Wednesday, February 3, 2010

obsessive disorder

Good writing isn’t a profession.
It must reflect one’s own obsession,
disorder decomposed, compulsive,
impressing readers as impulsive.
Amateurs need not apply
if they cannot tell you why
they want to write, and tell you what
obsesses them, and what does not.
Their obsession only has
a single cure, and that is writing;
how it is done and all that jazz
is stage direction and back lighting

Adam Gopnik, interviewed by Charlie Rose on February 2, 2010 in a discussion of J. D. Salinger, told him that Salinger felt that a writer must recognize the story that speaks most closely to him, the material that makes the stars come out, as it were, and throw out all other material that is not authentic for him. Said Gopnik: “A writer’s authentic obsession is his real material.”

This was written after a very close friend came round to visit us with his wife to tell us that he had a chronic neurological disorder, not obsessive compulsive disorder to which I allude in this poem or Amyotrophic Later Sclerosis (ALS) which led to the death of our good friend Mike Robyn seven days ago, but Parkinson’s disease.


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