Monday, May 16, 2005

Last night, a friend reminded me of the wonders of Cesar Vallejo's poetry. I have been paging through his Complete Posthumous Poetry since then, and happened upon this poem, "Intensity and Height". It pretty much captures my writing life lately.

I want to write, but out comes foam,
I want to say so much and I freeze;
there is no spoken cipher which is not a sum,
there is no written pyramid, without a core.

I want to write, but I feel like a puma;
I want to laurel myself, but I stew in onions.
There is no spoken cough, which doesn't end in mist,
there is no god nor son of god, without unfolding.

Let's go, then, through this, and eat grass,
the flesh of sobbing, the fruit of groaning,
our melancholy soul preserved in jam.

Let's go! Let's go! I'm wounded;
let's go drink that already drunk,
let's go, raven, and fecundate your rook.

My writing has felt like foam, lately--insubstantial, inconsequential. I think I'm a bit gun shy right now. I remember when I sold my first book, I thought "Okay, I'm in." I didn't expect to become rich or famous, but I figured once I had a book out, it would be easy to sell my future books. This hasn't proven to be the case. I have had a couple of unsettling rejections lately, ones that make me question my own worth and future as a writer (even though I know they shouldn't), and it makes it hard for me to fully enter that wonderful juicy creative flow. I know I'll get back there, but right now, I feel somewhat dry.

We're taking a train up to Seattle on Wednesday, and I am hoping to get some good writing done on the 33 hour ride (although I'm looking forward to looking out the window and reading and playing Scrabble with the family and checking out the dining car, too). Maybe a sense of geographical spaciousness will inspire more creative spaciousness. I hope so. I'm ready for it. I'm ready to fecundate my rook.

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