Saturday, August 27, 2011

Furnishing the New Place

Loyal readers, I'm migrating the content of this site to a new locale: Today's entry is (naturally) about the storm it its uniquely inspiring way. Do drop by!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

In which stuff I've been contemplating on long car rides comes bubbling out becuase it's been so frapping long since I logged in

{begin Mike Greenberg voice} and we're back and better than ever! {end Mike Greenberg voice}

A busy, good, frustrating, scary, wonderful month since last I checked in here. This is not a place where I discuss the business world, but no one associated with an American corporation can look at the events of the past month and not wonder a bit about the future. It is in times like this that we typically turn to our art for solace and encouragement, for a place to voice what we need to voice and hear what we need to hear. Which makes me a bit of a banana for having been separated from the art for a while.

Well, not really "separated". I haven't been separated from preparing on the new season of the Spoken Word Series in our new location. We've moved from Symposia Bookstore (where we spend 8 terrific years growing and thriving under the stewardship of the amazing folks there) to The Theater Company. We're giving up a location in which words literally surround you, and moving to one where performers can dial up the volume a bit. I've tried to reflect that a little in the choice of artists for the coming year, and as usual have tried to blend voices new to Hoboken with word artists who have visited us in the past. The first event will be Sunday October 2, and the whole season will be announced here and at The Theater Company in the coming weeks.

And not separated from my writing projects, per se, but rather in a different mode - a "research" mode, if you will. I've got two projects in the cooker right now - each focusing on heroes of mine in one way or another, and since I'm producing poems that actually are grounded in reality (in principle, anyway), I feel a responsibility to be aware of the truth. Note that I say "be aware of the truth", not "depict the truth faithfully"; I don't want to get caught in that same old trap of something needing to be true to matter to the reader, but neither do I care present a complete guess at the truth when written history is available to guide me.

And not separated from the muse, but rather giving her a chance to recharge. I've challenged her to keep up earlier in the summer, to sit with me while I experimented with solos on my accordion, or tried to prepare energizing and meaningful education experiences (not "training materials"), or to do the little writing I'd been doing. She needed a break. I spent almost an entire day last week just playing with my kids in the pool and eating my father-in-law's ridiculously good cooking. Those who do not consider this an essential part of the creative process can just kiss my beefsteak.

And not separated from poetry. From the recent arrival of Jeannine Gailey's terrific new book, to finally getting to Horoscopes from the Dead, to coming late to Elizabeth Bishop, I've been populating the mental database with new words. Ray Bradbury (and many others, I know) said many times that if you want to write you must read. Bradbury, though, was one of the few I recall saying you should read everything (poems, plays, novels, nonfiction...) to uncover metaphors outside your experience that can inform your own writing. I'm especially open to this idea, I guess, since my poems are informed so much by a primary source unexpected (in many opinions) to show up on poems.

But still, in a world preoccupied with output and emotion (heavy on the latter, if the NYSE and Iowa are any indication), I haven't produced a lot lately. Of either, I suppose. But we have those stages.

I just wonder in which order I'll start producing them again....