Consecrating ones life to an imbecility

I suppose, as a poet, amongst my fears can be counted the deep-seated uneasiness that one day it will be revealed that I consecrated my life to an imbecility (to something intrinsically unnecessary and superfluous – and thereby unintentionally cruel).

In an intriguing essay called “On Fear”, Mary Ruefle touch upon a problem I have been struggling with lately (the so-called: why not do something important with your life?!!! question). But even more interesting; Ruefle presents a lot of thoughts I’ve never ever considered, like:

  • The industrial world destroys nature not because it doesn’t love it but because it is not afraid of it.
  • Fear is desire’s dark dress, its doppelgänger.
  • Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide (D.W.Winnicott).
  • Fear is to recognize ourselves. (Kierkegaard says: What is education? I should suppose that education was the curriculum one had to run through in order to catch up with oneself).
  • Poetry is no more than a broken whisper – to talk about anything, just to talk, becomes an operation in itself, a means of assuaging fear (Szymborska).

Ruefle’s essay (or lecture) is not only interesting for its content; Ruefle’s style is a show in itself. While writing she is constantly questioning her own statements and beliefs, contradict herself, challenging us – encouraging us to make our own digressions into sense and nonsense. In other words: This is truly inspirational reading!

(Even when fear is the topic) …

Tony Hoagland said: fear was the ghost of an experience: we fear the recurrence of a pain we once felt, and in this way fear is like a hangover. The memory of our pain is a pain unto itself, and thus feeds our fear like a foyer with mirrors on both sides. 

SAM_0232Kvassheim fyr, Jæren

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Angela says:

    Lots to think about with this, Sigrun. Interesting post. Thank you! 🙂

  2. litlove says:

    What fantastic quotes. i will have to see if I can get hold of a copy of this – thank you!

    1. Sigrun says:

      I like them too, and find especially the Winnicott statement very to the point … I wonder if this is why blogging is such a great arena many creative people.

  3. Kim says:

    thought-provoking! good stuff. thanks, again, for providing me witch such lovely reading material. i must admit this came at exactly the right time for me, some days i struggle with what i fear is nothing but fear, and i let myself forget i should write about the things that scare me.
    so, yes, this is important to me, too, and i’m grateful for your interesting thoughts.

    1. Sigrun says:

      Thank you!
      I think going into fear – open eyed – takes a lot of practice (& failing)

  4. Karen Redford says:

    Thank you again for a beautiful and very timely post.

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