Friday: Like Math
“Language is metaphor. Prose comes much, much later, and is simply the conveyance of information. There’s nothing wrong with it. We use it, we need it. It’s very useful for our ordinary lives. But it’s very limited. They look to many people as the same, because they use the same words. But there are different dimensions there, different views of the use of language. With poetry, every time you say it to yourself, or you read it over again, it’s different. Every time you use a word in the way that it’s used in the poem, it’s different. And this is true through the whole history of the word, and the history of the word includes its etymology, its sources, its former uses. Nietzsche says something about how poetry is a mass of shared emotion. Language. It’s all there in language. And if you listen in poetry, you can begin to make it out” (W.S. Merwin).
I am trying to make Fridays my creative days again. When I was in graduate school I didn’t have classes on Fridays, so I would spend the morning at my computer, or at my paper journal, and write. I think most of the time I wrote using Livejournal. A classmate told me about it, and it was great. It was like an early Facebook or Myspace, only you had more of an opportunity to really get to know people (or their internet personas, or a combination thereof) because you had to write journal entries and not just post selfies of you and your dog eat ice cream. You had friends, and you had a friend’s page where you could read their entries, and you could make comments (so like an advanced message board). I met so many people through that platform, and I kept in touch with a lot of them for a long time. For the most part, everyone was very raw and open with their lives. We were chronicling live memoirs (I hate to use it, but… #nofilter? Why is that the hashtag? Isn’t it the pound sign?). That’s really where I developed my concept of the blog. And that is why I think I could never be told what to write about on a blog platform, especially for money. Of course, this could change.
Today’s Friday is Like Math because my husband is taking a Business Calculus class, one of two remaining classes for his degree. And we are not math people. So while I am swimming in an interview of poet/translator/literary deity W.S. Merwin, he is up to his elbows with symbols I can no longer translate. Our home is a parallel universe of heaven and hell. (I think Merwin would object to me comparing his being-hood to heaven, so it isn’t that, per se.) (I work a lot in binaries, by the way.) So I think my first poem of the new season will be called “Like Math.”
I’ve realized a lot of things these past few weeks, thanks in part to the total brain sleep I was in this summer. One of them is that if I am going to pursue a PhD, it needs to be in Creative Writing. It must be. Otherwise it will be incomplete. I’m done thinking about what I can do to make myself look like a better full-time college professor candidate. That’s called “kissing the proverbial ass.” I have my Masters degree experience in part to thank for this shift. My thesis advisor told a class once that if we were to go for a PhD, we must go because we want to go, not because it will guarantee some sort of job advancement. (Of course, there she stood as a tenure-track PhD prof…) So while the adage of going after what you want is true, so is sitting down and listening to where the current is taking you. And it’s taking me somewhere that goes beyond my Gen-X concept of climbing the corporate ladder. I’m not opposed to full-time: one school, one culture of students and coworkers, a stronger semblance of stability. But I also want to be happy. And happiness for me is in the process of evolving, as I suppose it always will be.