Criticism: spider eggs and self-worth.

Following the string of compositions from when I initially started posting, you might sight some of the most primitive and uninspired works of web-poetry around, and along those lines of frozen time, you might even find a generally negative disposition I have towards my work, as well as a strong hostility directed at my own artistic development.
I believe, albeit probably wrong, that any artist of any craft holds little to no love for a product that is finished, because its the process and the journey that must be loved and nurtured, and the final result: an outburst of pain compounded with shame, a linen woven by acid needles that thrust with every line, every paintbrush and every note of a melody. It is natural to hold hatred towards our own creations, not necessarily because they are parts of ourselves we shed into a piece, but because they are willingly given away and lost, they are mirrors within mirrors and whatever they reflect has been traded at the highest cost: the peace we once found in producing them, now inhabits the piece, now… its gone…

And not only is it condensed into the work, it also constitutes an energy that dances around our own, creating a thick mist of unbound chaos, and we rush to perfect it, to alter it and reprise it. It is never done, never complete, it haunts us while it exists, because it could be so much more… and why isn’t it so much more? Why isn’t it the piece that will propel the next century of artists into unrest and endless creativity?

It is necessary to find balance, as with everything. I do not have shame towards my older work, I embrace it, because it allows me to gage how I’ve grown, what I’ve become, it gives me a tangible example of my evolution and the rewards I was able to reap from my effort. But still, I cannot read any of them, or rewrite any of them in any way.
They are foreign to me, the poetic subject has shifted, and my older self that indeed wrote those pieces, has now risen walls of solid isolation and sheltered within them. And the reason I cannot go back to them is relatively simple, as its commonly said – we are our biggest critics – and it serves well to be so, but we mustn’t become our biggest tormentors, striking hot iron into the flesh of our past tenses, attempting to gather enough information that justifies the inaptitude of what we were, and especially, of what we are now.

That is also why I’ve insisted on not trying to become an author at such tender age, not for lack of confidence in my body of work (although that also exists very strongly), but also because that would entail presenting work that would be worth paying for, worth spending time over, worth being read and invested, and my work isn’t there yet, and it won’t be there until every ounce of liquid pride I possess can be applied to such creation, and I understand that this unrealistic concept equals one of chasing geese around a prairie, but it allows me to find peace in my ever-so flawed and inept poems, they are a product of my dedication to a craft that, eventually, might be as shifting and influential to someone, like so many have been to me.

But that is eventually, and meanwhile, I relish in the sensation that any poem I publish today, will be something I cannot read a year from now, and that evolution of the self and its relation to worth, is such a beautiful inner process on its own, one that already compensates any ill-feeling over my own work. I’ve grown and will continue to grow, what else could I ask for?

Hoje sou tudo no nada que sou, amanhã serei outro.

23 thoughts on “Criticism: spider eggs and self-worth.

  1. Johnny. The value of your work has zero to do with your age. Trust me. I’m 45. Yours is technically far better than mine. Some would argue that mine isn’t poetry at all, as it pours out without structure beyond what my intuition demands.

    Believe me. Your work is worth reading. Between the ages of 16-19 I had a hand made zine with roughly 30 subscribers. All my own work. I had 2 avid collectors of my work. One who secured a college education based on the quality of my work.

    The worthiness of a creative gift has NOTHING to do with your age and EVERYTHING to do with the tenor of your soul. You have the soul. We’re usually taught to loathe our perfections. Usually because those around us are well meaning but simply not attuned to the world the way we are. They teach us fear, self doubt, the loathing of our own beauty in favor of monetary based valuations.

    Trust me. I’ve had dreams where someone was reading your work aloud and Shakespeare had a moment of being choked up because you caught the pained beauty of a moment so well.

    I’m sure you also have moments like I’ve had. Where you get clever and write about a knight’s squire noticing his master failed to return to the camp after heading out to kill a dragon and goes to his own death foolishly. Sigh. Silly. Childish. I thought I was so clever. 72 stanzas of that tripe. I was 13, so childish was acceptable. But really?!? We all have those phases where we’re self indulgent rather than self aware and communicating that.

    No shame there. Pax. Toad

    Liked by 1 person

    • Toad!
      Such a heart-warming comment, as always, you drive me forward into the day!
      I will reply more thoroughly in that email I’ve been drafting, its taking me ages because I’m all over the place this week, but I promise it wont take much longer!

      Like

  2. Really relate with this, “mirrors within mirrors”, I sometimes don’t even realize I’m criticising what I write or do. But upon reflection or closer inspection there’s always some hint of self doubt and internal critique in there. The only time it’s ever really easy is when I just do it without the ‘should be, would be, could be’ ideations. Nice to see the struggle is more universal than personal.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am new to writing poetry for other people’s eyes but I do understand the issue of being critical of self. I think it’s the nature of being creative and putting your passion out for everyone to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, yes, but how much of it can we bear until our work becomes obsolete to us as artists?
      Unsure of the answer to the question, but like any lousy french pessimist, I love asking them!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re right in so many counts there. THe mood changes as we go, and returning to an older work, I often could just trash it, or go naked blind at it. Or punctuation, and title. A friend said to please not touch anything you wrote, that was then this is now. Enjoy the way you’ve changed, that kind of thing. But then again, quite a looking glass it is, to turn around and stare at what one felt last year this time. Happens when I paint too. Want to add a gentler or darker blue… it goes on.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The Author’s Empire keeps expanding, as they set their sights on newer adventures. Either you release the earlier work or keep them behind the citadel is a choice. It is the Author who is on a journey of more knowledge and writings. I believe all the works of a writer are special and they should be released to seek their own destiny. You never know, where someone may be waiting to read them and that is all they have been waiting for. The adventure and conquest must continue, for the Author’s Empire.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think you suffer from perfectionism! One never gets “good enough.” The best I think we can do is to accept our flaws, learn from them, damn it all and move forward. If you ever decide that you have nowhere to improve, it means something is really wrong with you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly this. My ancestors include some indigenous North American souls. One of whom helped raise me and who taught me only the Creator or Source has ever been or ever will be ‘good enough’ and one way humans can honor that reality is to ensure there is a flaw in everything we do. Most of us don’t need to try. But for those of us who do… it’s important to remind ourselves that perfection WILL NEVER BE A HUMAN TRAIT, nor should it be. When we chase it, we have given in to chasing delusions.

      And I stand by the many times I compare Johnny’s work to Shakespeare’s. Both are transporting in emotional and spiritual levels for me. And no, Shakespeare wasn’t perfect, either.

      Liked by 2 people

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