I want to take a break and talk about ways of being as a poet. One of the things that gets me down from time to time is the negativity festering in any circle of creative people, poets, filmmakers, studio artists.
If you run a website, you get a lot of spam. Here is a piece of classic spam I received on Big Bang Poetry's blog before I added CAPTCHA to my commenting procedures.
I'm impressed, I must say. Actually rarely to I encounter a blog that is both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your notion is outstanding; the issue is something that not sufficient individuals are speaking intelligently about. I'm extremely happy that I stumbled across this in my search for some thing related to this. Michael Kores.
Wow, Michael Kores took the time to be so vague about my deep thoughts! Alas, spam disguised as false flattery is very bad energy. It's a waste of everyone's time (who buys shoes from a link on a blog comment?), and it's pandering to our endless hunger for compliments. And failing miserably to boot. So it's bad marketing and it's bad flattery. And it's a jerky thing to do. I wrote a poem about this spam for NaPoWriMo.
Last week, I finished the first draft to my next book of poems. And as I'm re-tooling and re-configuring, I'm also wondering (with some trepidation) where I can go for some good feedback. Commonly you turn to your trusted readers, your friends. I'm going to a "writing sequester" in a week and a half in Phoenix, Arizona. Two writer friends are coming from Los Angeles and my cousin is coming from Alaska so we can all meet, write and talk about our writing projects.
My husband and I have been discussing being friends with artists, getting encouragement for your work, giving encouragement to others and the psychology of the age we're living in. I'm going to talk more about this later. I have a theory about this age of artists and what our legacy will most likely be (stay tuned for that).
This all came up because my husband, Monsieur Bang Bang, the archaeologist, has been working as a historical consultant for a new television comedy western called Quick Draw. He spent years as a TV writer in LA and two of his best friends are television actors. He's been involved with successful projects of his own and also projects that didn't get picked up. He's been through the whole production process and the gamut of emotions that ensues. He also knows how hard it is to get anything made and on the air.
Not only did Quick Draw get picked up but it's first few episodes are very funny, testing on the show went great and the show is full of enthusiastic guest stars like Frangela, Tim Bagley and the band Eagles of Death Metal. So who knows how it will all turn out but you hope as you go along with any proejct, you'll get encouragement from your friends. It's interesting to me how often you're disappointed.
It seems to be human nature to secretly want your friends to fail. Ultimately, their success reflects on you. These feelings rob you of any potential enthusiasm. I've gone through this myself when former classmates succeed. I see my former classmates go through this, too. Monsieur Bang Bang reminds me that success can also bring to you a bad form of false flattery, people who want favors. That's like it's own kind of spam.
When I started this project of Big Bang Poetry, I decided I would channel one of Oprah's big lessons: consider your intent in everything you do. Are your intentions good or bad? This idea has clarified my entire approach to poetry, all my projects and even my relationships. I used to fret about how my relationships were going. I used to second guess all that I said or did. All this anxiety has disappeared for me because I constantly know what my intent is and I try to keep it positive. I may be misunderstood from time to time but I'm walking forward with a positive intent. And I'm at peace with that.
This means I'm not trashing schools of poetry, I'm trying not to make snide remarks about other artists (sometimes this is hard because snarkiness can be some bitchy fun), and I tap into my enthusiastic support for all my friends and fellow artists. Honestly, it is there; it's just buried under knee-jerk jealousy.
This, like any other way of being, takes practice. You'll start to notice when you support your friends with their projects, you'll get silence back from them on yours. Then you have to decide for yourself how to handle that. I do believe the cumulative amount of good intent you put out into the universe will come back to you. Negative people tend to get negative returns. It's classic karma.
And yes, bad things happen to good people. But I believe karma stretches over many lifetimes and you must do what you can with the life you've been given (thanks Gandalf).
Bottom line: if you want to be at peace with yourself as a creative person among other creative persons, practice generous feelings toward them. Sometimes I get a little bummed and wonder who I can share my success stories with (few as they are at the moment). I want encouragement from friendly artists and I think ultimately that's what want that from me. Finding each other is part of the whole process of being human.