Monday, June 2, 2008

What haunts you?

For most of us, there are personal memories and fears that haunt us, but sometimes there are also external stories that somehow get in through the crevices of our psyches and take up permanent residence. Writers and artists are so often voracious observers of their surroundings, cataloging news and events and stories and environments, sensitive more than others to nuances of pain and ironies of existence. As children we are often described as too sensitive, internalizing everything, unable to separate reality from imagination. As we grow older, we learn those boundaries, or we learn to pretend. We use our art to explain the world, or to be make something beautiful or meaningful. We can not get away from our own personal pasts, or from those other pasts, those horrors and heartbreaks and near-death experiences that may not have happened to us personally, but somehow seem almost as important as if they had.

There are a few of those in my head, stories I heard that I have internalized until they are my stories as well, even though I didn't live through them. They make their way into my poems quite often, or some of them do. A poem I've always meant to write started to take shape last night; right now it's a solid page of prose, but the beginnings of a poem are there. It's not a happy poem, but I'll post it when I get some sort of draft together.

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