That's the luxuriantly tressed young Falstaff of Santa Cruz on the left, watching the cardboard tube caber toss outside the de Young Museum last Saturday.
Today I worked at middle school with 7th graders.
A fellow poet wondered from my blog if it is written for middle school students which certainly has me wondering about my level of deep thought and fine prose. I spent years trying to sound like a 19th century don while feeling like an imposter. These days the inner and outer are more accurately aligned, which means I dazzle far less often with my amazing mispronounced and hazzily grasped vocabulary words, am more adept at writing what I'm truly feeling and thinking, and am more frequently imagined to write for the young young adult. I'm having a fine inside the cranium fight about how flip to be about this.
I will quote instead David Bayles & Ted Orland, from their book ART & FEAR: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking:
A BRIEF DIGRESSION
IN WHICH THE AUTHORS ATTEMPT
TO ANSWER (OR DEFLECT) AN OBJECTION:
Q: Aren't you ignoring the fact that apeople differ radically in their abilities?
Q: But if people differ, and each of them were to make their best work, would not the more gifted make better work, and the less gifted, less?
A: Yes. And wouldn't that be a nice planet to live on?
Talent is a snare and a delusion. In the end, the practical questions about talent come down to these:
Who cares? Who would know? and What difference would it make? and the practical answers are: Nobody, Nobody, and None.
So there we are, I am, anyway. I'm about to print out some poems, always a heady and scary moment particularly in the wake of a rejection letter. I was going to quote the one I received yesterday from The St. Lewis Poetry Center's Best Poem Contest, but I seem to have bitten it into tiny jagged pieces and burned it, which may explain the rug's absence. The form letter said what many say these last months, that the group in question (anthology, magazine, small press) has received an astonishingly large number of superior submissions it has taken rubber gloved professionals months to mull over, to leave me and my fellow rejected the comforting and simultaneously disconcerting sense that we are good, possibly very very good writers, and, with chins high and checkbooks open we may yet or yet again enter the holy citadel/Charon's vessel. Refer to book quote (page 28, A&F) for clarification.
And I saw my sister, James Turrell's "Three Gems" the view from 9th floor viewing deck at the de Young Museum, and kilted young men hurling a cardboard cylinder all in the same weekend. Amen.
I've revised my Sapphics poem for her, and am in love with it again. I'll read it Friday night at The Phinney Ridge Community Center. Fabulous poet, violinist and mentor Rebecca Loudon will introduce the fabtabulous eight of us.