Recently, as I was poring over a poem written last year that I hadn’t read since the first draft, I was surprised at how much my perception of the world and my writing style had evolved. It really let me know that this blogging experience has had a tremendous impact on me. On the other hand, the words “naked, exposed, unprotected and unsheltered” figured prominently in the first stanza, reminding me of the last poem I posted, which was writen a couple of weeks ago. I’ve heard some say that poets should revisit themes, even specific words and phrases, in their poems as many times as necessary, until they get it out of their systems.
So what does it mean to be naked, open, vulnerable? For me, starting from the outside in, I absorb what’s going on around me, which sometimes leads me to wonder if I’m lacking some sort of self-preservation gene. But I’m still here so I guess I’m doing ok. I don’t just want to know the superficial, I want to understand what makes people tick. I empathize–maybe too much–with other peoples joys and pain. For we writers, is that an occupational hazard?
As for who I am on the inside, I want to be the same person when I am alone as I am when everyone is looking. To me, that is the truest measure of inner peace. But in real time, is it remotely possible to reconcile those two realities, the inner life and the outward appearance, things like nose picking and masturbation aside? I’m talking about who we really are as individuals, our essence. I apply the same question to writing as a profession and an art: Are there certain aspects of our inner lives that should not be revealed? What about certain states of being, certain body parts, certain body fluids–what’s off limits?
In terms of recurring themes, I think that exploring my limits is the essence of this blog, the lessons I am trying to learn from writing it. No matter which topics I tackle–marriage, the economy, religion, poetry–I’m trying to expand the boundaries of what is said about these topics and how I say them.
My sister has only recently begun exploring this blog. Variously over the years, we’ve lived together, talked to each other on the phone every day, and confided with each other intimate details of our lives. She was very much aware of all of the events I have described in my posts. When I asked her what she thought after having read them, she said, “It’s as if I’m meeting you for the first time.” That floors me. I still can’t understand why she would feel that way except that maybe the difference is in the writing somehow, the honing in of thoughts feelings–the difference between the movie and the book, which loses something in translation?
© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2010.