Friday, April 14, 2006

The Party

I cruise my local Goodwill for poetry and fiction and yesterday I found a 1986 issue of Field, the lit mag from Oberlin. This is the begining of the Fred Chappell essay on Randall Jarrell called "The Longing to Belong:"

It is the dread question the interviewer never fails to ask: "Why did you become a writer?" The author sweats and stammers. He doesn't know why he became a writer. If he knew that he would know perhaps more than is good for him, certainly more than is good for his work.

But the novelist Jose Luis Donoso has a telling answer. Why is he a writer? "Because," he says, "I wasn't invited to the party."


I'm doing NaPoWriMo and writing a poem every day. Here is the poem I wrote today.

The Party

Oh, I was invited all right,
I had to put on the pink silk dress and
Sit while mother tugged the comb through my hair,
Wrap the present myself, the sticky tape loosening in the damp so the edges of the shiny paper curled away from the Careers board game,
Stand next to mother in the doorway,
When I could have been home reading by the water
Or making an empire in the grasses
Or naming my china animals.

I wanted to go to a party,
One with no blindfolds,
No girls whispering about my dress.
A party outside where we would race our invisible Arabians
Over the impossible terrain,
Reining up suddenly so they reared, but I never fell off,
Spun and whirled away to jump the dangerous streams and logs and twigs.
I never needed a whip,
My steed ran for me alone.

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At 7:10 PM, Blogger Carol Peters said...

freaky that you picked up that issue of field because i heard of field for the very first time yesterday and was wishing for a copy -- voila!

At 4:08 PM, Blogger Clifford Garstang said...

I so definitely wasn't invited to the party . . .


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