Westerberg, one of only two people younger than me who get an Egoslavian birthday post, is fifty-five today. Yes, I pulled down the poem What I Don't Write About yesterday. I don't remember having pulled a post before for reasons other than having accidentally published a draft, and I haven't done that but once or twice in recent years (when beginning each new post I first go to Schedule and change the date to a year hence so if I plunge publish rather than save I've a year to fix). Right before I pulled the poem I got an email from a digital friend and a chain started (presented here, redacted for the same privacy issues that led to the poem being pulled):
Him: Thanks again for all the times you've linked to my silly blog. I confess I'm reaching the burned out point rapidly. How many times can one argh?! I try to keep up with stuff but the news media is so bad it makes my eyes cross. I'm concentrating on my music these days, it's much more fun.
Me: Oh, you're welcome. I use other's argh to keep mine alive. Don't know if you've seen today's post, but I've a dose of impending damnlessness too. The things I want to write about (or rather, I do write about but won't ever publish) are starting to dominate. I anagrammed them today, but fuck it.
Him: It's a funny thing how you meet people on the internet but all you really know about them is their internet presence. People actually have lives. Can I ask why you won't publish what you like to write? Are you into creative writing like Mr. Ioz?
Me: I actually pulled down the anagram poem: it's a matter of respecting the people I would write about (xxxxxx, for example, xxxxxxxxx). Etc. I admire people like Ioz who can imagine a system as large as a novel. It took me twenty years to realize I was a poet not a novelist and only ten more years to realize I am a shitty poet.
Him: I usually visit your site once a day, but I didn't get to see your anagram poem. I admire Ioz as well, he and a few others changed my outlook on things. But I'm glad he decided to finish his book. Sometimes I think art is the only worthwhile pursuit for humans. My mom and brother don't understand my views on politics and that sort of thing. I used to consider myself a liberal, now it just makes me wince to think of it. I've become much more radicalized than I was in my youth. I'll bet your poetry is better than you say. Not that I'm an expert on poetry or anything. I was going to be the next Charlie Parker but that never happened. That doesn't make me wish I never pursued music, far from it, and now I don't worry about stuff like if there are people better at it than me. That's just a waste of time. I got to the point where I was playing in bands as well as teaching, I think music is the best part of my life. The fun is in the journey, I'm better than some and some are better at it than me, the cool part is being as impeccable as you can in your art form, that's where the satisfaction is I think. Part of that is being able to be critical of your own stuff, which I can see that you are, which is why I think you're better than you let on. I had students who thought they knew everything and wanted to be coddled, they were always my worst students and a pain in the ass. If you have no humility you never get anywhere. If you don't put your poetry up on your site, how can I link to it?
Me: VNTY'SJNKYRD has stuff going back years. My ambition is weird. I actually think of BLCKDGRD as one long, never-ending poem. If it was never my intention to be too black licorice (and people do tend to strongly like or dislike BLCKDGRD) I did intend for it to be it's own brand. I will always be nobody - I say this without bitterness or pride - because I really do it solely to make me happy.
I come from a family of teachers - both parents, my wife, my favorite aunts and uncles are teachers - so I think I know what you speak of re: students (and I work at Illhoptay University Library with a huge collection of self-entitled students): my father has always said if you get three out of a hundred students engaged and interactive with you as a teacher that's at least one more than most teachers.
The conversation may - I hope it does - continue though I'll end it here for here. This posted as a year end bleggalgaze. The date is arbitrary, the intent is not. I am disappointed in myself for having pulled the poem while simultaneously certain I was right to do so. That it was written in anagrams doesn't mean it couldn't be deciphered. That I liked the poem, and liked placing it on the image I chose, doesn't make writing it in code and posting it any braver than not posting it at all. And then there is the related matter of VNTY'SJNKYRD, why do I need a second joint? My fuck-it-ness needs reexamination. I mean more than usual. As well as my why-the-fuck-ness. I know part of that - see/listen to this Gabriel song - this one too. Which is to say I hope to write both more autobiographically than before while simultaneously opening up huge new swathes of what I write about that I don't post here, the latter hopefully making the former better. So yes, more bleggalgazing - black licorice that it is - seems inevitable. As always, thanks for reading, thanks for playing, and if you are Kinding me and me not you please let me know.