Monday, July 19, 2010

porkchops & applesauce

poor peter brady. when a girl at school told him he had no personality peter fretted the whole 22 minute run-time of the brady bunch looking for a personality to call his own. he tried on a whole suite of personalities including ol' bogie's famous locutions and spoke out of the side of his mouth when alice, l'housekeeper terrible, or his mother, i can't remember which, told our hapless, bland, and empty peter that porkchops and applesauce were on the menu for that night's supper. ah, porkchops and applesauce, said peter in a nasal, flat delivery, doing his best bogie imitation. another personality to be had, tried on like a suit, then set aside all the while looking for the best suit that fits the frame of one idiot soul.

thus began an education in manners. personality is at the core of our human being but perhaps it is protean and develops, contracts and expands over time. james dickey was once advised by his wife to be himself when the poet was nervous reading before an audience. great, said big jim, i'll be myself but which one? ah, there's the rub. in poetry workshops often the instructor will say to her students, find your voice. or that the speaking voice of this poem is doing work, either this or that. there you have it, one voice, solid, present and unmistakable.

could there not be a cacophony of voices inside all solid, present and unmistakable? think about the various writers that lived inside pessoa. might there not be not just one voice, one style, but many voices and many styles living inside the writer as she goes thru her own changes. personality is perhaps not finite after all but fluid and un-fixed. existence before essence. create, become and unbecome all the while. poor peter brady should've responded with glee when that girl told our boy he had no personality. he should've said, cool, now i am free to create my own consciousness. i can create a whole lotta me's and there is that lot of me, you betcha, and all so luscious. dig in.


At 3:14 PM, Blogger Jim K. said...

Be yourself but which...
..exactly. Not a crisis for
everyone, but for the
"internally prolific" can
be anyone, right? I once told
someone I had multiple muses and
personnae. He couldn't believe it.
Sad to think some people have none.

I just go dramatic in
a reading. Those pleading question
mark line endings drive me nuts.
This ain't no Swiss picnic.

Cool reference to the Brady Bunch.
Creepy influence...but surely an
influence. The need for shtick.

At 10:57 PM, Blogger richard lopez said...

i agree, jim, there are many who look for that solid authentic voice that gives creedence and a weight, e.g. bukowski's hardpan deliveries are, i think, one reason why bukowski was so immensely popular. not that i'm knocking bukowski, he's one form of writing, but there are so many other ways of writing to be found and explored in all of us. not one voice, but like whitman said of himself, and us too, multitudes. as for influences, i don't think the brady bunch is creepy at all. it was a seminal tv experience of my life. for good and ill, both. there is, i declare, no high art or low art, there is just, as bishop tells us, one art.

At 9:55 AM, Blogger Okir said...

I don't know who I am anymore, and that's just fine with me. They all seem to work together pretty well (most of the time, anyway). This morning I lay in bed just listening to them chattering, getting ready to begin the day. And who was listening? Hah!

At 11:26 PM, Blogger Closely Observed Train Stations said...

I agree. All of us. I've always though the notion of 'a voice' restricting - not to mention a little like marketing speak. It smacks of 'what's your image' where creativity is simply being outside of this. Whenever someone says i'm this or that type of write I'm dismayed because I want each poem or story to resonate on its own energies and not be something shed from me. Thanks again for your insights Richard.

At 8:37 PM, Blogger Jim K. said...

Just be glad there are
so many of you. And I've learned
not to act too glad, of course.
The green eyes come gunnin for ya.
Let them resonate away! Be a bunch
of is short.

"shine on you crazy diamond"
--Pink Floyd

At 10:41 PM, Blogger richard lopez said...

fuck yeah, jim! my favorite line from pink floyd!

jean, if we are multiple then when the voices speak we have also many listeners.

ryan, 9 bows to you good sir.

as old flaccus said, carpefuckingdiem!


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