Masks are everywhere these days... and not just because Halloween is just around the corner. Sometimes we don't even realize the masks that we've been wearing -- the patterns and themes and synchronicities that have been lurking behind the mask of random chance in our lives -- until someone else points them out to us. That's sort of what happened to me when, by sheer coincidence (or was it?), a curiously thematic bunch of my poems all were accepted for publication during the month of October.
I wonder what Jung would have to say about it, how for years now we have saturated the collective unconscious with stories of war, collusion and incest...
Are you okay?
I only ask because
your selections of late
have gone rather grim.
Not an ode to joy
not one kiss.
Petrarch had his Laura, a phoenix feather for his pen. Danté's blessed Beatrice sent him to hell and back again. Rilke's heart-sick panther. Burns' wee tim'rous beastie. None tremble with the thrill I feel whenever you retweet me.
I am writing you this poem the way a gazelle must grow ever sleeker and quicker to escape the indelicate jaws of the lion.
Why is everything I try to do coming out stilted and slow today? I blame you. The general, faceless you. The you who keeps telling me I need to be smaller, wittier, brief.
We might try to follow where the clown leads, but we cannot hope to pin him down. It is only when we stop insisting that the clown be just one thing that he is free to become the multiplicity of being that he really is.
I have a few principles that I try to embody in my work as a writer, and I take them very seriously. One of them is, as Gandhi said, to "be the change that I wish to see in the world." One change I wish to see in the world is an internet culture in which we rejoice in sharing the things we truly value most, the things that bring us the greatest joy and laughter, that stop us in our tracks with their beauty or poignant vulnerability or deep-rooted truth. I wish more people put as much energy into telling the world what they love and why, as they do complaining about what they dislike. So I try not to complain. When I am drowning in grief or writhing from injustice, I try to own up to it as best I can and turn it into something beautiful, something that has meaning. Or at least something funny. But sometimes it's hard. Really, really hard.
Usually Starbucks incorporates a wide variety of anti-Christian imagery onto their winter holiday-themed cups, but this year the Seattle coffee company has completely capitulated to the growing pressure from right-wing fundamentalist Christian groups to "put the Christ back in Yule" by creating a holiday cup design that not only rejects all the Pagan symbolism of this blessed time of year, but actively promotes a Christian worldview. Don't believe me? Check out this breakdown of Christian symbolism...
Between research and writing, there is a lacuna in which almost anything can happen. The hush is nearly unbearable. In my mental landscape, ideas rustle and nudge towards one another through the tall prairie grasses, their haunches twitching with tension, ready to flee. Eros is thick in the air. Ecology rubs up against ritual theory, playing with the hem of her skirt. Bruce Lincoln is making eyes at Lewis Hyde. The deer of my dreams raise their heads to listen hard for the hunter. The salmon of wisdom are working their way home. Any moment, I'm going to start writing. Any moment...