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Tony Grist

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Insomniac [Oct. 11th, 2007|10:32 am]
Tony Grist

I lay awake last night trying to remember the texts of poems I wrote 15 years ago and of which no known copies survive. 

Not an activity I'd recommend.

Not at all restful. Not at all a good way of getting to sleep.

Certain lines remain. You'd think I'd be able to reconstruct the surrounding text from these markers but I can't. Even where I know the general sense the actual words elude me. In some particularly frustrating instances I know the grammar and rythmn of a line but one or two key words have fallen out. Come on, I wrote the originals; surely my mind stll runs in the same grooves, this ought to be child's play. But it doesn't and it isn't.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: karenkay
2007-10-11 11:11 am (UTC)
Your fallacy is that your mind doesn't run in the same grooves--at least, I hope not!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-10-11 11:59 am (UTC)
Yes.

The guy who wrote those poems isn't "me" at all.
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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2007-10-11 02:11 pm (UTC)
You say you are a different person now, but you are wanting to revisit those poems, are you having an introspective and retrospective time at the moment? A prelude to writing your autobiography? Hope so! I would buy a copy.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-10-11 02:47 pm (UTC)
I don't quite know why I was doing it. It seemed important at the time, much less so now. The mind wanders off down some strange pathways when it's sleepy.

Thank you for the vote of confidence.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2007-10-11 05:30 pm (UTC)
Come on, I wrote the originals; surely my mind stll runs in the same grooves, this ought to be child's play. But it doesn't and it isn't.

I can't reconstruct my own work from scratch. It's why I write everything down—if I don't catch the words, they disappear.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-10-11 07:38 pm (UTC)
Some poems I know by heart. They're mainly the very old ones, the ones I've lived with for decades.

I had a bonfire a few years back. I had boxes full of first drafts and stuff and I ruthlessly burned the lot. I regret it now.
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[User Picture]From: kaysho
2007-10-12 11:55 pm (UTC)
I'm always surprised to go back and read things I wrote years before. The words seem alien, as though someone else wrote them.

I also find that I think what I wrote years ago sounds so much better than what I'm writing now, although I suspect that's probably just because I tend to go back and re-read only the good stuff. :)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-10-13 10:15 am (UTC)
Distance lends objectivity.

I look at my "collected" verse- 30-40 years worth- and it's all of it far enough away for me to judge it as if it was someone else's. I reckon there were three- quite short- periods when I was writing on top of my game and everything in between is filler.
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From: fickleasever
2007-10-25 08:52 pm (UTC)
No, it's not restful.

I've not written poetry for years, but I had a poem in an online group a couple of years back that I thought I'd written down and hadn't - and the group manager suddenly upped and deleted the whole group, my poem included. Bummer.

If any are still important to you, maybe take the lines you still remember and construct new poems round them to fit in with who you are now?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-10-26 08:58 am (UTC)
I brought this on myself. I had a big bonfire a few years back and now I'm regretting it.
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From: fickleasever
2007-10-26 09:57 am (UTC)
Yeah, I know the feeling. In 1973 I destroyed a diary I'd been writing in since I was a child, and I've regretted it ever since.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-10-26 11:29 am (UTC)
Yeah, I've destroyed diaries too. Big mistake.
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