What a gorgeous winter day yesterday was! I got out of my neighborhood yesterday and went walking out on Boylston. Sunshine. People. Shops. The Boston Public Library. Stimulation. I need to get my butt out of the house more often like that.
While chatting with a friend visiting Boston from Maine and her friend she’s staying with over lunch, I was thinking about a line from a poem I heard on NPR on Sunday.
“Ars Poetica #100: I Believe”
Poetry, I tell my students,
is idiosyncratic. Poetry
is where we are ourselves,
(though Sterling Brown said
“Every ‘I’ is a dramatic ‘I’”)
digging in the clam flats
for the shell that snaps,
emptying the proverbial pocketbook.
Poetry is what you find
in the dirt in the corner,
overhear on the bus, God
in the details, the only way
to get from here to there.
Poetry (and now my voice is rising)
is not all love, love, love,
and I’m sorry the dog died.
Poetry (here I hear myself loudest)
is the human voice,
and are we not of interest to each other?
While sitting there talking with Michelle and her friend, fascinated by the tales of their lives, our connections, similarities and differences, this line echoed in my head.
Are we not of interest to each other?
This, I believe is one of the driving forces behind the blogging movement. We are of interest to each other. Even in our most intimate relationships we only know one another to an extent. There is so much more in our hearts and minds than we could ever really share. And that which is hardest to share or to know is that which we most want to know.
I’ve been thinking about this sharing and people’s interest in one another a lot this past week, and inspired to greater philosophical heights on Sunday after hearing the poem, because I’ve been feeling a bit shy, thus the few days’ silence.
The hard thing about being interested in others and being of interest to others is making yourself vulnerable enough to get at what most matters.
And it’s not just blogging. It’s relationships. It’s the creative process.
I’m mulling it over.
** ** **
Link to Elizabeth Alexander at Poets.Org.
Elizabeth Alexander’s website.
The NPR show I heard her on.