Tuesday, July 5, 2011
When I first started writing and it was a long time ago now, I was an ambitious little lout.
After a few short poems I soon had big ideas and started work on my great epic. There I was, at 15 years old, starting work on something that I dreamed would put Virgil to shame. I remember it clearly, it was about a piece of gold that a farmer found in his field. He had never seen gold before so was blown away by this shiny material. He didn't know what to call it, not knowing of a concept of god nor having a name for the sun. So he called it a "piece".
The story was then that this piece passed from the farmer to a poet, who likewise pondered the meaning of this "piece". I suppose the idea was that the story would follow it as it touched people in different ways, making them suddenly aware of something greater.
I wrote in free verse in a poem like language. Like Milton I guess, except of course unlike Milton I only got to the second page. I lost even that, I don't know where it is now.
Something earlier made me recall the farmers exclamation upon finding the lump of gold. "A Piece, I have found a piece." A piece of what he did not know, only that something so beautiful could not exist as anything but a part of some great whole. Well, I'm just being nostalgic, I'm sure my would-be epic would make me cringe now.
The part about this memory that bothers me however, was my ambition. I was a wide eyed lunatic of a kid, illusions of grandeur, more than a hint of megalomania. I remember wasting time during a Summer job thinking out the battle doctrine I would use to conquer the world. It's just the way I was. The Epic was part of these impossible dreams but it, unlike my dreams of sweeping victories and glory, was real. I wrote some of it.
I may have resigned myself to never ruling the world but that was easy, it was pure fantasy. I am comfortable with that, but my Epic, my writing. I have had a piece of that in my hands and once you have touched a piece of something like that, once you know there just has to be a whole, can you ever give it up?