Monday, July 19, 2004

JULY 19, 2004 (MONDAY)
Identity Crisis
I hate thesis class. It’s making me think.
It’s making me think about my standards for writing poetry, and why I write the way I do and that perhaps it’s not really self-expression after all – or at least it’s not just self-expression. Transcendence from the physical to the ideal is all tied down to how I think about the world I live in, and the times I live in, and why the hell do we have to shell out money in order to breathe in pure oxygen?
In fact, in a literary environment where there are more women fictionists than poets, I end up asking whether my writing poetry is merely an accident: is it because I find the form easier for all these narratives that I want to tell (I want to call them stories, but that might be a misnomer) or is it Gandalf’s fault that he taught me learned the craft of poetry, never mind that I’ve been writing fiction for four years prior to senior year high school?
I mean, I suppose this is my equivalent of asking, “Who am I?” and feeling all Sophie’s World about it. Because, after all, much of my identity is tied up in my writing, and my writing is totally tied up with what I read and watch on TV and the movies I see and the music I listen to and the friends I’m with and the decisions I make – basically the way I live my life. So my brand of aesthetics is based on what I like and what I don’t like and what resonates in that secret, nameless part of me. (And the more I divide myself up, the more I end up feeling like a pie.)
So this is why I can’t hold on to a guy. ^_^ I’m too complicated even for my own good.
At any rate, I end up thinking, “How the hell do I measure the poems that I read and write? What are my distinctions of good and bad poetry? And how did it end this way?” Because in a sense, I am ultimately defined by what I write. It’s not to say that my poetry is me entirely; it’s just I am most myself, most comfortable in my skin, when I write – whether it’s poetry or prose or these blog entries – and in the end, this is what I’ll be leaving to the world. I mean, ten or twenty years after I die, it wouldn’t matter if I was kindhearted or a bitch from hell: my immortality will rest in whether my poems will survive, and whether these poems were good poems or bad ones. And isn’t that why one writes in the first place – to be remembered?
I mean, there will come a time when even this blog – which I love to pieces, which is the virtual home I’ve created for myself in cyberspace – will be taken down and all the words that I’ve written will simply dissipate into binary equations and eventually, the Sundial Girl will be forgotten. And perhaps, a hundred years from now, all my published works will be kindling, and Gabriela Lee the writer will simply vanish from the face of the earth. We’re not even sure if my grave will be tended and the words carved on the tombstone still readable.
And before that time comes, I’d like to have written than one great poem among all the good and bad poems that I’ve written, and even if that will be the only one that will be anthologized in major publications and studied in all high school English classes – then at least I know I’ve made my mark. And whether I’m in heaven or hell or in Sheol or some other form of the afterlife, it doesn’t really matter, but I know that if that happens, I’ll be smiling all the while.

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