The fear of a predecessor


As a writer I’ve tried my best to ignore the adage “there is nothing new under the sun.”  I’ve hated the idea that I could never create my own original thought or put down my very own expressions and emotions. The very idea that I needed a mentor, a guru to guide me could put me over the edge. Why? Its was like being told I was incompetent at my own passion and the way forward would be to understudy and redo the work of a predecessor in “my own style”. I might be the only one but it got to me in a way not even my worst enemy, of which I have none yet, would manage to. It ate me up. I was stubborn and I wouldn’t budge.

Poetry has been my niche for a couple of years now and I’ve always had those moments when I felt “this is my next masterpiece”, days I felt that this thing I was writing was nouveau and I honestly believed that until I was done and I moved on to another piece with the same feeling and enthusiasm. I tried hard not to base my work on anything I had seen from other writers because being told; ” you write like him” never pleased me. I can be fickle and I always move on from my previous poems but I would never understudy anyone, the very notion Displeased me, it really did. Then came the moment I dreaded, i had to read other poets and study what they wrote and guess what, I am very displeased.

 First off, the adage was not what i thought it wasand I should explain what I think of it now. Its philosophical, its basically saying that everything that looks new to you is not, simply because it existed in the realm outside the physical. What it means is that my using it here, in our world, is just a representation of how it was in that other realm. That other realm, what realm is it? Call it heaven or your imagination. The latter is usually a better description. My first assumption of that adage meant that till recently I’d never liked any poet I had read in school, their archaic languages were turn offs and at the time I could not understand their context; Wordsworth was the worst because I was not fond of nature, why should I copy this?  So I went on, writing my broken thoughts, calling them poetry and feeling good about myself. The half praises were good for a while, the fact that I could construct thought was a feat on its own and that really blinded me. Then I read Byron, I chanced on Keats and goodness, I have to read John Donne. Am I displeased? YES!

With Donne especially I saw, not his words, not his structures, not even his metaphors, I saw his mind. I looked into his mind. I was reading thoughts that weren’t broken. I had in my hands the text of a mind stuffed with so much knowledge and trivia I had the notion that this would be the coolest encyclopedia to carry around. And best of all, I was looking at the greatest blend of ideas, an assonance of thought that  I could never manage. It was beautiful, it was perfect, and sadly I was not there. I can’t even describe Akira perfectly to annoying and I’ve seen it So Many Times. So my fear of my predecessor is alive in my chest and its swelling.

The flip side of it is has to be that I’ve seen better and I know my new is hidden in my imagination until I bring it up. I know it wont be nouveau when I bring it out only because its a patent is from an imagination everyone shares and helps them to relate(philosophy does this to you) to what I repeat here. And Trust me, I don’t have a mentor and I’m not gonna be the next dude drilling self help mantras into your soul. I’ve only recognized that I have so many thoughts I’ve not held down, so much that my words are in dissonance with. And I know sooner or later I will here those annoying words “you write…..”  I’ve not understudied Donne. I’ve seen him, I love his work and I’ve related to it and that’s about what we have to do if we want to create. We see then we step up.

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