Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Advice and My Own Work (Finally!)

Check out these awesome bookcases:








Billy Collins, my poetry idol and unwitting mentor, spoke once in a poem of his, 'Books', about building bookshelves while in college.

This struck me as a very spiritual thing for a writer to do, and I found myself stumped as to why I had not paused to consider The Bookshelf more often. In fact, I don't think I've ever heard any other writer speak lovingly of bookshelves, when they are in fact tremendously important to our line of work.

I proposed then, in a poem, taking up bookshelf-making as an exercise in meditation, patience, and love of your craft.

In an effort to include more of my own work on this site and debate my own worth against Paolini, here is that poem, free-styled in modern poetry. And if you're not a big poetry fan (I can't stand any formats or classic work; it's modern for me or not at all, and not experimental modern, just... honest) then consider it colorful prose with hyperbole:


Bookshelves

My advice to you, young writer
is this:

(As if I could say anything
not already coded into the sequence of your DNA.
But perhaps the instructions there are pleated in your milk tongue,
as familiar and distant as the brainwave patterns of childhood.
While you speak the bland, foreign language of mediocrity now,
let me translate what I have discovered of the wending script
into words whose scientific meanings you will understand,
and allude to the musical impressions
you once breathed and swam in,
swishing your embryonic tail
through the fluid of your deepest nature)

to build bookshelves–
rooms and hallways of bookshelves.
Prepare the cradles of your children;
the cabinets and displays of your colleagues;
the frames around which books shall live and die.

Take steps, like a midwife of catalysts,
to usher life from non-worlds into this.

Hammer out rectangles and shells
to clothe and house your creations.
Meditate on your existence as you do this,
and accept a chance of death before the souls of your words
stop speaking.



6 comments:

Anonymous said...

lol...something interesting to read. Perhaps I will stick around for a while longer.
Very good poem Savannah!
I like the phrase "Prepare the cradles of your children"
I like that it is specifically aimed at other writers, and the fact that it addresses an idea which most people just do not give thought to. Who would have imagined that bookshelves could inspire a good poem?

~Tally Marx
PS: Why is arguing over the internet retarded? It makes you think, and can even teach you some things.

Anonymous said...

So you're to speak about arguing over the internet, Savannah?Judging by your posts, that's what you do the most - maybe not in such an obvious way, but still arguing. It's called "having a different opinion", does it sound familiar?
Nice poem by the way, maybe you should become an architect.

- Vem

Thing in the Coat said...

Arguing? I was just pouncing on an opportunity to call someone an idiot in the sort of harsh words that would make baby Jesus weep, and then demonstrate in no uncertain terms how they're an idiot. You can't really do that in polite society, so all I'm left with is the Internet.

Also, never really noticed that with bookshelves. I like the actual adornment of bookshelves, filling up each slot of space until you have to get another case, but I can't stand the actual process of building them, unless you consider struggling with boards in 80 degree weather, stripped down to your knickers and sheened in sweat as you curse the Swedish in Lovecraftian tongues for forgetting a single screw, to be an effective meditation.

Anyway, I've got to go get fitted for my new padded helmet and meet with my state-appointed handler, so that I don't accidentally wander into traffic or insert shiny, metal things into power outlets. Durpa durp durrrr.

Jaden said...

Arguing over the internet is like fighting with your life jacket while sinking in quicksand. Not only does it not help you much, it does nothing except teach you that you didn't need the life jacket in the first place.

But you've been on 4chan, after all... I'm tempted to say something stupid so I can get in an argument with *you*! ;)

- Jay-shizzle (my new gangster name)

Anonymous said...

I know it's Just The Internet, but that jab at mentally disabled kids really get to me. Making your point is not worth posting something like that.

Thing in the Coat said...

I know it's Just The Internet, but that jab at mentally disabled kids really get to me. Making your point is not worth posting something like that.

I agree. Implying that the mentally disabled have reduced intellect is outrageous and uncouth, and I, for one, cannot abide it.

Furthermore, I also demand that any and all of the wheelchair-bound, paralyzed, deaf, mute, and blind be mentioned only in a solemn, respectful capacity that makes no reference to their inability to walk, move, hear, speak, and see, respectively. Because setting a disability out-of-bounds for normal conversation clearly lessens the tragedy of it.