior patterns -- I was a writer!
As you know, a huge part of being a writer is reading. Reading, memorizing, and if necessary copying stuff down by hand, balancing your notebook on your knee and pausing frequently to shake the cramp out of your writing hand. Not plagiarism. More like adding new rooms to your Treasure House of Ideas.
So, as an experiment, I offer you this opportunity to share from my rare, whimsical and carefully chosen hoard. Of --- what? Of fragments, segments of poems, comments from over the years, all of them at least trending towards literary, in the hope that you might paste some of them into your own Commonplace Book (physical or virtual). Each of them will be attributed. The ones I authored myself will simply say "me" afterwards. I'll post a new one roughly once a month.
If you feel the urge to respond to or to expand upon one or more of them, please do. At some point, if there's enough interest we could turn this into some sort of group conversation.
I'm calling it "The Poet's Petard," because of course there is a risk involved (heh heh).
So here goes the first one:
(quoted by Martha Grimes in her novel The Blue Last -- she says it was written on the wall of an Irish pub.)