Sunday, November 16, 2003

Maybe I am a true poet.
In last Thursday's WSJ, John Gross, in his review of the new R.F. Foster bio of Yeats , points out that "it was one of W. B. Yeats's deepest beliefs that a true poet always writes out of his personal life, but only after his experience has been transmuted into a myth." He quotes Yeats himself: "He [sic] is never the bundle of accident and inchoherence that sits down to breakfast; he [sic] has been reborn as an idea, something intended, complete."

In my "History" fotolog I may have been reborn into something "intended, complete, " while in real life I continue to struggle with myself as a "bundle of incoherence. " Several people (those perceptive enough to understand that what I am doing there is not just "stories") have commented that I seem to have worked out all my issues, (whatever issues they assume have emerged from my childhood) and have a sort of detachment from my past; that I can see my past almost objectively.

I know that this is not true, but wonder how it is, then, that I can produce these pieces of writing that give that impression. I can't reconcile the phrase "detachment" with my past. I still feel my heart jump for joy whenever we make a trip to Host, PA (where I was born and grew up till age 14), and I see the familiar geography, the trees, the stream, the fields and my home. My past is so a part of who I am, the idea of being detached from it scares me, as though I would lose a part of myself.

I've just realized, while writing this, that it isn't detachment but insight that allows me to to see things from different angles and perspectives, that guides me toward a cubist rendition of myself. Insight is what gives experience the qualities of a myth, and insight makes a person into an idea, something intended, complete.

I'll try to remember that when I sit down to breakfast tomorrow morning.

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