And there’s the rub. Those conventions and rules I insist be problematized (or broken), and the abstract authority that is ‘traditional’ poetry I wish questioned (or overthrown), require my own narrow and unquestioning faith in, and obedient submission to, the artist.
I read this Salon article about GenXers and mid-life crises which hones in on a few particulars of one generation’s anxiety about growing old. Author of the article, Sarah Scribner, citing economist and demographer Neil Howe, spoke of how the Boomer generation’s mid-life crisis was marked by a kind of claustrophobia over the constrictions of family and career, whereas with GenXers, the opposite fear prevails—an agoraphobia that paralyzes with seemingly infinite choices and options…I’d like to speak to what Scribner calls a ‘survivalist’ tendency in this demographic—that quality of enterprising restlessness, fashioned by economic crises, war, and two terms of a Bush presidency.
I’ve always found it strangely calming—the excision of texts and images, the disposal of objects, the burning of papers. To destroy or erase cleanses me of something’s aura, that miasma of living memories pervading an inanimate presence. It was upon reading an article, and the study—“Design for Forgetting: Disposing of Digital Possessions After A Breakup”—it summarized, that got me thinking lately about what it means to document and to forget.