Writer’s Block

Inner Peace and Beauty graphic.

“Inner Peace and Beauty,” graphic by Estela

She said, “I’ve heard people say they have writer’s block. I don’t know what that is. I don’t have any trouble writing. I don’t even believe in writer’s block. There’s no such a thing.” That was twenty-nine years ago. I knew her ego was too big to prevent her from writing her simplistic shit. The sad truth is, there is an audience for simplistic shit. She is famous now.

Sometimes I get mad at the world for being cruelly unfair.

I just read Tao Lin’s latest book. I find him interesting, but he also annoys me. Seems rather full of himself. And what can be said of someone who worships a pseudo-guru, pseudo-shaman, pseudo-philosopher, who pushed the use of psychedelics. (I don’t care that you try them, use them, like them, love them. That’s your prerogative. Just don’t call it spirituality if you use them 24/7. And don’t push them. Pusherman. The pusher, man.) He’s robotic. Says he never felt awe until he took, I forget, LSD, or shrooms, or something. That is sad. (Robots don’t feel anything.) He should try psychotherapy, instead of psychotropics. IMO, he’s not “expanding his mind,” he’s warping it. IDK. It’s his prerogative, IG. IDGAF. Just don’t push ’em, man.

At first I found it inspiring to hear him say, “There’s no good art, or bad art.” But the truth is–he’s wrong. There is good art and bad art. But the question is: who gets to call it? If you enjoy it, do it. If you can sell it, sell it. If it’s good, it’s good. If it’s junk, it’s junk. Great works of art worth millions have been found at thrift shops and flea markets, or stored in a basement or garage, dusty and mildewed, sold for chump change. Junk has sold because people believed it was art. They liked it. Ever see Exit Through the Gift Shop? It’s all about what people believe.

Hell. I forget to stay positive. I forget. I slip into brooding and self-pity. I hate myself for it. Then I hate myself for hating myself. It’s a nasty spiral.

I recently read The Last Night of the Earth Poems, by Charles Bukowski. Some of the poems feel to me like rough drafts, as if he were reaching for something but couldn’t quite get there. And some are amazing. I love Dinosauria, We. The Last Night…Poems was first published in 1992, two years before Bukowski kicked it. DW is pure genius. Prophetic. What he writes about in that poem is in process. He saw it then, and more people are seeing it now. Not enough, I’m afraid. I just don’t think enough people get it. If they did, neither Trump nor Clinton would have been the choices in the last election. “The masses elevate fools into rich heroes.” (And I don’t know that there is anyone. They might be out there, but I am not aware of them. Bernie? Lizzie? IDK.) We do really live in a dystopia. If you don’t see it, you are lucky. Ignorance is bliss. Until the shit smacks you in the face.

Anyway, with some of these poems I was reading, I felt that Bukowski struggled to write. And then I come upon a poem where he says just that. He had always said writing was easy. But toward the end of his life, he struggled. He had writer’s block. “THE GREAT BUKOWSKI”  had writer’s block. He was ill. Diagnosed with leukemia. He writes about writing, writers, the process of it, the state of it, his impending death, literature, life, absurdities, reflects on his past, worries about his wife after he’s gone. He complains in one poem that all he does is write the same thing. He feels confident here, then slips, dips into self-doubt over there.

(I love Bukowski. The writer, not the man. Get that straight. And if you have to ask, “What’s the difference?” FO. I don’t have time for that shit. Another of my favorite poems is The Genius of the Crowd. ((This and Dinosauria, We are on YouTube. Check ’em out.)) His poem The Laughing Heart reminds me to keep going. I read it like a prayer.)

Writer’s block goes deep. It’s a psychological struggle. A narcissist like her wouldn’t know shit about that.

I wrote ten poems last month. I have a file I labeled “Post-Myles Poems.” I have never written more than one or two poems in a month. But I felt something open up in me after reading Eileen Myles. I finished one yesterday. That one took me over a month to finally “get there.” It started somewhere else, though. I meant for it to end up over there, but it ended up over here. I like it though. I like it very much. It’s called Pancakes.

I have given up on open mic. I attended one in particular for a good three years. But the fun fizzled. And it got to feeling like “promiscuity.” Not to mention that mediocrity prevails, and the amazing poets, real poets, are few and far between. Alone, writing or reading or drawing, or watching a favorite tv program (yay, it’s time for So You Think You Can Dance), which are few, or something on Netflix (often hardly much, but sometimes something), or something on PBS is more worth my time than listening to mind-numbing mediocrity. Gregory Corso rolls over in his grave and groans, “Where’s the blood?”

I was a featured reader last April with three other people. The bookstore reading curator was so impressed with us, she invited us to read at the October 2018 Litquake. I’m really looking forward to that.

Every writer, every artist, has her or his or their own journey. Don’t compare yourself to others. (I say this to myself.)

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About Poet Dressed In Black

Poet. Artist. Grammy of one, a granddaughter. Mom of three, son and two daughters, all grown. Individualist. Care-taker of Isabel, an agoraphobic, fear-aggressive, very nervous, delicate flower, Chihuahua mix.
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