Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Creative Grades

Creative Grades

Creative does,
‘though not what’s told,
a student
who is not enrolled
in graduated, chaptered classes,
where mindful competition passes
for excellence.

His recompense
is not achieved
by others brandishing respect.
grades its own neglect.

©1998 Sara Holbrook, Walking on the Boundaries of Change,
Boyds Mills Press


Maybe because summer turned up late, or maybe because I've been getting up lazily late, or maybe because I got caught waiting for a train in 1984, but I was lagging in posting the featured poem on my website this month.  What is right for the pivot point that is July? Summer half spent, days getting shorter.  

And then a quote came across my twitter feed (no attribution) "Comparison is the thief of joy." 

Comparison is the stuff of poetry, I thought. Metaphor and the cranky desire to see things change drive the artist. This is larger than that.  Can I improve on this?  Who am I compared to that flagpole? That fire hydrant?

I get the twitter poster's point. @JasonRoberC was (rightly) pointing out that we can shortchange ourselves through comparisons to others.

But as creative types, we use comparisons all the time to motivate us, to help us understand our place in the universe.  We are chronic malcontents. Comparing what is to what could be is the well from which we draw our inspiration.

So maybe it isn't comparison that steals our joy, but the judgments that tag along behind like snapping paparazzi. One may be bigger than another, darker, blonder, slower to the task, but is taller/darker/lighter/faster necessarily better?  I think that's where we get hung up.

July is the time to think about these things.  The time to let the mind wander, to do what's not been told. The evenings are still long, after all. Winter is (comparatively speaking) different.

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