Week 25

I’ve been chronicling my project with my wife on this blog. I’m going to write a sonnet series about the creation of California. I’m using the dual stories of William Mulholland and John Muir to tell the story of water in California, what really made it what it is. Ann’s a visual artist, so she’s going to do the graphic art work for it.

Whenever I write poetry or short fiction, I tend to work in terms of collection rather than individual poems or stories. It’s a technique that I always share with my students.


It’s about the muse. The muse is a Greek conception of a mysterious force that came down and blessed artists, poets, musicians, and the like, but that vision of the muse is ridiculous. The belief behind it is that there are some people who are simply blessed with inspiration. That’s not true.

Everyone is blessed with inspiration. The trick is making sure that what inspires you is good and productive.

The person who thinks about making money tends to see money making opportunities everywhere she looks. The person is ready to have children sees kids stuff everywhere. A person’s muse can be education, depression, alcohol, what other people are saying about him, or joy.

The muse is simply the acknowledgement that what we tend to concentrate on dominates our thoughts when we’re not focused. For me, teaching takes up a lot of my mental focus even when I’m not in class.

Writing does too.

It’s why I write everyday, and why I like to think in terms of collection rather than individual pieces. Not only now is everything in my consciousness being filtered through the medium of poetry, so every encounter is a potential moment of inspiration, but I tend to be focused on water. And water seems to be everywhere right now. It’s all anyone around me is talking about. It’s all through what I’m reading.

In actuality, it’s just all I’m concentrating on. The rest tends to blow away.

It’s not a bad thing to be focused on something like poetry. Considering the pain and evil throughout our world. Poetry is a great alternative.