Monday, August 11, 2008

Went to a reading last night.  Meant to go to one today but it was early, I woke up late, and the trains were fucked up as usual on the weekends.  Ended up going to a movie.

If someone tells you to write every day, don't believe them.  Why write if you know it's going to be complete fucking garbage?  Might as well do something useful like go to a movie.

Went to my favorite coffee place and wrote some garbage, did some reading.  It was raining.  There was a pretty girl there.  There were a couple of other girls talking in Swedish or something, who the hell knows.  If you think I'm going to tell you the name of this place, forget it.  It's really small.

Pretty much the only reason I write everything on this blog is to get people to like me.  It's getting pretty boring.  Poetry is stupid.

I haven't applied to any jobs in at least half a year.  I've been out of college four years.  I don't know what the fuck I'm supposed to do.  Starting to really regret ditching that Maurice Manning workshop halfway through the semester.  Sorry, Maurice.  I'm so stupid.  One time a student was concerned that a poem of mine was "insensitive" to widows (it was a somewhat primitive Google poem using the phrase "widow blames"—I thought I invented this technique; only years later did I learn about flarf), and Maurice said to her, "You don't have to be sensitive to anyone in a work of art."  That was pretty cool.

He was nice enough to let me audit his workshop—this was after I'd graduated, so I'd simply promised to do the work and show up even though there was no grade at stake.  But I got tired of critiquing other people's poems—I've always hated trying to talk about art like that; I'm just not smart enough or well-read enough—and I felt bad that I wasn't keeping my promise, so I just stopped going one day without telling him.  That was pretty stupid.  He's a good teacher.


  1. Poetry IS stupid. But I like your blog. Don't stop adding to it. :-)

  2. Writing everyday is how you practice as a writer. Practice should be your goal if you want to master art of any kind. Besides, you have to take the garbage out before you have a clean house. I use my blog as my wirting practice. There's a LOT of garbage there. I don't care who sees it. I don't give a crap about my readers, I don't even think of them unless I accidentally become their friends, something I try to avoid. If I don't write something on my blog, if I skip a day, you can bet I'm writing somewhere else. I practice my violin the same way. It's how artists survive. Practice everyday and then when the big moment comes, you'll be ready.

  3. I know it really is good advice. I was just in a bad mood. I just find it impossible to write when I'm really angry, so basically I just have to wait until it blows over. When I was 16 I would stab the pencil or pen into the paper until it was literally torn to shreds, and then I'd have to find some new paper, and I'd still be angry. People are different, but for me it's just better to chill out for a while rather than trash all my notebooks.

    I don't know if I want to master anything anyway. What I really need to do is read every day since I'm so slow at it that I've only read about 100-150 books in my life.

    I'm pretty bored with poetry. I honestly don't like most of what I read, much as I hate to admit it.

  4. When I said I don't like much of what I read, I wasn't talking about books, I was talking about stuff I read in all these online journals. There's a lot of good books.

  5. Really I've just been bored with it the last two days.

  6. i don't think poetry's stupid as much as it seems pointless

  7. I agree Ally :)

    I was just in a bad mood. I think it's out of my system now.

  8. I have to respectfully disagree with Rebecca; I don't think you can "practice" good writing, nor do I think that the music analogy works. One could liken writing to composing, but not playing an instrument. The correct analog for playing an instrument, I guess, would be copyediting, because playing and instrument (especially based on the virtuouso model) is basically becoming facile with the seamless transmission of the works of others. I suppose "practicing" giving readings would also be analogous. But the likening of writing to the practicing of an instrument doesn't quite hold unless you are improvising compositions every day. Which, I guess, is possible, but I don't think it is what you are referring to here.

    Do composers compose every day? Maybe, but I'm not sure. I'm not sure "composing every day" is an issue in the composing world. With apologies to Rebecca, whose work I enjoy, I think the whole writing every day thing is a product of the bourgeoise workshop culture and comes from a position of privilege with the aim of creating works that value craft above profundity--the kind of stuff we all see to much of and is probably one of the things that's dragging our art to the ground.

    I'm not necessarily a proponent of the whole Romantic coup de foudre flash of genius, either, but someplace between the two. I suppose I would say one should be thinking about writing every day, and then writing when the water of those fetal ideas breaks, as it were.

    But if writing every day is your bag, then go for it. But my advice to Matt would be don't worry about doing it every day.

  9. Thanks Mark. Despite my few and far-between bad moods, I usually don't have trouble writing every day--I mean, it's because I want to, I don't make myself do it the way I had to force myself to practice the saxophone, an utterly joyless activity for me. The point is, I only write when I want to, but "when I want to" happens to be almost every day. But I also worry about wearing myself out--eating too much ice cream and getting sick of myself. I think the reason I read so many poetry books at once--I've got dozens of them stacked around my chair--is that I don't want to think about myself too much, I want to be constantly surrounded by other "people", in the form of books, to keep me on my toes. (Which is probably another way of saying I want to be able to steal as many other ideas as I can since I don't have any of my own.)

  10. I don't think you can "practice" good writing

    Nor do I. I think I wrote practice writing period. Matt, there's a lot of crap poetry both online and in paper. Poetry is an extremely difficult art. It takes a lifetime to learn. Very little that I read appeals to me, but the poetry that does, can change me. No one said writing of any stripe was going to be easy as long as we went to school and got our MFA etc.

  11. I never did the mfa thing, for the record. Though I wish I had, just to make friends if nothing else.