Some More things About Postcards That Just Wouldn’t Let Go
This was written before this website actually came together. I apologize for whatever redundancy you may find.
Originally I selected a dramatically appropriate website template with a wooden bookshelf on a wood wall, with nine old books on it. Three of the books were entitled Collection I, II and III, my poetry.
One book was to be called Postcards, being memories from the past we send to ourselves in moments of clarity, concise and nearly poetic in essence. This was intended to be a blog form in which I allowed myself a tight 4” x 6” postcard format on each of which to write complete vignettes, the flipsides being appropriate post card style images. It worried me that I was biting off more than I could chew, and it turns out that I was. The form was too severe and the images would take away from my purpose of telling stories that were uniquely mine. I am not a photographer and can’t draw, therefore I would be dependent on the images of others and the task of locating them among public domain sources. Where would I find them? Too time consuming. Too Facebook. It would dilute my prime objective: to publish my poetry.
I also wanted a more traditional Notebook with a fixed first page, the text following thereafter in book like order. At first its primary purpose was to have been annotation, commentary on some of the poems themselves, and also on poetry itself. That broadened once I confronted what else I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it. My need is, among other things, to originate. I realized I wanted to tell stories, some relating to my poetry and how I came to be a poet and also stories from my life, my experiences. I could include the idea of my postcards in this more open format and have the space to move in other realms. Writing in blog form would keep the home page freshened for the returning reader.
I withdrew from having both formats for several reasons: the people putting my website together for me were having too much of a problem trying to adapt a non-Word Press template to my ideal purposes and I had to choose a less ambitious theme. In a way this was a relief for I could now spend my time giving my poetry itself my fullest attention and less time trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I think I had been setting myself up to prove I could write 4” x 6” vignettes just to prove that I could. Even Aesop didn’t attempt that. If I wanted to compress emotion and experience into that small a cranny, then that’s what poetry itself is for. So I considered eliminating the Notebook form while entering its elements into the Postcards blog. Plop, plop fizz, fizz . . .(Present day note: this problem was resolved beautifully to my complete satisfaction.)
I am most comfortable writing as a poet. I don’t believe I am a good prose writer, whether of fiction or non-fiction, or an essayist, so Postcards would need the aspiration if not the inspiration of poetry for it to be worth reading. I’ve written a lot of things professionally and privately and, frankly, would recommend very few of them. I don’t think I could write a novel if my life depended on it.
As with poetry, brevity must be of the essence here, concise, with clarity of thought and freshness of feeling. A determined distance from cliché is required. My job is to tell stories not didactic fables. No instructions or advice. No wasted words. No redundancy. (Oops!) Simplicity, without my usual heavy handedness. My drafts can have all my customary flaws, but not my finished work. I’m an OCD rewriter. In fact, I don’t think I can read many of my poems without tweaking them. It’s a bit like panning for gold with always the possibility of coming across a nugget, but I need golden sand to flesh out the skeletons. Getting rid of the mud is my job, leaving the bare, naked poem. It is an act of love.
As for the life that I confront, I consider myself to be an observer and a describer rather than a complainant or any longer an active participant. Life is hard. I cannot see it through the rosy glasses of so many around me. I threw mine away. Fairly recently, I must say. I should have done it long ago. I am not a victim. And I am very much alive.
®Copyright 2015 Jack Scott. All rights reserved.