jornales

for a moment of joy or moments no one pays for, i give myself a ‘jornal’. this makes me rich. try it.

Robert Frost’s stone house in Shaftsbury, Vermont

 

He had bought this house to try his hand at farming but quite unsuccessfully, yet he kept it, visiting it intermittently while he taught in and around the state. The house is now a modest museum with sparse furniture but paneled with text, chronicling his life and poetry. It’s here in a room facing south of what is now a field of wild flowers that he wrote his most anthologized and quoted poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” one June morning following the winter he went horse riding. The room is dedicated to the poem, including how he wrote it—as a whole in one sweep—controversies regarding a comma, discussions and debates on what he meant by his most quoted stanza, as well as critics’ attempts at drawing out from him more than what he wrote. They agree on the ‘ulteriority’ of his poetry as he insisted there is no hidden meaning in his lines. He simply meant ‘it was getting late and I had to go home.’ But debates rage on…

 

“…The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

But I have promises to keep

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.”

As a lover of his poetry, having been introduced to ‘his woods’ in my youth in a faraway tropical country, visiting his house has meant, for me, finding fulfillment of a yet another vague dream.

Alegria Imperialtxt/Eleanor Angelespix

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September 17, 2012 Posted by | personal essay, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

rejection notes (sharing a personal essay with Sanjukta)

I’d like to share this personal essay I once wrote after receiving yet another rejection note; more had come and I expect nine out of ten submissions will keep coming. You would understand why it’s melodramatic. But that feeling has not swept me over since. When I do receive one these days, I simply put away the poem, haiku or tanka, rewrite and submit to another editor. A few of these have been accepted and published. Here’s the essay:

Why must rejection wring the mind so?

These words marching onto this blank screen leaked off a bottle of emotions I had dammed. It’s been a week ago since a rejection note sneaked into my inbox—a single line in bold letters; it’s not the first, but the latest of ten I have received so far. Reading the note then, I felt sand in my eyes, pain that brings on tears. First, they stung and then creeping down my cheeks, they felt cold as a blade. I could be bleeding, I thought, but not from an invisible cut on my cheeks–it must be in my shattered heart.

Why must words of rejection wring the mind so? I had long struggled to understand. No matter how cavalier I talk of my writing, rejection feels like death for me at times. It must be during those times when I wrote too hard and too long so much so that an illusion of perfection shrouded me and darkened that fragile cave—my heart—from which I always imagine I write.

From what do words get birthed anyway? This has always been a mystery to me akin to my search for God. But this I believe in, the universe came to be out of nothing because God so decreed it with words.

I am a being out of nothing. Hence, my words leap onto a screen from the void. Why then must rejection affect me so? I and what words I string together as soon as they slip into some kind of form should turn into objects like asteroids, for one, flinging through the universe. I, who worked on it and that which they have birthed into, should no longer bear any of me.

And yet, complex as is my tiny mind, it also bloats with greed and feels as if words it has put into shape become the universe. How dare then, does anyone reject them?

But in the end, I am grateful for each rejection; it shoves me back into place. The eye does not see the self in whole, only in parts; rejection really hurts only in part. As in every object in the universe, other parts of me that have been spared soon take over and begin to birth again.

November 25, 2011 Posted by | personal essay, poetry, reflection | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments