Friday, July 25, 2008

Dispatch from Prague: "Erotic" art and the switch to fiction

Another day, another class field trip: this time to an exhibition of erotic art spanning the 16th-19th centuries. Having your aging poetry instructor invite one to a museum of erotic art is somewhat like having your father invite you to watch porn with him. Luckily, the art was much tamer than I expected after the sex museum debacle. In fact, it was quite lovely and not terribly salacious.

Beyond that, the weirdest thing has happened. I had an idea for a story. A real, live fictional story. I haven't written one of those since I was an undergrad over 10 years ago. I keep trying to avoid it but ideas continue to accrete and I imagine that I'll have to start writing it soon. The idea of sitting down and writing sentences is a daunting one, but also exciting. Obviously, I haven't avoided sentences entirely while I've been focusing on poetry. I've even made some forays into literary nonfiction. But ever since I made the choice to focus on poetry, fiction has been a mystery to me. Much like mountain climbing, I could admire the commitment involved and marvel at the strength and skill it took to finish the task, but I just did't understand why anyone would want to undertake the task in the first place.

Anyway, we'll see how it goes and whether I'm actually up to it.

Tomorrow I fly away from Prague and back to the job search, the struggle to create a writing routine, the daily dog-walking, and the steady diet of burritos and cheese toast that I left behind. Tonight, we dine on pork knuckle!

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