If you’ve lived long enough (like ahem, me), you’d have figured out that the world is actually a love story. That it is love that makes the world go round. So the purpose of creating art is to write a love story. But how does one do that, when the world is also very screwed up? Because human nature is. To err, is human, is it not? So take for instance, Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The characters have to overcome their pride, and prejudice, to be a better human being, to find true love. Corny but that’s how it works. Humans need to be chastened, to come to their senses.
And to come to their senses means to love. Love is the answer. But fight is the way. You’ve got to fight for it somehow. So write me that kind of love story. Appropos for the penultimate day of 2016, is it not?
Here we are, in the last week of 2016, and frankly it couldn’t be sooner. I hope you’re feeling all uplifted by the season, or if not something within the season will stir the quiet waters within. George Michael died, adding to the list of luminaries who’s left this world this year. For me his two most memorable songs were “Last Christmas” and “Careless Whisper”. Well, whaddayu know, it’s Christmas time so I guess we’ll be hearing a lot of “Last Christmas”. For the rest of us who continue on in this world, let’s hope 2017 won’t be such a bitch. For your prompt, write about the bitches you knew in 2016 or that was 2016, or something like that. Then yea, move on. Here’s another from George Michael.
This one I like:
Ya know, at some level, we’re all just surviving the holiday season. Is it a good enough reason for people to get together? I guess so. Christmas really got significant because of the kids. But they’re all kinda grown up now. So we decided to get rid of presents. Which was one big commercial trap, wasn’t it, and isn’t it still? It’s not really about presents, is it? Even if for a season it was, for the kids that is. I see them entering adulthood one by one now. That’s a good enough reason for celebrating Christmas, just to see how they’ve changed in a year. What a difference a year makes. It’s easy to be cynical about celebrating. But really the good enough reason is good enough for me. So I want you to write a Christmas story or a story with Christmas sentiments. It doesn’t have to be true. But it has to conjure up feelings that ring true.
This year’s Christmas feels different for me, maybe because of the change in rituals. I’ve not even put up a Christmas tree. But I love the season still. 2016 turned out to be kinda crappy. It’s disappointing on so many levels. Anyway it’s taught me to discern. No, did not have that gift and so had to learn the hard way. I’ve always mistaken rust for gold, is what I’m saying. But I’ve always measured things by a gold standard, and guess I always will. And one of the things I’ve learned is it’s ok to be on your own, to not look to others for validation. You are writing your own story. No one else’s opinion should matter. It’s between you and your God. So the prompt is to write a review in your poem, but it doesn’t have to be a long, hard review, just some wisdom you’ve gotten at the end of the year.
O guys, we live in a time of doom and gloom, doesn’t it feel like that to you? It’s Christmas time for Christ’s sake! Blame it all on Trump! His assemblage of a cast as preposterous and unfit as he is has put us all in a perilous, unstable spiral. China’s watching. Russia’s watching. The whole world is and no one has any idea what’s gonna happen next except that he’s going to manhandle it all. To not speak up now is to give up on the protection of humanity or something. You betcha, “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”–Patti Smith’s choice of song for Dylan’s inauguration as Nobel Laureate is so apt for our time. So do something–write a poem about how perilous it all feels right now, or about giving over to silent despair. Just do not shut the fuck up.
Wow so Dylan didn’t show up to receive his Nobel Prize but he wrote a speech. A humbling one. And Patti Smith sang her heart out, nervous and calm all at once. All the more moving it was that she had stumbled midway, don’t you think? So what’s literature? Something that speaks to the complexities of the wounded human heart I think. It shows the fair and foul in humanity. Its truths never easy. Usually cryptic. That which is untranslatable. That’s kind of like poetry. So yea, try to attempt to say something like that in your poem.
Has it been a while? Are you feeling Christmassy or still dark? Whatever it is, I wanna know the mood. We’re all moody creatures. Also swampy creatures. I actually googled to find out the hashtag, #draintheswamp. So here’s what it means. Ok, the mood you wanna summon is that of a swamp. Question: How do you drain the swamp when you ARE the swamp? As usual, truth is murkier than fiction. It could be fiction. So yea, maybe our job in life is to discern. What say you? Am I right or am I right?