dead babies

So I now have three solid pages of dead baby jokes I am turning into sentences such as: A baby with a punctured lung is blue and flies around the room at high speeds.  Which I think is at least a little beautiful.  I like the busywork of arranging sentences into a sequence that sounds good.  I am pleased with myself for thinking of concluding the list with a very moving and weird Robert Creeley poem about putting a candle in a dead person’s head.  But I am not pleased with myself for feeling like that.  I have terrible echoes of the sin of “cleverness” which I am always in discussion with.  I don’t know the difference between writing moments that feel good and writing moments that are self-indulgent.

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One Response to dead babies

  1. Tim Ramick says:

    I envy anyone (you!) who is able to “participate, live, in the current cultural literary conversation” without that conversation diluting one’s work via strategies of readership or regard. Doing right by the work: absolutely. Doing right by any contemporary gathering of interested minds: gravy. You possess a nimbleness I’ve always lacked and I think you’re one of those who can “many-ways” your existence as a writer and be both worthily successful and essentially untainted.

    Go with those writing moments that feel good (clever, transcendent, necessary). It’s self-indulgent to be writing creatively in the first place. Perhaps that’s all I really meant to say (should have said).

    Do these conversations arise with your students? Can anyone really say with authority when someone else has been too self-indulgent (or too cautious)? It’s just personal taste, after all, isn’t it? [Damn relativism]

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