Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Autonomy vs. Membership

I've been thinking a lot about our need to be a part of groups and our need to have autonomy outside of groups.  Is it just our nature to start identifying characteristics that we have in common with one another in order to feel a sense of community, a sense that we are doing "it" right? A person told me the human mission/condition is to balance autonomy with membership because we need both.  I think about that in terms of writing. There's a certain comfort from membership in groups I identify myself with (poet, for example), but there is definitely a part of me that needs autonomy, that does not feel comfortable with expectations from any group, that does not feel any real connection. I don't want anyone to think I'm speaking for them or that I have to prescribe to a certain way of doing things.  I'm tired of people saying what they think poetry is or should do, what art is or should be (who gay people are and what we want).  Just fucking write what you want, borrow from a tradition, reject a tradition. Just fucking do it and quit talking about it.  Sometimes all this banter feels like foreplay when you just want to come. I was recently at a writer's conference and told the audience that the last scene of Moonstruck (where Cher is kicking the can down the street) is more moving to me, stays with me more than any Shakespeare I've read.  Of course I know Shakespeare is a genius, but I'm tired of pretending that things matter to me that really don't.  I'm tired of saying the "right" things hoping people will respect me more. We say write our obsessions then spend most of our time turning our noses up at poets who take that to heart.  Isn't there room for autonomy, for our own visions, for that fucking can being kicked down the street, while also keeping membership? Can't we do it our own way and broaden our views of how it's done? Probably talking in circles, and that's fucking fine, too.


David Groff said...

This post is fucking great. Thank you.

Collin Kelley said...

I've stopped giving a shit what people think about my inspirations, my motivations, my reasons... etc. Read it, don't read it, roll it up real tight and cram it. That's my new operating guide.