Ryōkan’s shack

I apologize for the title of this post. This post has little to do with Ryōkan, or his shack. It has everything to do with ramblings from the dysfunctional [Ed.: perhaps “diseased” is more apropos] brain of a would-be writer.

I had a shower-revelation this morning. I have some of my more interesting revelations either in the shower, or as I am falling asleep. Very rarely, they occur when “talking things out” with someone — so rare as to almost not being worth mentioning.

Anyway, it was more of an unanswered question than a true revelation. Nor was it all that profound. But, as I was rinsing out the shampoo from my hair, considering the future of writing for me (I think about writing probably more than I ought to), the thought came unbidden.

I am vacillating about how I feel about my recent single scene that I posted a few days ago. That angst and self-loathing with respect to my writing was on slow burn about the matter and, like usual, it came to a head — just later than I typically experience it. Final assessment: uncertainty about the draft piece being something I want to salvage or if I just want to chuck it into the rubbish heap like 95% of my other fiction I vomit forth. I still think the story has potential, but I’m not sure if I’m the one to make something out of it.

As I get older, I often have the thought that I’m more of the “ideas guy” when it comes to fiction. I can come up with all sorts of interesting situations and conflicts, but maybe shouldn’t be the one to put flesh on the skeletons.

But that’s not the revelation.

The revelation as I was considering how I should approach my writing was a question: Is poetry more suited to the hermit and recluse than prose?

For me, at least, I’ve often wondered if that might not be the truth of the matter. For those who are new here, or for longtime visitors who haven’t picked this up: I am just that. I am a hermit and a recluse. I honestly don’t feel comfortable out and about, I have few acquaintances, I have decreasing burning desire to dig into human nature as I grow older… My models and heroes are largely the type who go off into a corner by themselves, or would like to if they could. I’ve grown more introverted the further away I am from the age of 25.

I think prose writers really probably should be more interested in the function of socialization and interpersonal interactions than the kind of person I am. I think it may be essential to spinning a “ripping good yarn”.

However, I think poetry tends to work in the opposite direction. It’s rarely well-suited to outward-looking viewpoints, but better suited towards introspective subject matter. Which might explain why I feel less angsty about my poetry. I’m not saying it is particularly good poetry from the viewpoint of you, the reader, but I care less about external judgments when it comes to poetry.

I’d be interested in hearing what others think. If the revelation is total BS, I’m good with that. Even better — if it seems to hit the mark.

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