I’ve been reading a lot. A lot of bad fiction. Really bad fiction. It isn’t helping my writing muse. First of all, I think to myself, gee, if these people got published, what with pages of dross that merely name drops fashion designers and special shoes and coffee and egad they make it all seem so….IMPORTANT…, then surely to gods I should be able to get my stuff into print (though, to be fair, I never mention a name brand anything)(which may be the problem…).
And then an alternative thought passes over me like a chill Atlantic wave – which is, gadzooks, does the world need another half-arsed book tossed into it when trees are suffering from decimation and ebooks are proliferating like slime moulds (though I would say, far less interestingly)? Would it not be the kinder thing to the planet, I ask my cat, to spare others from my drivel?
He’s not forthcoming. Which is the problem with having the significant male in your life being a cat. Hard to get a good opinion out of him, though he does at this moment, appear bored with this discussion.
And then, like a divine gift, someone shares a Bukowski poem. Read in a too many whiskey and cigarettes voice, words stumbled over, it still soars with beauty. It’s like hearing the clear tone of a bell in the muddle of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring (my apologies to those who like Stravinsky), or hearing the first swirl of the saxophone in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.
Suddenly light peeks through again, past the consumerist books out there (I would burn the entire Shopaholic series, for example, if I wasn’t worried about the air pollution). Thank heavens for the Al Purdys and the Nancy Mitfords and the PD James and the Helen Humphreys and the Oliver Sacks and the Stephen Frys and the multitudes of fiction writers and poetry writers and non-fiction writers who put words together and create meaning – either a glimpse of beauty, or a vision of the world, or saying new and important and fascinating.
Not that they are any better for my muse, who shakes her weary head and says, you want to write like THAT? Dream on.
But I think I could, if I worked at it more. Listen to this next poem by Bukowski, about magic. I see that magic. I notice it every day. It’s what makes life worth living.
Now if only I could write it down….