I’m writing a small book about beer. What I know about beer mostly fits into a pint, so I am reading like mad to learn the things I should know already. So much has been written about beer that I have to figure out how to make the content my own (and conveniently to avoid plagiarism). So in keeping with the style of the book series and to my own proclivities I’m writing a book that I’m calling (to myself) A Small Book of Beer Sass. Indy has come into her own, although I’ll be writing it under my real name.
There are other things that I need to write, including a possible revision of The Fucker. But this one is going to get me a few dollars to last me through January. It does not bother me that The Small Book of Beer Sass is going to be a very light read. It is frivolous by nature. It will be funny and (I hope) well written. It’s a job and (I hope) I will get paid.
The other writing is harder. I hate our current political world and I hate the depressive effect of the morning news. Rage can warm me up and get me to the page, but I falter. What do I know? One relatively privileged person? But the answer is not not to write. That idea is as ugly as the double negative.
I’ve been struggling to write political poems since graduate school. It’s hard to incorporate politics into poems. Is it too topical? Too ranty? How much explanation is needed? Anna Akhmatova wrote about pine trees with raised boughs, or were they people, rising up. Forgive me [grad school professor redacted], I’m too lazy to look up the actual poem now.
I know what Toni Morrison said about the role of the artist. But what does that mean to those of us who have astronomically fewer readers and less intellectual and writing power? What does that mean to the everyday artist who is struggling to get to the page?
How do you get to the page?