A friend once told me someting a friend told her that had been told to him by a mentor, and it’s basically this about writing: It’s okay to climb the same mountain again and again, but you need to be going up by different routes. I think of this often. In other words, it’s find that I’m obsessed by a subject matter, with trying to get to some new way of understanding it, but my poems need to approach it by different means.
Makes total sense. But at the moment I feel I’m trodding a well-worn path. I think I’m trying different things, but all I’m doing really is skirting a bit the old route only to find my way back there again.
The solution I’m pursuing is my same old solution, which is not necessarily a bad thing — exposing myself to other people’s art. (And reading widely [wildly?].) I like rattling around in the art world looking for something that stops me and twirls me around. Sometimes this dizziment can open a pathway to a new way to approach my own work.
In the region of Sussex, England, there’s a specific word for the little gap at the base of a hedgerow, a passageway made from the regular coming and going of a small animal: a smeuse. Looking at art, listening to music, watching dance — this can reveal to me the smeuses of others’ passages, one I might ease through myself. And in so doing find another way up the same old mountain.