sifting through the word bin

in 2009, an invitation was extended to participate in an online writing group called the undeniables.  the gig was: set up a wordpress site and write every day.  always, every day; share it with the group, hopefully have your work critiqued and be a part of something akin to an actual  writer’s group.  participate.  read what the group has to say.  make an effort, make art, make mistakes.  see what happens when you drag your words out of the closet and ask other eyes to tell you the truth, scratch the itch, yank off the scab.  see what comes up…

the invite came from a new correspondent, whom i had contacted while trying to find a mailing/contact address for an old acquaintance he had recent ties to.  after finding a compilation that this kid had edited that included the work of this old LA meat poet— who was inexplicably tied to me, an aging woman revisiting her venice beach memories.  curiosity brought us to each other’s online doorsteps once i made the initial inquiry to him as to how to reach the old poet…after all, the kid  had once included his work in a self-published poetry anthology and was in the process of creating his swan song manifesto on richmond and his work.   once this writer/performer realized that i had a parallel life with richmond on the streets of venice and ocean park, and had a connection to this little-known poet, he was curious.  after all, he was the guy who  had spent a young man’s creative lifetime  idolizing the meat poetry scene and richmond himself as the second coming of christ.  richmond was buk’s pal, after all.   his and there was big love in this pack of raw and witty, aspiring young men who worship at the booze-filled, misogynist’s  altar of bukowski.  as  we began chatting back and forth, he asked if i wanted to be involved along with him in this online writing group called  the undeniables.  i “applied”, they accepted and, so  the public baring of soul began.

writing groups are like book clubs, i guess.  its members seem to be comprised of like-minded folk sharing a love of the art of writing….or they share a mutual love of a particular genre of raw and truthful wordiness.  maybe they’re a group of friends and acquaintances who have a previous connection with one another through college classes, the love of the same writers, or maybe they are friends of a friend of a friend.   maybe they’ve found each other in other writing workshops, at work or at school.  someone decides it would be a good idea to gather and embark on this type of creative venture with each other.  but, there always  is a connection: maybe they met in coffee houses or at  poetry readings, writer’s conventions or workshops, or live in the same ‘hood.  maybe they met while driving across country to do readings when an opportunity was offered.  all these possibilities spark inclusion in this special club.  people with similar interests, backgrounds and demographics are invited to the writing table, while  the outsider is only given the keys to the gate if referred by a revered member….or deemed a teensy bit worthy because of who they know or have known in the past.

and so it began…

after two “sessions” of writing under the umbrella of the undeniables, my time in their world came to a self-imposed halt when the nastiness of bad blood came into play between myself and the aforementioned creative genius.  he couldn’t stop the bullshitting and i couldn’t shut up about it.  so, i backed out.  it was a bittersweet decision, yet it brought to me the realization that the feedback i had hoped for from this group had rarely come.  i was a virtual stranger, only given ‘cred’ by their friend md.  were any of these pan-asian writer kids out there paying attention, seeing any worthiness in these words plopped on the page?  or was i just delusional thinking that what was rolling around in my head and soul had any importance or could possibly hold anything relate-able  to another human out in this world….hmmm, the great question.  an old friend once said, “the only ones who really care about your by-line or the drivel that you spit out onto a page is your mother or a harried editor”…thanks for that, stewart.  and, since i have neither, i have to rely on strangers and friends to tell me the answer to the inevitable questions:  is it worth it?  who the hell am i doing this for besides myself and this fragile ego”?

the undeniables commitment to writing each day, every day was an unfamiliar discipline.  yet it got me writing again.  each day, every day, as instructed.  i realized that once the ball started rolling, the work tumbled out–some of it bloodied and premature, others sparked with moments of clarity and insight and punch; some of it drivel, fodder for the  trash bin.  yet, out it came, daily…as ritual, as practice…a fire that burned bright or smoldered in smoke and ash….an entity of its own, often as painful as childbirth, as cleansing as a nightime rain.

as i prepare to systematically dismantle or rearrange this wordpress site of mine , i cannot help but recognize and thank this cluster of kids and young adults from echo park and chinatown, the valley and the westside and all the small pockets of LA neighborhoods hidden in between, those who managed to start this crazy ball rolling.  whether they ever went into shadowdance with any interest of criticism, i’ll never know.  yet, tonight,  i read their works, see a familiar name or two  from the previous ‘sessions’  and have to smile at their continued drive and their efforts to perfect their craft together, amid aging and the responsibilities that life— years later— has brought to them.  constant as the night, their notebooks are filled, chapbooks are published and their friendships and connections still seem to run true.  thanks for the memories, undeniables.  and thank you for still being around for each other amid the chaos of “what’s next”….the art you write today is as important as the first line that ever was scribbled onto your pages–the lines that made you smile and nod and feel that great sense of relief.

there is much here in shadowdance that has been written publicly that instead should have been hidden in a journal, tossed into the bottom of the aforementioned handy waste basket or offered up in a blazing inferno to the chuckling demons and inner critics.   unwieldy wordings,  formless poetry and stumbling/stinted writings expounding on troubled times during ‘the breakdown’, close  insanity or just garden-variety craziness around the edges has prevailed as of late, making this place a dark and near-impossible strip to land on or spend time in.  it stays closed up tight, hidden from exposure to the open skies of further social media, barely looked at in a day even by those who knowingly smile and offer small bits of  love and encouragement to the author.  but the early days of it, when inclusion in the undeniables had been granted, appear to hold some of the best of me….gut-true and as honest as i had…writings almost worthy …2009…and i savor the memory, thanking them all for providing the discipline and the invisible nudge to sit at this desk, with hands reaching for the good pen or poised over this keyboard, ‘with words on the tips of my fingers’, as my friend joe archangelini so beautifully put it in the title of his poesy collection…

.learning how to sit with writing each day is the hardest lesson…but, undeniably, the best practice…

About lindalou5150

as exercise or exorcism, i write...for the eyes of others, for my eyes and heart only, for the love and the rage, i release the gamut of tell the truth and say what's often thought but not written...
This entry was posted in Correspondence, poetry, writing, poesy, and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to sifting through the word bin

  1. David Garcia says:

    hi linda, not use to writing here…but wanted to response to this piece you just did and or did you just do this one earlier…anyway. . it is good and and I am glad you wrote it because there is a lot of truth there and strength and courage in what you are saying and I am sure it is important for others to read…I know it was to me…(this is a funny way to write here works different this computer site) ok …later. xd.

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