January 18, 2014 by musehick
Are you a selfish writer? Do you want to hold onto the meaning that you invested in the work yourself, and do you hate it when someone “gets it wrong”?
I am, to a degree – sometimes the misread feels like a gut punch and a failure, but then the fact that someone engaged and got anything out of it at all kind of tempers the reaction.
Sometimes it is the technique with which I construct the poem that gets, to me, most misinterpreted, and is most prone to the problem of another person’s idea of “what a piece of writing should be”.
With poetry the biggest mistakes people make are in the understanding of rhyming and not rhyming, and the choices involved in writing a poem in either of these ways. Rhyming is about more than just making words sound the same, it has certain connotations when used in certain contexts … sometimes I want to suggest a cohesion and parity of thought. If I start a poem rhyming and the rhyme breaks down it doesn’t mean that I lost steam or couldn’t pull it off … if I were that limited in my ability to use the tools at my disposal, being as aware as I am (which I feel is awareness at a fairly high functioning level), I hope I would have the good sense to steer clear of ever putting a thought down on paper.
To know how to study literature – to know how to read; to have a working knowledge of the mechanics of constructing a piece of work. Is all that necessary? Is it pretentious to bring that to the table when writing? Does the overly self-conscious use of the lessons learned from literature classes when crafting my own work render it somehow less full of soul? Does the lack of knowledge render said person’s reading invalid? It can be argued either way. It is a discussion that has been going on for a long time, and will probably keep rolling on for as long as their professionals and amateurs and different schools of thought.
I always feel like I have sat somewhere on the dividing line between the two – the punk intellectual who has the learning, but has the DIY culture yearning and drive. A pulp writer with an education. Those two mental selves can be uneasy bed fellows sometimes, and I think the urge to forge something from them makes for my most interesting work.
It is always a conversation. You can correct. You can keep your own counsel. You can handle it how you choose. The reader, even the hateful one who would burn your book, is in some degree sacred. The writer is a different kind of sacred. They form a kind of ourobouros, one to be celebrated.