Rome and Paris are deeply embarrassing cities for artists and writers who have abandoned their craft. Before I became the manager of creative processes in the service of selling a secure future to the Jewish People, I was elbow deep in the creation itself, often simply in the service of the process.
In places where beauty and truth intersect purely for their own sake – places like the Sistine Chapel or the Villa Borghese or even a Parisian train station (!!) – one who writes or paints or sculpts but has not done it freely or deeply in a while feels like a dancer-turned-nun in Las Vegas. Bless me, Bernini, for I have sinned.
Now my blog of essays lies in an induced coma and the occasional poem or book outline finds its way to the notes section of my iPhone, but essentially I am these days more a father than a mother of new ideas: I seed them energetically, support them loyally, see them through rough patches and advocate for them… but they are gestated and tended to by others.
In Paris on business following Rome, I was working on crappy WiFi, searching for an old document. Sitting in the undying evening under an impossible kind of sky, I accidentally came across the below poem, which I wrote when I gave up on my 2001 novel manuscript ever being published. This poem told me that it is the motherhood of creation that scares me sans-merde (who can bear the pain, the work, the loss it entails?) and to which I must somehow return.
Can one be both father and mother? There is a room in the Villa Borghese that says yes.
Anyway – here’s the poem:
Like a childless woman
drawn, despite herself,
I visit bookstores for comfort,
and to mourn.
I do not seek out the sci-fi or the cookbooks -
not the Asian or the tall blonde children -
but that tiny, curly-haired brunette,
the literary novel,
like the one that should have been already born.
A sadistic trip to the E shelf, the missing volume
is by now…six years old.
My mind has been pronounced
by experts, and yet:
something mysterious does not
there is no weighing down of my mind
with a wriggling story
to birth alive,
Just a periodic essay, an article,
And editing: a barren midwife.
Advil and a pad
for the bleed.
I’m told: That’s life.
- SKE, Jan 2008
Get these posts via RSS or email.
Just posts, nothing spammy!