The Road Not Travelled
I’ve learned with age “never to say never”. But this road (far) less travelled has reached its end. The last posting was February 25, 2015. And it is now April 30, 2015. Over two months without a post, and what have I been doing?
Well, besides all of the backwash of life, I’ve been writing poems. They seem to fit in the little crevices life allows. It takes only a few moments to scratch down a phrase and stuff it a pocket. Then, when the safe harbor of a few free hours is reached, poetry assembly can take place. There is a certain enjoyment that a good poem contains that a blog post doesn’t. I can’t say I’ve sat down and read over my past blog posts at all. (Excepting those concerning my son.) However, I do enjoy mulling over a poem I’ve written and liked enough to store. In fact, I pour over them fondly now and then. And doing so – especially, if I’m down in the dumps – makes me feel better. I’m reminded of the New Yorker cartoon where the artist is settled back with his bowl of popcorn as if to watch the TV for the evening – but instead of a TV, it’s his painting that he is enjoying. That’s how it is with a poem for me. They are a bit of my life I continue to enjoy.
Checking back, this blog was begun March 9, 2010 with the caption “Hello world!” That’s a pretty good summation of the joy and trepidation every blogger has felt setting out, I would guess. Here is this whole world beckoning, without an intermediary to be seen. No gatekeepers. No editors. No business or financial razor wire to cut through. No deadlines. No restrictions. And I’m typing the first phrase of the rest of my life.
Ironically, rather than a blog releasing my views to the world, as I had anticipated – it has rather been like isolating myself on an island and sending a message off in a bottle, hoping that someone will discover it, and then respond. Both have been shown to be very problematic events.
Like most ‘ground-breaking’ endeavors we try, even if we succeed, we find that there are real reasons for the way tradition operated. Life is quite complex. We form opinions without full understanding. Older people maintain this is why they have become more conservative with age. Younger people maintain it’s because we’re old, and that we should be polite and move to the side. (I’m sorry. You will have to wait until I’m dead.)
Blogging has provided opportunities for a small number of the millions out there to make a name for themselves. And it has provided the opportunity for a much vaster number to write and post their thoughts and opinions. I’m all in favor. But, as for myself, I’ve found the fishing here to be quite poor after trying every bait imaginable. So, time to pull in the pole and flip a line into the water elsewhere.
The irony is of course, that I’ve decided in retrospect, it’s the traditional modes of publication which look to promise the best results. A traditional publishing model handles the business, the editing, the promotion and audience accrual and maintenance, that a blogger must handle all by themselves. You may select the audience you would like to reach by submitting to the journal or press which has that sort of reader. And you know that there is one there. You needn’t carry the whole enterprise; you’re no longer a one man band. Publishers have a stable of like minded writers to share in the heavy creative lifting. The only problem being to find the right publisher and to present yourself as such a good opportunity, they will bite.
The irony is that in hindsight the personal blogging, which at first looked to be so active, proved to be passive in actual practice. While what looked to be a quite passive tack, that is, submitting to various journals in hope of attracting their patronage – looks now to be the active pursuit. Here I am now, as the hunter, setting my traps for the best looking journals, following their habits and reading their scat. But, I don’t feel too bad about it. As Santayana said: “Even our world is a contradiction of what it is trying to be.”
So, as to the future, what I intend doing is the writing and publishing of poems through traditional journals and lines of acceptance. This blog has helped me formulate the belief that the poem and prose are quite differing ways of expressing oneself: the former quite relational, while the latter (prose) is quite hierarchical. The audience for hierarchy (power) has always been greatest. It’s clear, practical and focused. But I think poetry has too long allowed itself to be cowed and kept barefoot and pregnant, when it could have brought its particular brand of argument to the table and formulated a better, or at least complimentary vision to the great debates and questions of the times. These are the sorts of poems I intend to write – and to publish. In other words, I am taking the last step from the stepping stones my blog has created, to the other bank where I am now planting my feet.
Look for me on the horizon! – Carl Nelson / Schn00dles