“Genius in the arts consists of getting in touch with your own wiring.”

-Marvin Bell

Joseph Millar and Marvin Bell, both former faculty advisors during my study at Pacific, conducted a roundtable discussion around the theme of what writing poetry teaches one about poetry itself. At the forefront of their message was: write! As in, do it.

They focused on the necessity of the process to their lives (not the product)–the quality of humility necessary when coaxing out new work (Millar), and the freedom necessary to write long enough, and bad enough, to get better (Bell).

In this sense, Marvin’s admonition that poetry is a way of life, not a career, and Joe’s analogy that keeping on writing limbers one’s muscles to be flexible and receptive to the dance, renders complimentary angles to a simple but profound message: writing is about writing. Talk is talk. Publication is nice; a fleeting pleasure. Writing.

Hearing about the importance of process, and the transitory pleasure of product, reminded me once again of this great little animation of a recording by Alan Watts.