I am this world’s dumbest dumbass. Slowest slowpoke. Densest stupid stone. Or to come from a more sympathetic angle, I was born with a genetic map that causes me to do everything backwards. Or a blindness to the obvious. Get an interest in a pursuit but having a hard time understanding. Way down the road realize I had it backwards. Now it causes this incredible Eureka moment wherein all things that made no sense or were confusing, suddenly make sense and there is finally an easy, calm, clarity.
On the downside, I look back at what was attempted and see how twisted and crippled it all is – or why they did not really fly. Or why a few flew a little bit but why those few who flew a little bit did it as much as that little bit did. This latest happened while fixing breakfast and thinking about how much self-deception I practice and coming to terms with a possibility that there is a better world in which to expend efforts than the world of words, and being okay with it – and why not – whatever works best and reduces hassles.
So I got to contemplating why a few things I’ve worked on caused a consistent reaction in me and why others did not have that kind of staying power; meaning, say something I wanted to be erotic, I read it now and it is not at all erotic, and why that is, what did I do or not do – or sometimes a passage makes me laugh aloud as hard today as it did when it was first written – and I want to know: I like this – after a hundred rereads I still like it – but this other I thought it was okay when I wrote it but now it makes me cringe.
Why does the one fly a few yards and why does the other (or these many others) barely get a motor cranked and when barely cranked still sickly sputter? So that was going on, and somewhere along the way I got to thinking about why something can be highly erotic without a mention of genital actions, whereas one could fill page after page of pussies and cocks and feel nothing? And I reflected on projects I’d worked on – for example, my wife might glance at a piece and ask if I’m back to trying erotica – because of seeing the word cock or pussy. I’ve not known how to reply to that.
But I do know how to reply now. The reader is the judge of what she reads. The writer may have an agenda in mind but a reader might see something different. The reader is the judge of what she reads. So next time I am asked – or if I am wondering – is it erotic? Is it funny? Is it poetic? Is it sad? Is it nail-biting? Is it mysterious? Is it suspenseful? Is it romantic? Is it surreal? Is it real? Is it… ? Is it…..? I only wish I’d known way back in the beginning to reply: you tell me. You read it and you decide.
The criteria are very simple. Is it erotic? I don’t know. You tell me. If you read it and feel that sweet swell of greatest pleasure, then it is erotic. If you read it and you do not feel that sweet swell of greatest pleasure, then it is not erotic. Is it funny? I don’t know. You tell me. If you read it and you laugh, then it’s funny. If you read it and you do not laugh, then it is not funny. Doesn’t matter what I intended to do. Well it does but it doesn’t. Is it erotic? Well when I wrote it or thought about it – or when I read it over again, I feel that swell of pleasure, so yes, to me it is erotic.Or: well there are words that some might consider explicit or obscene, but when I wrote it or thought it, I felt no swell of pleasure, so no, it is not erotic, to me; I however did chuckle a bit, so I feel it is slightly funny. But don’t let me be the final arbiter of how you the reader should feel. Is it shocking? I don’t know. You tell me. If you were shocked, then it is shocking. Is it weird? I don’t know. You tell me. If you feel weirder than you did when you read, then it is weird; if you don’t feel any weirder after than before, then, no, it isn’t weird – to you.
So I was on that train of thought and ended up returning to the central depot of questions. Why, when re-reading something I’m working on or worked on, does this or that make me laugh or cause that sweet swell of pleasure, but another does not do what I expected it would do? No chuckle, no sweet swell of pleasure. Suddenly the Eureka hit and the hit of Eureka made me see I am the world’s dumbest dumbass. The reason this exhibit worked and the other didn’t/doesn’t: because one made me care and the other did not make me care. So then I hopped on the supersonic and took a jet-ride through history – the Eureka fit. That’s why a few flew a little bit.
The problem: these were not consciously done so. They were accidents. So that’s what I’m up to lately. Bringing to the forefront an intentional method to create a reason for a reader to care – poems, stories – even all those worries become trivial, or an inversion of priorities. And then the question about it being erotic or not or funny or not or weird or not – all secondary. Now, as a poet-writer, my ultimate aim is to be able to do whatever I want within a work. That’s what I most love: the compositional angle, the experimentation; sounds of words, intrigue in creating a scene or sensation, people, motives, conflicts, the multitude of problems that come along requiring answers – I love all that stuff – I want to do or make such and such – hm, how can I do so? Meaning – much of that goes on in the innards.
But if I failed to make you care….