On my quest to improve my writing and solve the puzzle about what’s missing in my poems, I’ve decided to give writing a break. But not altogether. I can’t help keeping a collection of symbols; phrases, snippets of thoughts, honest reflections and so on. So much so that now I have a lot of material to sift through and sort into some kind of order. Meanwhile, I’ve been reading and watching a lot of books and movies. Collecting my thoughts, I’ve also decided to move on from any other ideas I may have had about dance. Bellydance is evolving but do I really want to be part of that without studying the classics?
I know it seems like I’m jumping themes, but I’m not. You see, without studying up on writers, dancers, artists and so on, you may never have a point of reference to work from. It’s like not receiving guidance from a parent, friend or family member, and going at it alone. But in saying that, not relying too much on other works, and having the courage, confidence and discipline to be uniquely you, and pull away from the norm. Without knowing the rules you cannot break them, right? So in other words, to get a grip on what the critics are trying to convey, I must know what good writing looks like.
And so on my quest to find a writer just like me, a fellow member of Frankfurt Writer’s Group, referred me to a poet, W.H. Auden (1907-73).
He told me that this is one of his more famous works and that ‘it has a quality my poems possess — the use of ordinary words in new, daring combinations, which open up new ways of seeing.’ I like that.
Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.
Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon,
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy,
Universal love and hope;
While an abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermit’s carnal ecstasy.
On the stroke of midnight pass
Like vibrations of a bell,
And fashionable madmen raise
Their pedantic boring cry:
Every farthing of the cost,
All the dreaded cards foretell,
Shall be paid, but from this night
Not a whisper, not a thought,
Not a kiss nor look be lost.
Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of welcome show
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find the mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness find you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.
W.H. Auden (1907-73)
The dangers of reading too much is that if you’re like me in my teens, you could become put off, and feel that you could never write like that. And give up. It’s not a competition, and everyone’s different. That’s what makes writing intriguing. It’s like your signature, and finding your own voice is your greatest quest. I’d like some time away from reading and dive into writing. I feel tensions of moments leading up to this, which will release what has been inside me for the last few months.
Which brings me onto the next topic, Mentors with Caution. After hurt, one needs time to heal, and part of solving the puzzle on what is missing in my poems is trust. Can I trust myself to write truthfully, how is this possible if I can’t be sure what the truth is, and does it have to be true? There’s a danger in idolizing anything, I think that you may start to forget about your needs. You may even feel guilty when you serve yourself and then put a lot more energy into other people. You are then vulnerable to get stabbed in the back.
Givers are not always respected because ultimately they may be seen as takers. It’s that reverse psychology people who take advantage use to make you feel bad. So the givers stay low, behind the scenes. Which is why a writer, dancer, artist must break free of anyone who claws onto their gifts. It has happened to me a few times. Now, that I’ve broken free from that pattern I’m more cautious and won’t allow anyone in my life who will do that to me again. I have a dream job teaching music, with enough hours to relax and do other things. I’m appreciated and recognised for my work. I can decide slowly on how I’d like to spend my spare time and enjoy my peaceful creative work. Just for the sake of pure enjoyment.
And so, I apologise if I haven’t published anything new. My work is kept private for now. But I do look forward to publishing my next book soon.