Saturday, May 4, 2013

Gremlin on My Shoulder

I am a little in awe of people who love to read but don't have any drive to write.  Sometimes, I wish could inhabit their brains. What would it be like to simply love a book without trying to figure out how it (the book, poem, essay)  works, so I can write it (my version) better?

Really what I envy is the idea of being rid of my writer's ego.  My ego is a snarky little gremlin on my shoulder that rolls her eyes at bad writing, but is often terrified by the prospect of writing a single sentence.  What would it be like to silence my gremlin?  I'm sure a great deal of mental space would be recovered just from being relieved of the angst that often occurs when writers think  about writing, (as opposed to just sitting down to write). Maybe, if I wasn't a writer I would take out my sewing machine more often, start jogging, or take up yoga.

Mornings are my favorite time of day to write and read, and I can't imagine giving up those moments when my mind is calm and flexible and for a few minutes anything might be possible.    The best time of day to read or write poetry is in the mornings, before the mind settles into the necessities of the material world--errands, bills, work, life.  That's the time of day when the blank page is the least terrifying, and distractions are the least demanding.

Besides, I kind of like that gremlin hovering on my shoulder.  It's not Duende or Rilke's angels, and it's certainly not a muse. It grunts and growls, chews up drafts when it's frustrated, and purrs when it's being fed a big bowl of poetry.  The thing is, I'm fairly certain that with some discipline and compassion my beast can be tamed.


  1. Greetings from Georgia!
    I love how you put this, acknowledging that accepting the gremlin as part of the team is a far better strategy than fighting him/her. It's a good image to take away.


  2. Thank you Ela! I hope Georgia is warming you up:) Can't wait to hear about your adventures when you get home.