I thought that I’d try to update the ‘About’ page of the blog the other day. Nothing fancy of course, just a few words to reflect the shifting focus. Or rather, the fact that I’d finally acknowledged that ‘the voice’ that I had been impatiently waiting for these past few years had been there all along.
No matter, I quickly typed something that I thought was to the point and, well, appropriate. In all likelihood it was crap. I honestly can’t remember, you see I read it and was struck by the fact that I was uncomfortable with one line. I played it around and around my head and it didn’t sit well with me. The real stumbling block was one word. Never have I spent so much time on one seemingly insignificant word. Just a word and the word was ‘just’.
“Poetry is just a peg to hang stuff on.”
What on earth did I mean by that? Isn’t it a bit dismissive? The problem is that I in no way consider myself a poet – good, bad or indifferent. I’ve been using the tag as somewhere to hang stuff; ideas, words, feelings, sounds. That doesn’t necessarily make it poetry, that’s for others to decide. It’s the librarian in me, I need to order these things, put them on a shelf.
What would others who knew, lived and breathed and seemingly understood poetry think of such a statement? I didn’t want to appear to belittle an art form, that was not my meaning. How many times is that word word used to dismiss individuals, groups, ideas, movements? It seemed like very dangerous ground.
Could I just drop the ‘just’? Well, I could but that would make it a rather bold, definitive statement and I’m no expert. I certainly wasn’t comfortable with saying “my poetry” because again I would be making a pronouncement on what I am and do. It’s not that clear cut.
This line of thought inevitably became circular. Around and around it went and the only way for it to stop was to cut it, all of it. Gone. It was the only just solution.