POET’S-BLOCKED

I begin seeing a new therapist on the 23rd.  It’s been years since I’ve seen a therapist, and I’m overdue for it.  And unlike the last three therapists I saw, this is an actual, licensed psychologist, with a Ph.D. in psychology (my most recent therapist had a Ph.D. in philosophy).  I look forward to it–she specializes in relationship issues, as well as personal ones.  And having a mild case of autistic spectrum disorder (which involves an inability to empathize with other people well), this should be quite helpful.

In the meantime, I can discuss problems here.  It’s more beneficial to share difficulties with strangers because they are more objective.  Of course, you’re not a complete stranger, but you’re distant enough not to judge and criticize me, as acquaintances and especially family members would.

It’s nothing major–just poet’s block.  There’s a huge difference between poetry and prose.  One must be far more clear-minded and relaxed to write poetry, probably because it’s more subliminal.  In the past several months, I’ve been writing music-impression poems.  Music is essential to my existence, I don’t think I could live without it.  And I listen to it every day, as much as I can.

To write a music-impression poem, I sit in my recliner, play a piece  of music, and write down all the images that occur in my mind.  I’ve always been this way–whenever I listen to music I automatically conjure all kinds of images.  I played music videos in my head long before MTV came along.  And though I’ve never had the patience or ability to master a musical instrument, I’ve always had a good ear for music (literally–my left ear has always been completely deaf). 

I first did this kind of poetry in 1992, while taking a music appreciation class.  Our instructor, Mrs. Youmans (one of the most beautiful, brilliant, endearing women I’ve ever known), assigned us to attend a performance of the Mobile Symphony Orchestra (free of charge for students), and write down everything we could about the performance–the instruments used, the tempo of the music, all the technical stuff.  I asked her if I could, instead, write down the images the music evoked.  She agreed, and I wrote a multi-page poem that had everything from a black panther lying on a branch at night to a businesswoman striding along a New York sidewalk.  And Mrs. Youmans loved it!

But this kind of poetry lay dormant until late last year, when I began writing it for my writers’ group.  The music can be any type, from anywhere.  It must be instrumental, unless the words are those of a language other than English ( if I can understand the words, I cannot write anything original, because the images are forced).

Last Tuesday, Katheryn, a lovely lady from my primary writers’ group, gave me a CD of jazz.  Generally I don’t enjoy jazz (except Dixieland)–it’s too mathematical-sounding.  But this homemade CD is nice enough–I’m beginning to enjoy it.  Still, I can’t write a decent poem for it.  I get alot of images, but I can’t put them into words, in an original manner.

The primary cause is the medication I have to take.  The psychiatric drugs interfere with my creativity enough, but the added blood-pressure meds aggravate this (such interference is known as cognitive dysfunction).  Simply put, I would be literally smarter if I didn’t have to take these medications.  But I’d also be emotionally dysfunctional, without the former, and dead or stroke-struck without the latter.

If you take blood-pressure and/or psychiatric medications, you know what I’m talking about–their side-effects are almost as troublesome as the conditions for which they’re prescribed.  And virtually every kind of psychiatric or blood-pressure drug causes cognitive dysfunction, to some degree. 

Furthermore, my financial situation is bad right now–not because of anything I did, but because of something my insurance company did.  I once saw a bumper sticker which read: I’M SO BROKE I CAN’T EVEN PAY ATTENTION!  Quite funny, if you’re not broke!  But it is literally true, at the moment–I cannot focus enough to write what could be my best music-impression poem yet, because I’m obsessed with this problem.

Yet now that I’ve written this post–addressing my poet’s problem (the title of a great Blondie song, by the way), I’m eager to start the jazz disc, and try again.  The first step in solving a problem is addressing the problem.

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