Saturday, April 15, 2006

Hearing & Seeing

I complained a few weeks ago about trying to both 'hear' and 'see' as I composed poetry. I was finding the two processes to be counterproductive--that is, the more I tried to 'hear' a line, the more description and images seemed to wither, and the more I tried to 'see' something, the less I could hear its underlying rhythms.

Well, I'm pleased to announce that I occasionally take my iPod headphones out of my ears when walking to and from work, which is when I find myself thinking most about writing on a daily basis. It was incredible how much 'seeing' and 'hearing' seemed to mesh again! It's fun to walk along with a soundtrack, and the experience has produced some poems, but it seems it can also interfere with the creative mind.

I'm not one of those people who gets all upset about iPods and cellphones, and vanishing courteoisie (just been translating Old French poems). People who get their panties in a bunch about those two issues are really just engaging in psychological displacement about other anger. Is it really anymore disruptive to have someone sitting nearby having a conversation on a cellphone or to have a group of kids sitting near you having a loud conversation? Or two lovers having an argument? Or the crazy guy on your New York block shouting at the universe? It's all part of the multi-media tapestry of life, I think. Ditto iPods. Why do you care if someone is listening to an iPod or reading a book? You can become equally engrossed in either to the point that you shut out the rest of the world, or don't hear someone asking you something.

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