So, “Defoliation of a Bookshelf” came about while thinking on these precepts of what a unique expression to emotional turmoil looks like, exactly. The problem with hardship, with the human response to it, as I see it, is that our reaction and definition of emotional catharsis is conditioned to the extent that we take our life cues from mediocre, didactic, and simplistic stories that reflect a certain cosmic justice, a certain implied audience. It has always seemed to me, and this is a little pessimistic, that we are ceaselessly pandering to a camera. And how confusing life becomes when taken outside of art’s lens, right? Stories make sense; life, well, it’s a relentless mess if we’re being honest. So this atavistic audience/camera can be form-fit to a friend, a God, family, a neighborhood/village, a social media outlet, a selfie, or whatever, your own self-imagined and self-verified expertise of an objective morality could be what you pander to. But it’s the pandering itself that’s universal, really, which kind of robs us of a valid experience. Does that make sense?
Think about it this way, the trail over any dense emotional mountain has already been blazed–Hamlet did it better!, say. But the buck doesn’t stop or start with Shakespeare: think Grimm, think Shelly, Atwood, Verne, Asimov (who, along with other great Sci-Fiers, has been quietly conditioning our response to the future), think Disney, think Coleridge, think Homer, think Confucius, think of any religious text, cave illustration, or oral history. There’s definition breadcrumbs going all the way back and we’ve been brainwashed from the cradle to believe that we’re good, that there’s an audience who cares about our state in the universe, that we have a great or small moral war that we must win or be martyred. But it’s a crock, it’s a verisimilitude.
So, in the poem, I went for it. I had some good fun and tried to create an awful character/situation (domestic physical abuse) and portray it as a victory sort of thing. Does that make sense without sounding completely awful? And, not to lie, but trying to separate the three-dimensional from the story, to separate the myth from the primordial, so to speak, felt a bit embarrassing by the end, a bit like stealing pies from a window sill and lingering too long.
As far as the writing process itself, writers that really impress me are the ones who I don’t hear typing, who aren’t auteurs. I think that any thoughts about the writing process are simply used by authors and readers as a high-viscosity lubrication for masturbation. Or a selling point that writers purvey around campuses and involves some sort of monetary compensation. The basic writing process is three-step and quite simple in my experience. Write. Write. Write again. Reading helps. Imagination helps.