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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Struck by the Awesome Power of Melancholy

James Wright is a genius, and who ever says otherwise is itching for a fight. Presently, the reading of "The Selected Letters of James Wright" finds me in 1964 (all the letters from 1963 have been, unfortunately, lost). Wright is suffering from a tremendous depression, while at the same time putting out some of his best poetry ever! How this giant of a man is able to concentrate on the creative power of his own voice when only torturous thoughts about his past invade his peace is totally beyond me. But there he is, blessed Wright, with the soul of a Greek god, writing his heart out both in poems and letters. There are several letters to other people about Robert Bly that leave me wondering... did Wright really like Bly at all? At any rate, some of these letters are up for argument, and some of the things that Wright says about Bly to other people (for example, his hesitation at times to support Bly's journal "The Sixties), seem contradictory and two-faced. Never mind me... reading through some one's "selected letters" has a quality of voyeurism and one must not pass judgment while at it.

It is still happening to me, you know, that "writer feeling" I was talking about last week. I am going back to many things I read a long, long time ago about writing fiction... about how characters begin to do things on their own, about how Joseph Heller could think about his plot and work out problems while brushing his teeth... all those things that I previously considered "overly romantic and fake perceptions of the craft" are now happening to me seamlessly. I think (at least I am almost certain) that I solved a crisis moment in my novel while I was brushing my teeth this morning. So those things actually DO happen, and they have stopped being "over romanticized fakisms" of writers in general.

Other efforts are now brewing in the percolator... can't wait to get to them.

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At 1:02 PM, Blogger nietzschean-ghost said...

When you sit down and think about a problem, you usually find yourself just sitting and not thinking. I always find my best ideas come to me in the shower.


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