Sunday, June 07, 2009

Reliving Learnings

Due to furniture arrival and subsequent rearrangement of the living room, I had the opportunity (read: "spousal mandate") this week to purge the contents of a cabinet in which I had stashed, apparently, the first 15 years of my writing hobby/career, dating back to college.

Oh my. Among the debris:
  • two stacks of the Stevens literary magazine as it was under my leadership. Not terrible, if one accepts a 20-year-old worldview. We completely ignored the guidance of our faculty advisor, and it shows.
  • my journals and some poem fragments from college through 3 years after. Who the heck was I?
  • journals I collected during my early years of research. Most of which were completely inappropriate for me, but which are great reads now.

Also in that cabinet were 15 years (give or take) of Writer's Digest which, if I pile all together, will contain 206 tips to spark your creativity, 93 ways to get an agent interested in your work, 178 tips for more believable characters, 909 "best websites for writers" (and a few priceless articles on "How To Use The World Wide Web"), as many as 4 feature articles on poetry, and all that. I remember why I stopped taking the magazine; I loved the columnists for their style and their other works (Nancy Kress, J. Michael Straczynski....), but one 4-year cycle of tips is plenty to pay for. And good heavens Bob Bly is prolific - you don't appreciate it until you leaf through a couple years of magazines in an afternoon.

Some wonderful discoveries in that cabinet - I didn't even recall I owned a copy of Kenneth Rexroth's Love Poems from the Japanese. I think I'll start there and give some of my rediscoveries a victory lap:

I shall hide myself

within the moon of the spring night
after I have dared to reveal
my love to you
-- Chino Masako

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