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.
Kvassheim fyr, Jæren