Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Contented Writer?

I was thinking about a distant cousin of mine who lives in Napa. This woman lives in the middle of a grape vineyard--a huge vineyard in the midst of hundreds of acres of grapes. But what impressed me wasn't just the scenery. It was, rather, that she seemed content. It occurred to me that I haven't met that many contented people, and I don't think I have ever met a contented writer. I keep wondering if it's even possible.

After all, I am always unhappy if I'm not writing. And when I am writing, I am not finished yet, and so I am wanting to write more and finish. But I never ever want to be finished because then I am not writing.

And there is always some doubt. What if I am only imagining that what I'm writing is really worth writing? And who can say what is worth, for what it's worth, and if worth is worth anything?


Peter Joseph Gloviczki said...

I'd like to think of myself as a contented writer, Nin. Even a happy one. :-) Poetry writing is an act of joy for me. Hope this helps!

amberbromer said...

wow. i understand.

btw, if you haven't seen the movies the prestige or the illusionist you should, considering your love for houdini. i thought of u as mark and i were watching the prestige tonight.

Nin Andrews said...

I've seen those moves, Amber, and yes, I love movies about illusionists.
And Peter, well, yes, there is joy in writing. I agree, but I never think of joy and contentment as the same thing. Joy has waves in it.

greg rappleye said...

I am content for about a day after I finish a poem.

Then I think I will never--can never--write another.

Rick Bursky said...

"A Contented Writer?" made me think of Merwin's poem, Berryman:
by W.S. Merwin

I will tell you what he told me
in the years just after the war
as we then called
the second world war

don't lose your arrogance yet he said
you can do that when you're older
lose it too soon and you may
merely replace it with vanity

just one time he suggested
changing the usual order
of the same words in a line of verse
why point out a thing twice

he suggested I pray to the Muse
get down on my knees and pray
right there in the corner and he
said he meant it literally

it was in the days before the beard
and the drink but he was deep
in tides of his own through which he sailed
chin sideways and head tilted like a tacking sloop

he was far older than the dates allowed for
much older than I was he was in his thirties
he snapped down his nose with an accent
I think he had affected in England

as for publishing he advised me
to paper my wall with rejection slips
his lips and the bones of his long fingers trembled
with the vehemence of his views about poetry

he said the great presence
that permitted everything and transmuted it
in poetry was passion
passion was genius and he praised movement and invention

I had hardly begun to read
I asked how can you ever be sure
that what you write is really
any good at all and he said you can't

you can't you can never be sure
you die without knowing
whether anything you wrote was any good
if you have to be sure don't write

Nin Andrews said...

That's great Rick. Thanks!