What? What takes heart?.. Pretty much everything in life. Really, for us mammals, we can’t live without it but that’s the literal translation of course. I dwell a lot in metaphorical spaces.
I’ve written a fair bit lately publically and privately about communication and language and the fact that words with definitions are one of the the basic building blocks necessary for successful oral and written human communication and understanding. “Thanks captain obvious”. Its not always obvious to everyone actually, but I’m going to leave that alone and start stacking other concepts on top. One tiny step up from words with definitions is the metaphor.
Metaphors provide a deeper understanding of meaning because of shared experience and context. There’s a vast catalogue of common metaphors that one can use to aid getting their point across. It’s why the saying “I love you to the moon and back” has gotten lots of traction as an expression of affection as of late.
People understand that the moon is a great distance away and they are searching for ways that appropriately express the vastness of their feelings. It’s novel because other metaphors have been over used, tired, and fallen out of favor. The ocean is still vast but has now been usurped by the moon. It is true that the distance to the moon is greater than the ocean is wide or deep so maybe there’s a smidge of one-upmanship there too.
Wow.. this is a serious introductory digression away from the real topic at hand, which is the heart. I had such a shit day yesterday and toward the latter part of the day I found myself in analysis mode again as it relates to my emotions. On the surface, it’s pretty clear. My self esteem had taken yet another hit from rejection. Nothing else has changed. The job is still awesome. The kids are great, school is the same, and there has been no impactful events. So, yeah, it’s about a dude. My heart hurts.
Yesterday I found myself looking over the poems I submitted in my first packet and the comments from my mentor. There’s one that I wrote in 2015 that I took to my first Residency for evaluation.
The feedback I received, outside the repeated constructive criticism of my lack of imagery and obvious need to get away from end rhyme, was all focused on the first couple of lines. This included using the heart as a metaphor, which is probably one of the most common and overused in history.
In some circles it’s actually considered against the rules these days to employ such cliche references. Color me with whatever shade of red best represents “I don’t give a fuck about that rule”. The comments from workshop, however, were not about that though. They were about the fact that the central idea in this particular poem is about different states of being, at the beginning, it is a state of trying to open my heart. By the end, there is some measure of success, but we didn’t talk about that. The focus was on the first stanza.
Revisiting this poem after the fact, I actually archived that draft and started over with just a couple lines from that first stanza… the bit about trying to open my heart. I wanted to find a scenario with a set of images that would elicit understanding of this predicament. I took something personal, true, and extremely relatable for most readers. The new title is “Toothbrushes”.
I didn’t put a ton of thought into this, it just came to me one day as I was standing in my bathroom looking at the pair of toothbrushes in the tumbler in my bathroom counter. I finally decided to pick up the one Simon used and toss it in the trash. As I did that, I thought, “hey, maybe this works” and that night I rewrote my poem.
I submitted it with my first packet to my mentor for comment. Not a lot came back in that one, except that it’s not finished yet. Something is needed to circle back to the original idea. Again, the idea of attempting to open ones heart. And also the state of starting over probably, because that is now what it’s about.
How very quant that this is exactly where I find myself again now. One thing not obvious in written communication that is a hurdle in blogs is the art of using sarcasm. So when I say “quaint”, please hear my curt tone and picture me rolling my eyes slightly up and to the left. 🙄 Then this.. 😒 and then maybe a little bit of 🤷♀️.
See.. I really need to work on showing instead of telling. I know that.
I’d like to revise this poem again now, but I just don’t know what to do with it. I have to figure it out. It feels kinda like a microcosm for my love life right now. I need to figure it out but I’m stuck and don’t know what to do.
My heart hurts and it’s not just some random dude I went on two dates with (though that is part of it). It’s a repeated pattern of rejection and my not being able to make sense of it. What does one do with that? I can’t let it go. I can’t embrace it. I’m having a hard time stopping myself from even thinking about it. I kinda wish I had a ton of work to focus on instead.
It’s gonna take heart to continue to work on this and find my way. It’s gonna take heart to keep trying. I’m going to have to dig deep to find what I am looking for I think. Not “ocean” deep, maybe just “Great Salt Lake” deep. 😉
One Step Forward,