Friday, May 15, 2009

On the edge

Or at the edge?

Warning: Possible whine.

Lately I've felt quite on the edge of things. Maybe it's the string of rejections (yes, that comes with the territory—but it doesn't mean that ground is always easy to cover). Or maybe it's the feeling that much too much of adult life is beginning to seem much too much like high school (you're popular, or you're not).

I've often felt like an outsider (certainly during high school), and I've never been entirely comfortable there. Not that I'd be comfortable in the middle either. But I keep finding this yearning for acceptance, a need to belong.

TMI? Maybe.

But I was intrigued by the recent Poets & Writers interview with Ann Lauterbach. She says that she has spent most of her life on the periphery and that's where she feels the most comfortable. It's a novel thought for me.

Could I take this territory, stake it, and come to love it, genuinely deeply, as my own?

To do that, to live at the periphery, I need to genuinely deeply live who I am—not who I think I want to be, not who will fit in, not who writes the way I want to write (although I can learn from them—as much as possible).

Lately, I've been thinking about baby steps. Now I'm thinking about how to keep taking those baby steps toward the outside of the circle, instead of trying to stumble my way inside. And how to figure out what it is that I do that I do—my real work.

What about you? Do you feel outside or in the middle of it all? And did you ever manage to get over high school?


Premium T. said...

Outside. Always.

And at this early-50's age, I've learned to appreciate and -- gasp! -- enjoy it. I view it as a piece of being a poet, as sort of "appraiser of the world." It's much easier to observe when one is standing at the edges.

Joannie said...

Good point about the ability to observe.

I think the hardest part for me is when I feel like I'm on the outside of the poet center (or the poetry periphery). I'll try to work on that appreciation.

Premium T. said...

I am most definitely on the outside of the poetry periphery...we should get together over a glass of wine sometime and chat!

Joannie said...

Definitely. Especially since I work right next door.