It’s a little embarassing that my last post was “What makes you not write?” and I proceeded not to write for nearly two weeks. What can I say? For me, it is a constant battle between the short-term wants, and the long-term goals. And I am surely not perfect.
I don’t have much to say tonight, other than needing some kick to the bum to press on, so I’m going to share a draft of a poem that I wrote a few years back. It’s called “The Cobbler’s Son”.
One night, past eight, when he should have been sleeping
I turned off the TV and put my boy on my knee. The time had come
To tell him what I knew about the nature of the world.
I had chewed the thought for years
once I realized that the boy I had been,
who had formed the rise and fall of civilizations with pad and pen,
was a dormant memory.
At eight I built battles with plastic men,
lego bricks, starfleets and heroes and black-clad villains,
spinning poetry of their plots and wars.
By thirteen I wrote: an outlet for my fantasies.
And as the years passed I matured and so did they:
The forms they took smelted stronger tales
As my horizons grew.
Then at some point the fulcrum tipped. By eighteen the stories slowed.
By twenty-two they stopped. And by twenty-six
my only release was the occasional bleating word
of a two-page poem.
I lost the worlds.
The piqued amazement
and listless fantasy of a mind
that knows no limits.
It is little wonder:
Day in and day out our toils strip from us
the luxury of wallowing in dreams.
And what is left is quickly lost
amidst our bread and circuses.
And creativity—that splinter of self that slays wyrms, predicts futures,
and creates beauty and life from the mundane
grows dull and rounded. A casualty of consumption
and our daily, humdrum battles.
I stared at my son, and he stared to me
with absent-minded curiosity.
I ached to be him again. My throat dried.
He would not understand.
These are no child’s problems.
The loss was mine, not his.
At his age new worlds gather and disperse
like snowdrifts and thunderclouds.
I don’t think I like it much. It needs a lot of editing. There are some pretty foul-smelling cliches and other parts that are way too on the nose. But it is funny, looking back on things we’ve written, what issues we choose to address and what recurring themes we find in our lives.
That’s your homework, kids. Go find something you wrote a while back and read it. Make some notes about the lessons you’ve learned since then, and the ones you’re still learning. Let me know how it goes.