On the craft of poetry, by Ta-Nehisi Coates in his novel Between the World and Me:
“…the craft of writing as the art of thinking. Poetry aims for an economy of truth–loose and useless words must be discarded, and I found that these loose and useless words were not separate from loose and useless thoughts. Poetry was not simply the transcription of notions–beautiful writing rarely is. I wanted to learn to write, which was ultimately, still, as my mother had taught me, a confrontation with my own innocence, my own rationalizations. Poetry was the processing of my thoughts until the slag of justification fell away and I was left with the cold steel truths of life.”
I’ve neglected to let myself and any readers out there know what my purpose is in this month of writing. I guess, selfishly, my goal in this challenge is to become a better writer. Sometimes I don’t follow through with anything unless there is a deadline or some kind of self-imposed time constraint like I have established currently with the month of January 2017 Writing Challenge.
On our drive to Cotopaxi yesterday I was listening to a podcast from Freakonomics Radio entitled “How to Become More Productive.” It seems pretty straightforward and hella New Years resolution oriented, but I have actually found these particular podcasts depicting the science of expertise, studied by Anders Ericsson, very interesting and pretty applicable to everyday life. What I picked up from this last podcast is something very simple. There has to be a goal in mind when you are trying to get good at something (this refers back to a previous podcast entitled “How to Become Great at Just About Everything“). This goal is très important and we all know this from the basics of life. Do everything with a purpose and things will be better for you.
En fin, my purpose in writing this month is related to the quote above by Mr. Coates, whose memoir I am currently reading: Between the World and Me. I like what he mentions about the “economy of truth” and how this is the essence of poetry. Sometimes I feel bad because I don’t say much or because my writing is a bit sparse at times, or because I go directly to the point or I don’t write with enough detail, etc., etc. But I am realizing that this is a blessing in disguise because by whittling down my truth, what remains is all that needs to be said–no justification needed.
And so it goes…my attempt at poetry (or practicing the economy of truth) ce soir:
Yoga (to join or to yoke)
Rain patters on the roof and is the only reason I feel good about sleeping in–sleeping long
My heart beats for no one but myself it seems
and I wonder when will be the next time my heart skips a beat?
Today I taught a yoga class in Spanish y me fue fatal
Mostly because I am used to teaching yoga with many anatomical terms
y no se me venía ningún término en castellano a la mente
So I just described where the body part was or I used my own body to demonstrate or I used the word in Sanskrit or a reverted to English.
But amidst all this “struggle” for what was right or accurate
the breath went on
And that’s the most important part anyway.
Y descubra que todo te irá bien,
(And discover that everything will be fine)
Y encontrarás a las personas que te querrán y que te necesitarán en el camino
(And you will find people that love you and that need you along the way)
Donde sea que estés.
(Wherever you find yourself).
And make yourself available to be available to others in whatever way you can.
Because opening up yourself to people’s wants and needs
Could be your purpose right now.