I have a golf swing I struggle mightily with. But once in a while I’ll loft a ball softly near a distant pin at the driving range, and someone watching will say to me, “you have a really nice swing.” I don’t like to look a gift horse in the mouth–but nice? What’s nice about it? I have a hundred things going on in my swing, six of which are useful and none repeatable. During my swing I think a thousand things, and a thousand different things from swing to swing. Which are the nice things? Nice on the range but not on the course? Nice today but not tomorrow? Nice with a six iron but not with a comma?
That’s what I hate about golf. Writing too.
Tonight my mind is trapped in a sound-proof room,
thought-proof also, even golf-proof.
Golf-proof: not to be driven from my mind
(requiring a putt at best).
Sound-proof, except for the tinnitus:
the two discordant notes ignorant of sound-proofing,
immune to atom bombs and rock and roll,
disrespectful of rest, faithless to comas,
resistant to poetry, and persistent to death
(though I hope not).
Thought-proof: now, certainly.
For two years I’ve been using my smart-phone for nearly all of my writing. Small thoughts, small screen–it’s been a good fit. My smart-phone’s easy accessibility also syncs well with my unpredictable and fragile trains of thought. And though some people might claim I sometimes write too much about too little, I appreciate how helpful this tiny format has been for learning to think and write more economically. Those people should be thanking my phone.
Until six months ago I could read my phone’s tiny text without glasses. But the strain of it has finally caught up with me, and everything has become blurry. I have strong bifocal glasses now, which help a little. I also now keep cheap reading glasses scattered around the house. But even while wearing strong glasses, my eyes become so strained after just thirty minutes of writing that they won’t focus on anything at all for another thirty minutes. On top of problems with focus, I’m also experiencing problems with double and quadruple vision. As a professional photographer, that is especially frustrating.
I have surrendered! Thanks to a generous cash gift from my wife, Tami, I’ve been able to order a small, inexpensive notebook computer to take the place, mostly, of my smart-phone. It will be interesting to see if the quality of my writing changes with an increased screen size. At least I won’t have to constantly retype what my thumbs are too fat to get right on my phones’s tiny virtual keyboard. Now I just need to learn to work with a Windows computer and integrate it into a Mac household. I may also need to sew eleven-inch pockets to the backs of all my pants.
Aren’t you all glad I’m not a proctologist?
At the urging of many people whom I trust, I have taken the step of submitting for publication many of my best poems. Most publications specify explicitly that all submitted work must never have been previously published–even online as part of a personal blog. However, what finished works I do post in this category do not comprise a ‘loser’ pile. They are here because they have qualities that make them best suited for this sort of personal, social networking. In fact, some of the poems posted here are among my favorites, and are works particularly well suite for supporting themes that recur throughout this site. Other poems are here because I didn’t understand these publication specifications until I had already posted work I would have otherwise chosen for submission. None the less, it seems inevitable that much of the work that I submit for publication will be politely rejected. (I am a bit worried that they all will be rejected.) Where those rejected works meet my needs on this site, I will post them.
I can’t escape accepting that posting the product of my thinking and imagination to such a public site implies a certain degree of vanity. I admit this in face of the fact that I own quite an introverted, thin-skinned personality. Please don’t let this get in the way of any urges you might have to post comments. Posting and publishing my work is just one step toward growing as a writer. Just as important is receiving constructive comments from readers. Rants and raves also have a useful place in the process. Your raves will offer me encouragement; and your rants may be useful for thickening my skin and helping to lead you toward resolving issues that I would otherwise not be able to assist you with.