Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Some things people say that I don't understand

"Dark chocolate is my guilty pleasure!"

Ughhhhhh what's with people who don't understand how guilt works? Or pleasure? Serious Eats always asks its interns what their guilty food pleasures are and half the time pleasure on any level is always already entangled with guilt. For example: "anything salty and sweet in the same bite, like chocolate chip cookies with sea salt on top." I mean salty and sweet are like the two main tastes. And isn't adding sea salt a way to make cookies fancier and more sophisticated? Why would you feel guilty about that? Unless you're dipping Chips Ahoy in nacho sauce I'm not impressed.

"The play's the thing!" 

Why did little bits and parts of so many Shakespeare lines become standalone quotes? This doesn't make any sense without the rest of the sentence, why do people say this. It's like how "The proof of the pudding is in the eating" somehow became "The proof is in the pudding" and everyone acts like that's coherent and self-evident.

"I just got a rejection for some poems I submitted in October! I don't even remember writing them! And I've never heard of this journal!"

That's like nine months ago, that's not even long in literary terms. Why are writers so quick to disown their own writing? Like when poets are all "Such & Such Press wants to publish my book but I hate all those poems now!" I feel like before submitting your work you should read it enough times to a) form a memory of writing it and b) know if you think it's publishable?

Sorry, I don't know what my problem is.

18 comments:

  1. That is one of the funniest posts I've read in a while! And I agree on all counts, especially 1 and 3b. I love chocolate and salt together, and I, guilt-free, love many things "worse" than that.

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    1. Salted chocolate is awesome. I like sugar in my chocolate too, though, I get next to zero pleasure from super dark chocolate.

      I guess I feel a little guilty about watching The Real World and eating processed "fruit snacks" like Fruit by the Foot. But otherwise I think my pleasures are pretty guilt-free.

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  2. When a poet says he can't remember writing something he wrote fairly recently, he wants you to think he writes a tremendous lot--just turns on a voluble flow like a tap--& doesn't sweat silver bullets over every word. To make you think that he doesn't take writing very seriously, that if he did take it seriously he'd be buried in bays.

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    1. Let's all take shit a little more seriously why don't we.

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    2. Yeah. I mean, if you write little and carefully, you'll remember writing something you wrote recently. If you say you don't remember it, you're suggesting that you write volubly and recklessly--which is sexier than being a practitioner of "cooked" poetry, if I can revive that cold-war dichotomy. Or you're suggesting that you're a romantic figure who's periodically possessed by a muse. Like James Tate claiming that he wrote in a trance. If it sucks, you can blame it on the man from Porlock.

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    3. I admit that Kathy and I write so many collaborative poems that I am often surprised when I read things we wrote years later, not because I don't remember writing them at all, but because the details have escaped me and the collaborative voice/lines now seem unfamiliar. Which is actually cool, because it's like reading stuff I didn't write. But in general, I think stuff I wrote in the past is better than expected. I'm always like, "Hey, not bad!" not "Ew who wrote this garbage." Shrug.

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    4. Reading some of your collaborative poems I've had fun guessing who wrote which line. Sometimes a line will have wordplay that sounds like you--"the whole point of a knife wound" kind of wordplay that reminds me of the Heather McHugh I read when I was a puppy--and then the next line will apparently play off a word in the previous line with a rhyme or pun. & so the poem moves associatively down the page. Or do you take a more "nice hat. thanks" approach & finish lines started by KR? Or supply only the next word or syllable?

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    5. We usually go line by line (or in a prose poem, sentence by sentence) but not always ... after revision all bets are off. Sometimes after a while I can't even remember who wrote which parts. We have a sort of "joint voice"

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  3. "Unless you're dipping Chips Ahoy in nacho sauce I'm not impressed." This is the best line! I'm behind on commenting over here, and I've loved so many of your recent posts. You have no problem! You're hilarious.

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  4. Yeah, guilty pleasure eating had better be at least as bad as, say, raw cookie dough straight from the package, or the Taco Bell Doritos Locos Taco, or GTFO.

    Regarding #3, I'm pretty sure we both read the same tweet.

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    1. Yeah, homemade cookie dough with sea salt DOESN'T COUNT

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  6. Ron Padgett has a book titled Poems I Guess I Wrote. I think writing can be therapeutic at times...

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  7. As I was reading this post, I was sitting here eating chocolate covered peanuts and chocolate covered cashews. I don't think the peanuts and cashews are salted, though maybe a little.

    My main guilty pleasure for a while was watching "America's Next Top Model" on T.V. More recently, it's watching "The Good Wife."

    What you say here about Shakespeare quotes reminds me of those famous lines from movies, or from other fictional places, that no one ever said. Like "Play it again, Sam" which Bogart didn't say in Casablanca, or "Elementary, my dear Watson," which Sherlock Holmes never said in the original stories (though Basil Rathbone did say it, or something pretty close, in some of the movies).

    I'm curious -- do you know for a fact that "The proof is in the pudding" is in fact a corruption of the Shakespeare line? I'm wondering because "The proof is in the pudding" does seem to me to make a kind of sense, though it maybe means something slightly different from what Shakespeare said.

    I did find that when I started writing less, and more carefully, I tended to remember poems more clearly, though I've never not remembered writing something at all. I also tend to be pretty selective and sparing in sending poems to magazines -- I don't bombard the poem world with poem submissions. The end result is that I probably get published about as much as I would if I sent a larger number of poems to more magazines more often.

    There was an instance where I sent poems to a magazine, and months went by, and one day a magazine I'd never heard of showed up in the mail with two of my poems in it. In the time since I'd sent the poems, the magazine changed its name, accepted two of my poems, didn't ever tell me they'd accepted the poems, they published the poems, and they sent me a contributor copy.

    Another time, a magazine I sent poems changed its name and then sent me a rejection slip.

    Yet another time, I ordered a sample copy of a magazine, which they sent. Some months later, I got a brief postcard note from the magazine, explaining that they were still considering the poems I'd sent, and thanking me for my patience. Only I hadn't sent them any poems.

    So, totaling up the score: poems accepted by a magazine I hadn't sent poems to; and, poems rejected by a magazine I hadn't sent poems to; and, poems still under consideration by a magazine I hadn't sent poems to. Who knew it was that easy?

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    1. "The proof of the pudding is in the eating" is an old proverb, not a Shakespeare line -- didn't mean to imply that it was, sorry! I was just riffing on the idea of corrupted sayings.

      I like the idea of thanking random people for their patience; it's probably warranted.

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    2. Okay, well that clarifies about the pudding quote. I wondered if it might be one of the common expressions that originated with (or were first written down by) Shakespeare.

      All's well that ends well.

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