I finished reading Sylvia Plath’s poetry book Ariel the other day and a collection of female Chinese poetry over the centuries, both are excellent and I am onto a collection of prose poems at the moment as well a couple of other books I am almost finished. Prose is a very misunderstood craft, it is modern and maybe too self-assured for its own good, it kind of says ‘this is literature, and boy is it modern!’. I have used prose in my own writing and it probably made people think I was a snob but I am only guessing, I love prose though at the same time and I was happy to use it in my short stories just to get that surreal flow of the form. I have to admit, I am not enjoying the book on prose but secretly I feel like it is a medicine that I need to gulp down at the moment.
I have some old friends who I don’t see anymore who are constantly getting themselves into trouble, they are as mad as prose, their lives are like prose poetry in that they are jarring and strangely justified yet horribly wrong on many levels. One has been calling people on the street yuppies as a way of getting their own back at the world which owes nothing to nobody. If you are in charge of your own life what’s the problem then? Harassing people won’t help anything, it won’t improve your life, It won’t change the status quo or change your life, most likely it will send you to jail eventually. Some people who you think are yuppies have a back story, they may be in terrible debt as well or have other problems.
When I went to art school I met people from all different backgrounds who were rich and poor, they all had life to deal with and I remember it woke me up to the complexities of people’s lives. When I was a child I remember being quite materialistic, I was brought up on television which breeds these attitudes as well as advertising on the streets, on railways, cinemas, and billboards on highways telling you that you needed this or that. When I saw people had this or that item I was envious and wanted it too. I couldn’t get those things as a child and as I grew I started trying to steal expensive goods. It didn’t matter if you saved money, stole begged or borrowed it was all hard. Everything is purposely just out of reach, or way out of reach, it keeps you motivated to want.
My solution was to lose desire, I eventually lost the desire for material goods, it was such a hard way out of a difficult problem. It is not easy to lose desire. When I finally started working full time I could afford a few things but I was measured because I had to support a family of my own and I had to be frugal making things stretch. I left my partner of the time in charge of managing money and I worked overtime and brought in what I could. These days I am not wanting of much at all. I have responsibilities that I need to manage though and I am still helping out. Life doesn’t really let you off the hook and you can feel hard done by and a lot of people are hard done by, yet the answers seem to be mostly within ourselves and how we perceive reality. Nothing is easy and there are a lot of constant adjustments to be made. Hopefully, we can find some satisfaction in the little that we do have.