Saturday, November 14, 2009

With regret, I have rewritten the "Autobiography" on the sidebar of this blog so that it makes me sound more like a careerist and less like a philosopher. Yesterday, as I was setting up the Milly Jourdain archive, I realized I needed to make the author of that commentary appear to be at least somewhat professionally qualified; and changing the profile on one blog changes it on all of them. Nonetheless, I feel bound to reiterate to you that neither my job title nor my publication record has much to do with the essential burden of art--and that itself is a stuck-up way of saying that what I really am is a middle-aged woman sitting at an elderly Formica kitchen table, drinking strong coffee with milk and waiting for the woodstove to light. Upstairs her husband is coughing. Down here the dog is scratching and the parakeet is biting the bars of his cage. This woman, bundled up in her white bathrobe, is not reading because the thought of opening a Henry James novel at 7:30 on a Saturday morning makes her want to go back to bed. She is not feeding her livestock because her boots are too cold to put on. She is not doing anything yet except to pay attention to herself not doing anything because writers are solipsists and her material is meager. More it's as if the words need to come out, and once they're on the page they turn into something, assume the shape of their own swimming life. Poetry as a pond full of tadpoles: today's arty metaphor. And with that she stops writing.

2 comments:

Angela said...

Is the life of the writer any different than anyone else's life. On Veteran's Day I baked a cake for my neighbors, Mac and Emaline, both WW II vets. Mac was at Normandy and claims he survived because he is short and the bullets went over his head. That day he was suffering with another blockage to in his gut. We share this awful suffering, so we talked intestines, shit, raw behinds and drugs. Eventually he cheered up and told me a funny Army story. I went home and let myself cry while washing dishes and listening to the radio.

Dawn Potter said...

Oh, Ang. I have spent the evening talking to 12-year-old Paul about why shit jobs are the root of one's existence . . . packing daylily roots on top of the funny-looking nursery owners' washing machine and later dusting their bedroom and finding the never-anticipated KY jelly; repairing library paperbacks alongside the black Baptist minster who loved loved loved Sam Cooke. Life is crazy and nostalgia is weird. (P.S. I really didn't mention the KY jelly to Paul.)