Monday, May 24, 2010

Thoughts: Not exactly writer's block

I got an e-mail this weekend from one of my readers, asking if everything was OK, because there has been little new poetry over the past few weeks. The short answer is yes, I am fine, but I am suffering a mild case of writer's block.

Well, not block actually, more like overwhelmedness. Two of the non-writing, non-posting weeks were spent in Italy. Last week of course, I came back, but my mind and my heart is awhirl with thoughts and feelings I cannot quite grasp enough to even write of.

For better or worse, that is a pattern for me. I experience things and often have trouble putting words to it in the moment. I seem to have a need to process them for a time before I can deal with them well. This makes me useless in an argument - I just can't deal with the emotion and think at the same time it seems. Sort of like mental/emotionally not being able to chew gum and walk at the same time.

And that is where I have been the past few weeks. Italy and the trip there stirred all kinds of things in me, particularly the time in Venice, which sang to my spirit in a way I cannot yet, weeks later, fully quantify or explain. That is the glory of travel I think - it not just exposes you to new things, it changes you for experiencing them. Two weeks in a place gives you time to not just see sights, but to begin experiencing the pace of life, the feel of things, to soak the place into your mind and soul, to change as a result.

I am also looking at the fact that I have now been in Vermont a year. I know a year is an artificial marker of time - there is certainly nothing magical in it. Yet we humans seem to be wired to give some significance to time, and a year is a substantial time to be in a new place, particularly for someone like me who has lived in one place, Virginia, all his life.

Vermont is changing me. Relationally, creatively, spiritually, there are changes going on and again, as I look at them, they are more whirling around like vague spirits on All Hallows Eve than anything I can point to and talk to very well.

This will settle down. I am not fretting over it. I'm old enough to have experienced it before and know what's going on. It's a time to simply be still a while and let it settle down, like mud in a pond, it will settle and what's underneath will make itself clear in time.

And as it becomes clear, I will write. Writing poetry, for me, is part of the internal process. It is my beginning (only beginning) see the bottom of the pond as thing settle, my attempt to describe the shapes of things in the fog of life as they come closer.

So bear with me dear readers (and you are dear to me), and wait. The mud will settle. The fog will lift. And poetry will come.



PS - the picture is from the tomb of the unknown soldier, in the midst of Rome. You can click on it for a larger version.


FireLight said...

I have just realized that I left a comment for this post to your later one titled "Psalm 103." I know you understand...but your other readers probably wonder what I am babbling about....

Tom Atkins said...

LOL! No problem! Hope you are enjoying your time away.