For the last couple of years I have been telling myself that it would be nice if I wrote every day. For some reason, I never start. I think I made excuses about being uninspired or too busy with school work. And maybe those excuses were true some of the time—maybe. I know Yeats was said to have written every day, and I think Benjamin Franklin did too (but do not quote me on that one). My point is, I want to be a better writer. But, do I actually want to be a better writer if I keep putting off my ten-thousand hours? So, I told myself I would start writing every day beginning on January 1, 2019. Then I realized by saying that I am only pushing off this “nice idea” even further. So, I started a little early—on November 16th, actually.
Now how does this all relate to libraries and internships? Well right now, I am finishing up my fifth, and last, LibGuide. Left to my own devices, I chose to create a guide on The Lost Generation. Ever since I watched Midnight in Paris back in 2011 and saw Owen Wilson traipsing around Paris, I have been obsessed with twentieth-century literature. I am not saying I want to become an expatriate, but I did find something about the rawness—the honesty—of modernism incredibly appealing. The Lost Generation (though they certainly had their faults) took literature and broke it into a million pieces and then put it back together in free verse, manifestos, and novels dripping with hubris. And—maybe this says something more about me than I am realizing—I love it. For me, the research for this guide is more meaningful than the last four because now I actually know what I am talking about. Even still, though, I am learning so much about the Lost Generation that I never knew. I am finding new authors to add to that Christmas book list and different themes that never occurred to me that undercurrent so many of my favorite texts.
Interning at Gumberg has really opened my eyes to how much I do not know, and embracing that is hard. It is overwhelming, but more importantly, humbling. At times, I hate to admit, I certainly let that pundit-esk idea that my friends have of me get to my head, and continually being reminded that I do not know as much as everyone thinks, is a good exercise.
I am on my fourteenth day of writing (at least) one poem a day. Part of this goal is me realizing that not everything has to be perfect. Some poems can be just for me, some can be ideas for later, and some can just be horrible. I forget who said this, but when it comes to writing every day, I always remember that “six out of the seven poems you write for a week are going to be bad. But one is enough.” That is probably terribly paraphrased, but the sentiment still holds true. Over the last two weeks, I have written some truly bad poems. Some make no sense and some have no point. But, I am already feeling an improvement. Yesterday, I took a flickering light bulb and turned it into something I am relatively proud of.
Hemingway did not write For Whom the Bell Tolls in one sitting. Joyce took almost ten years to write Ulysses. Milne was writing poems for his son, Christopher Robin, years before he thought of writing Winnie the Pooh. I am not saying I am like Hemingway or Joyce or Milne, but if I do not at least act like I want to be a writer, I will never know.