Freedom and threadbare trousers


Photo credit: Nada Nesin

I feel incredibly lucky to have so many artistic and creatively engaged friends – there is something quite wonderful about finding a reason to grapple with problems which one could just as easily ignore – and treasures are often won, which are helpful, illuminating or inspiring for others.

But no matter what approach you take to it, and how much you love it – it is also serious work. When you strive to combine deep soul-stuff with the outside world of money, it’s hard not to get your heart stepped on sometimes (not least, by your very own blundering self!)  ;o)

I sometimes tell young creators, “I’ve failed as a cartoonist and a musician, and now I’m failing somewhat less, as a writer,” but always with a big smile on my face, my following points all being about the irreplaceable value of making your life your own, striving, and self-definition.

Of course I’ve worn innumerable other hats as well, techncian and educator, in particular, and I encourage trade and skills diversity in everyone – artists especially – nothing can add more to the aesthetic sensibility, than a hard-science discipline (it works or you’re wrong).

If I had to be pinned and typed, I suppose I would be of the ‘ecstatic’ variety. Still no art training at all (though infinite gratitude everywhere, for so much rich and useful inspiration offered), but now seasoned, productive and disciplined to an extent I would once have thought impossible.

I work to solve what seem to me important problems, in the hopes that others will also find my contribution helpful – an act of faith, imagining my audience in advance, by focusing on fine friends (including many of you) whose hearts I know are open, and minds nimble and curious.

Commissioning yourself is sort of a genius move, and sort of incredibly stupid. It makes me relentlessly productive, whether or not this output serves base utility, and it also sometimes makes me seriously doubt my fool’s path, even when I know the themes I am after are profound, and in every way worth pursuing.

Anyhow – in the last few days I wrote seven good new poems – about anger, about reconciliation of the factions, about resistance, about our mutual dance of accommodation for our aging frailties, about mortal struggle, about futility in a group of fools, and this last one – about how weird it is (in the modern world of commerce and indignation especially) to feel so poor and so rich at the very same time – an odd state of being which I know a lot of my art-chums will relate to.

As an ecstatic, it outright hurts me not to be able share all of the new poems with you – I stumbled into some very powerful content – and my instinct is always toward love and openness – but in order to flog them, I have to be able to offer first-rights, which means imposing tight discipline on the electronic side in the meantime. Landlord don’t take smiles!

Reading cycles on magazines for ‘unsolicited’ are slow indeed – half a year is typical – but I do have a number of beauties dancing through inboxes around the world, and more on their way, soon. With time, genius readers and fortune, I hope to be able to report a few have lovely new homes (and then reprint these works also as appropriate, with my reverted rights).

In the meantime – as an update, I will actually be reading through every single poem in my book “Night Song for Cigar-Box Banjo” one by one, on video (and posting) just as soon as I can find a good reading spot with decent light, reliable and controllable quiet, affable and lazy security guards, and with luck, a bit of tasty natural reverb. Stay-tuned! ;o)

Anyone happen to know the management at the CARLU?

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