What do I know about writer's block,
you may well ask -- I, so glib, with my
70,000 -- or is it now 80,000 -- poems,
as prolific as I am prochoicic and perhaps
Pro-Lifshin (though I have fatter lines and
little to say about obsessed Mothers, passions
strained taut like violin strings about to snap,
shattered glass, crisp sheets, the stroke of velvet
on cool, smooth thighs, self-absorbed lovers,
perfect hair -- nor do I end, usually,
with that noble discovery of the Moderns:
The Image. But doesn't Lyn do Lyn well,
again and again and a gain!).
How, you ask, could I be anything BUT prolific,
my poetry being just chat, after all. Anyone
can say "after all." "My four-year-old could do
as well -- if he could write, spell, punctuate and
construct endless, rambling, self-referent sentences."
Yes, often that's who writes my poetry -- four-year-old me.
"Oh yeah?" "Yeah!" Like every challenged four-year-old,
I wanna make something of it, yeah! But it took hard work
to remain four years old while learning to write, spell,
punctuate and construct endless, rambling, self-referent sentences.
Just try it yourself and see!
And yet, I do know writer's block. In 1971, I decided
that whatever was worth saying had been said,
so quit writing. A two-year blank page -- until I realized --
choose one or more of the following: There's always more
worth saying. Nothing's "worth saying", but isn't it fun
to say stuff? A thing worth saying is worth saying again.
Every robin sings the same song, but each
makes it his own. It's the singing, not the song.
Or no realization. I just decided, "Write!"
Note: Stanza one refers to one of our most prolific and most
published poets, Lyn Lifshin, but belies the variety of her poems,
though she is more inclined to short lines, images, tautness, etc.
than I am.