Thursday, May 18, 2023

Letting Our Poems Ascend from Our Brains

Today is the Feast Day of the Ascension, 40 days after Easter, 10 days before Pentecost. This feast day commemorates Jesus being taken up into Heaven.  I went searching through past posts, looking to see what I had written before.  This post has a poem, which sent me spiraling into a familiar despair:  look what I've written, oh how I loved it, I am so scared I will never write a poem again.

The beautiful thing about keeping a searchable blog or journal, either online or offline, is that I not only rediscover my past poems, but I also see how cyclical my despair is.  I came across a post from 2013 with this nugget:  

"I can't remember when I last wrote a poem, although I could easily look it up. It's probably not as long as I think.

But more importantly, I can't remember when I last felt like a poet. When did I last make interesting connections of unusual links that would make a good poem?"

It is good to remember that my brain has been making those links, even when I am not conscious of the process.  It is good to remember that I've felt like a failed poet before, often just before the times when I would go on to have creative bursts.

I shouldn't be surprised that I haven't written many poems lately.  I want to remember the writing that I have been doing:  blogging almost every day and doing a variety of writing tasks for the 6 graduate classes I've been taking--not 6 hours of graduate classes, but 6 classes.

I have a bit of a break this summer, so let me do some strategizing to reclaim my poet self, to let the poems in my brain make the ascension from my brain onto the page.

I'll close with something I wrote in 2014--it's as if my 2014 self knew what my 2023 self would need to hear (and it's probably something that 2031 Kristin will need too).

In reading the Gospel for today, I was struck by the latter part of Luke 24:9: "so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."

I love that language: clothed with power from on high--how would we behave as artists if we believed we had been clothed with power from on high?

That language may be too theological, too non-rational, too believing in unearthly powers. Even if we don't believe in a Supreme Being, how might we change our behavior if we truly believed we could tap into a larger power than our own? What would happen if we acted like we were already clothed with that power?

It's an interesting mind trick, but it can work wonders.

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