“Purity," the recent novel by Jonathan Franzen, is the topic of an interview with the author conducted by Teri Gross on NPR. Franzen revealed that he had to pass over a threshold in his writing. He had always written in a confessional style but had exhausted the “surface” material from his life. He had to dig deeper for his latest novel. This struck a chord in me. I feel I have arrived at a crossroad, unhappy with my recent poems, feeling they do not meet my own standards. I have yet to find a poem in my recent work that I feel is “great” and worthy of being shared on stage or in life. I feel called to something deeper but I am truly at a loss about how to get to it.
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I really do not know how to dig deeper, how to find my way beyond this plateau. I feel myself called to find a source, called to find someone or something that can build a bridge across the void. I have never felt that I am enough in myself as if I am perpetually dancing on the edge of inadequacy. New age gurus may say "tsk tsk" and strive to correct the error of my ways pointing this out as a mistake in thinking or a flaw in my character. But I cling to the truth of this revelation. I am not enough.
This sentiment is not always layered with negativity. Instead, it offers hope that I may find another piece to the puzzle. It drives me to go beyond where I have been. I see it as a truth that serves to remind me that I need the world for the health of my body, I need the love of others for the happiness of my heart, I need to be a part of something beyond me for the sake of my soul. This may be obvious to others, but it is an astonishing revelation to me. I will never complete myself in this life and this is, in fact, a blessing. So, I celebrate my incompletion. I revel in my inadequacy, not as a limitation, but as a doorway to something greater. I wonder who, or what, is waiting on the other side...
Photo, Prose, and Recital © Nick LeForce
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