I spent captured bits and pieces of my weekend working on two poems that will eventually be part of a collection inspired by platitudes, celebrations and other escapes. I would like to think I put the finishing touches on a poem called “Only the Brave Deserve the Fair,” a poem inspired by such platitudes such as “you deserve more,” “you deserve the best,” “you deserve to be happy,” etc. The duplicity of such platitudes has haunted me for several months, as it is my experience those are the words said or penned just prior to or just after profound disappointment. It’s rather comical when I think that I never seem to get to that peaceful place with this poem, that place that tells me that I have reached the finish line. How dare a poem be so undeserving! I also started a new poem inspired by idioms, proverbs, and phrases from around the world under the working title of “Eggs and Vows.” What colorful images come to mind as I read the various translations and grasp the social mores and cultural norms behind these idioms. The poem is written to work at face value without the benefit of a lexicon or decoder ring, yet there is a deep and secondary meaning if you are curious to break the code. Think Mata Hari meets World War II code-poet Leo Marks. If you love language and a twist on a phrase, then you probably would love the book I’m Not Hanging Noodles on My Ears by Jag Bhalla which was a partial inspiration for my latest work. So far my platitude, etc. collection has grown to around 22 poems. I’ve shared a few poems on this blog and some have yet to see the light of day. I am at a loss of where I go from here? Do I just keep writing, do I self-publish, do I look for a publisher, and does the fact that I have shared content on my blog make them “already published” works ruling them ineligible for some outlets? So many questions, so few answers – no wonder I gravitate to poetry as a genre.
I am usually such a decisive and risk-taking individual, but when it comes to poetry I find myself disoriented, swirling in an unfamiliar place of vulnerability and uncertainty. I was asked to take a Meyers-Briggs test today by one of my graduate students as part of her research on the profile of different leadership styles. I’ve done these tests several times in my career and I have always scored in the category that represents 2% of the population, endearingly referred to as the “Mastermind.” Today, I was surprised that all these years later, I have moved into another rare category representing 3% of the population, referred to as the “Counselor.” Basically, I have moved from a thinker to a feeler. Have I really changed that much, or does age allow one to be much more honest in answering the questions of who he/she is? Perhaps both are true. When I read the descriptions of the two profiles, the thinker is my “career” profile – the smart one that sees the solution before most. Yet, my honest profile would be that of the feeler, emotionally driven and profoundly guided by the greater good, personal integrity, and imagination; the type of leader that would be happy to stay behind the scenes if it was an option. Just as people can easily deactivate things like their Facebook account, sometimes I wish it were only that simple when it comes to the feeler part of my personality. As part of my effort to focus on hope rather than despair, I’ve been trying my own “deactivation” method that focuses on breathing and visualization to keep one’s stress level at bay and prevent me from leading with the heart in an environment that demands the head. All this deep belly breathing is supposed to bring a sense of peace and comfort. I’m chagrined to say that I’ve resorted to practicing the deep breathing exercises multiple times a day and at least I can say I am not oxygen-deprived. Perhaps this light-headed dizziness is what happiness is supposed to feel like? Honestly, I think I’m confusing hyperventilation with giddiness. And here is the conundrum: when I am a thinker I rarely find the inspiration to write and when I am the feeler I have plenty of inspiration but often get buried in the intensity of it all. So far, all of this breathing has at least offered some modicum of distraction. Since I am looking for the good, I'll pretend that distraction is a good thing. And I'll also believe that a distracted poet is better than no poet at all.
© Kelly Tweeddale 2013