"This writing that you do, that so thrills you, that so rocks and exhilarates you, as if you were dancing next to the band, is barely audible to anyone else." - Annie Dillard, The Writing Life
I wish I understood this all better because it is deeply true. I am transported by my own words so often. Nearly as often the stuff is complete crap no matter how passionate I was when I wrote. What I write is not genuine in some way, or too much of the moment, or too self involved, or not involved enough, and so on. Sometimes what I write passes my own muster. I look at it all the next day and easily see that so clearly. Where is that passion then? It has gone on to something new.
This process is so accurately described in the Buddhist description of suffering that I bow before Buddhism at least in this regard.
Now I have a platform and a global public if I can draw them in. I reach them through the images and UTubes I add to my posts mostly as they are googled but perhaps a few stay once they find me. My most conservative visitation counter gives me over 78,000 page hits since March of 2010. I know most people who read do not comment.
I once used a couple images of Trivial Pursuit, the question and answer game, in a post. That is by far and away the most touched on post I have produced (5000+ hits). It has registered more than twice the count of the post in second place and by tenth place my Trivial Pursuit post has been viewed five times as much. All ten places are held by posts with over a thousand hits. I am absolutely certain it is not my poetry that is so popular.
Still, I do have some fans, and not only local friends and family who have to like my stuff. What is weird to me is how many commentators actually like these words of mine. Perhaps it is just politeness, perhaps more than that. I have come to the conclusion that what's wrong here is my own rating. I have come to the conclusion that I do not really write to please myself even though I think I do. Thus while the passion that pushes me on is essential it is not the thing and I will never have the satisfaction of that passion for long. Not ever. The real miracle is that my passion does not subside for my knowing this. It is a miracle because without that passion I would not write. I know this is true because I lost it once before for decades and I did not write.
If I slashed myself
for real like I think, I would
bleed out, mess the rug
instead of writing
these words, naked as my soul
receding on paths
traced by dead comets
in God's dim outer courtyard
where angels don't go.
Some years ago my poetry took on a mythic flavor and I became a character in my own poems, a mage, "the man of the Northern Wall". This apellation is not completely fictional. My middle name is Noordwal, a Dutch term for north wall, though in current Dutch it mainly means north bank as in riverbank. I was told that an ancestor, a Portugese Jew escaping the Inquisition, settled in a small Dutch town and took this name from where he settled, near the north wall of the town. I have thought for a long time that -wal meant wall, think my mother told me that. A linguist might say that my usage is no longer common, is an older usage, but then the Inquisition happened in Portugal a few centuries ago, right around the time the Moors lost control of the Iberian Peninsula and the Jews lost the modest protection given them by Islam. Now I write as this mage, my poetry persona.