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Portrait of the Anonymous Author
Drawing by Jeff Kinzel

ON BEING NEGLECTED


When I was eleven I entered a pumpkin in the jack o' lantern carving contest at a local department store. The field was much larger than I expected. More than a hundred entries were set up on the veranda of their garden restaurant. I watched as the judges walked around and selected individual pumpkins. These a crew of assistants picked up and took over to a low brick wall embanking a flower bed. Suddenly juice and cookies were being served and the judges escorted into the restaurant. They would return and determine the winners after this break.

My entry hadn't been chosen, but on an impulse, in the confusion of the refreshments, I gathered up my carving and set it down with those beside the flower bed. There were maybe six or seven finalists. I stepped back into the crowd. When the judges returned, and made their final selections, I had won second place. I'm not sure my effort was that much better than what came in third. But first place did belong to the pumpkin that won it.

This incident serves me as parable every time I rehearse it.  Though the lesson it teaches never seems altogether clear at any given hearing, but undergoes endless transmutations depending upon my emotional equilibrium. Through intervention and wilful action one can always place or show, while remarkable accomplishment remains self evident. Or that's once what this anecdote seemed to mean. But then the lesson learned might have been that 'winning' depends upon putting yourself forward, getting yourself noticed. Nonetheless, when an analogy gets pushed into metaphor, especially by pressing circumstance, it collapses. It does a quantum flip-flop.

So, I go on to ask myself, just who were the judges? A P.R. person; the head buyer; and someone from the display department: all store employees. And their winner? Obviously the jack o' lantern that most met their commercial expectations and mercantile preconceptions, the one with the greatest sales appeal. Any example of real genius would have never been a part of this shoppers' lure in the first place. Right then, it was probably flickering in a window on some side street half a mile from there. That's my lesson. I should not have entered the contest. What did I win? A dime store skeleton costume. Anything out of the dressing-up box in the attic and mom's makeup drawer showed more imagination than the sleazy silk-screened jump-suit and feeble plastic mask I won. Nor was there any distinction between first, second, or third prizes, other than the winners in rank got first, second, third choices: cat, skeleton, or witch?

Recently I sat for a few hours on a couple occasion over a long weekend talking with a friend and poet whom I had not spent much time with the last twenty-five years, someone who'd just received a major writing grant, who'd had a third book published by a large New York house, yet despite all this evident success, we shared an almost identical sense of being neglected. Does this mean we also possess mutual neuroses? Or are we joint victims of some greater communal underdetermination? What is certain is that we are not alone.

Who has ever met a poet, friend or stranger, who does not feel his work is neglected? Almost as though being disregarded was one of the prime consequences of writing poems. These are people we sit next to at dinner parties, stand and drink wine with at openings, drive from Boston to Hartford beside, lie in bed with and stare up at the ceiling. Some of them get much coveted fellowships, hold prestigious chairs at major universities, are powerful editors whose every book is reviewed, receive medals and honors from all manner of legislatures. Even they have the constant nagging sense of being overlooked. The success that is theirs, they tell themselves, has come for all the wrong reasons, never because of the poetry.

I am a poet and, it must be obvious by now, see myself as underestimated. I also live with a poet, and for years we would argue over which of us was more neglected. One evening after dinner when we were worrying this subject to death, it dawned on me: why not just accept the neglect? What would the consequences of that be? But how to go about it without growing defensive? Or without having to prop up some eighteenth century deistic stance: an ultimate clock-maker who sets poetry in motion and withdraws into cosmic negligence. Wouldn't a charitable outlook give one distance from which to watch the immediate complications of life as they, through the very agency of that standpoint, grow less overwhelming? Just as the positive revision of an experience previously considered bad promotes clarity of mind. Yet isn't this concern just a more grown up version of "Am I really a poet?" and "Will I produce an enduring body of work?" Finally, it's futile to worry whether one has talent or genius. All one can do is to cultivate a predilection for it. A gift, it can't be discounted, though it may go unnoticed. The way it arises in the world our daily regard provides us is not always obvious. That is its very nature. What is great? True? Real? Who knows. Asking is all any of us can ever do. There are no answers, and never were.

At the start of my life in poetry's thrall I'd vowed to try to get through its choppy waters without any bitterness. The terms were: no whining, no acrimony.  The disappointment I was coming across among my elders, though veiled, upset me. Attempting to avoid it seemed like a small but worthy act of compassion. And so, the eventual realization that one's work might be an oversight. Which, however, meant nights (and days) of wondering whether these munificent aspirations weren't merely passive aggression. Was I entering a state of denial? Had I chosen to avoid my anger by avoiding competition? Was performance anxiety the real reason for this apparent withdrawal? Did I fear not living up to an early promise? Finally I answered no to all this. These felt like imposed judgements, not part of the intuition that led me to try to accept neglect. A large share of these feelings were clearly the silent, tacit opinion of other people.

Other people. Why can we be such sources of suffering to each other with the good advice we provide? You're too passive, too aggressive, too competitive, too weak, too co-dependent, too single-minded, too... Why aren't we mothering reservoirs of mutual support. The world (every one else) will judge us often and harshly enough. We should be each other's happiness, the moment when everything is all right, and as it should be. Not arbiters. At the source of this constant monitoring and 'editing' of those we associate with lies the self-inflicted need to get it right, to be right, which is nothing more than the urge to escape criticism. This 'rightness' doesn't characterize the genuine, it stifles it. The persistent look over the shoulder for the nod of approval is a reflex that belongs to entertainment, not art. Art belongs to the soul. Any attempt at bringing it forth rouses an agony to touch, and by touching, participate in consciousness itself. The thrill of working something out — poem, play, dance, painting — needs no one's approval, nor could it ever gain it. There is not enough authority in the universe to dispel the uncertainty of  "D'ya like it?" Self-doubt provides the combustion that drives the engine of celebrity.

When a well-know poet and celebrity died some years ago a mutual friend asked me, "What should we do to honor his memory?" Organize a reading? Devote an issue of a magazine to him? Publish a memorial chapbook? No, it came to me. This man had expended so much life standing up in public for just causes, that now our silence was called for in commemoration, not our voices raised in celebration. Let's just have dinner together and lift a glass. Or sit alone in a room with a cup of water for an hour. Mine was an immediate, impulsive response but it struck us both as inherently correct. Let's not add more noise to our friend's presence in the world. Rather, let's provide some quiet, some solitude.

Another good friend once confessed how wonderful it felt to edit an anthology, and not include work of his own. Though not a lesson our society proffers, there is good sense in making one's work a refuge, rather than a display, the self evident as opposed to the self-proclaimed, to dare not to be first, even in disappointment. Consider this: Hiding one's light under a bushel is actually a strength, not a weakness —  the authority of accomplishment. That's nearly unthinkable here and now in these United States, despite all our spiritual aspirations.

While feeling overlooked or undervalued may be psychologically simple, it contains something more — other, that is, than the fame that comes of not being famous. When neglect is accepted, made effectively benign, it allows for Diaspora, displaced wandering.  This "dark night" projects a series of schizophrenic tropes clustering themselves around "the outcast genius," many of which are hard to obtain because our culture coerces us into devaluing edgy behavior. Neglect is the work of our enemies, or ourselves, we are made to believe. Yet reputation and fame of their own nature both seem preoccupied with their own pending fall and ruin.

Then, too, perhaps the feeling of being neglected is assumed, worn like a mask, put on so that the poet does not have to face silence, thereby accepting what arises from nature's indifferent balance. Or maybe neglect is merely misinterpreted silence. There is no answer despite the question. The call does not invoke a response. Risking a somewhat obvious facility, maybe it's the other way round. Neglect, the silence are, in fact, the question, the response to our answer, or call. They are two different things, say, like words and music, color and sound, touch and smell. The dynamic at the core of consciousness is discontinuity, emptiness, a stumbling, an uncertainty. Refusing to face this, do we presume neglect in the face of nature's indifference, in order, backhandedly, to assure ourselves that interest, attention, caring exist but that we're just not getting them, or a fair share at the moment?

That quarter hour of celebrity — or is it ten minutes? — hasn't yet done away with the correlative to 'being neglected,' or has it? The rediscovery of lost genius provides a clear restorative to our information engorgement, our knowing everything instantaneously. How could this have eluded us? It's gone, now it's back: a kind of peekaboo gratification.

So if neglect can be a creative necessity, why not make it a virtue? Let its warrant confer a certain transparency on how we hold onto things, onto artistic aspirations. Let neglect instil in us a weakening, a letting go, at least of design. Want what you get and shun what will never be yours. Willful intention is put aside in favor of "come what may," thereby avoiding that usual result of abandoning dialectic: common sense doing away with imagination. Who would dare write a poem, their first poem, if they stared long and hard at all the poetry that comes before them? Though this sidesteps the greater issue, poetry no longer provides absolute authority; nothing has any justification in our culture unless it creates capital. Does it sell? We assume public standing is measured by how lovingly the social order embraces us. The household name. Of course, the obvious reason for this pervasive, democratic  sense of neglect is the lack of regard poetry has in our culture. And perhaps, too, the lack of regard poetry has for our culture. But do we have a serious culture apart from what we call popular culture?

What is the difference between art and entertainment? There is still a difference between them, isn't there? Though I am amazed when intelligent, sensitive colleagues dismiss what I regard as a good film because they didn't find the main characters sympathetic. Do we put down Remembrance of Things Past because the narrator seems wishy-washy? Or walk out of Uncle Vanya when everyone on stage gets vapid and silly? Or maybe the distinction that eludes us is between art and commerce.  Commerce suggests mammon. Not so much something done for the sake of an expected outcome — everything has an outcome — but when we expect material gain from our effort. While that which is done for its own sake is art, and the artist is the person who cannot help doing it.

For that somewhat simplistic reason I've always considered myself 'a downtown poet' (as opposed to 'an uptown poet') and believed in being romantic rather than enlightened, which, for some reason, also meant believing in the poem 'out loud.' And that has led us from the coffee house to the slam. And to an apparent distinction between reading and performance. Performance is innately a form of self-absorption. It requires an adoring audience to applaud it. Reading? Well, there the desire is to instruct, to give the listener (who one hopes is also a reader) a simple sense of the poet's measure, his or her voice. The audience then is a momentary gathering of individuals who, again one hopes, will return to the poem in solitude. Or more precisely, return to the poem's solitude.

These issues are definitely public concerns, and need to be addressed as such in any discussion of poetry's neglect. However, what interests me most, which is to say temperamentally, are the private concern, the being neglected. How our everyday world regards this itself as a form of neglect. It is one's own fault. You have failed, not succeeded, on your chosen career track. You made a bad choice. You should have known there was no way to succeed at poetry. You should have chosen pharmacy or systems analysis. But it is precisely when I hear this so-called sensible counsel that I take heart at the bravery of anyone who chooses to write poetry. Though eventually, or maybe initially, one has to ask, "Why do it?" What is writing poetry for? That is, after realizing one can't shake off the compulsion to do it. Poetry, in and of itself, the poem, let's say, can't generate significant profit. A career, yes. But that's poetry embedded in some context other than itself. One can be a poet and teach, or edit, or lecture. But one can't be a poet, and nothing else, and eat without some form of inheritance or charity on hand. This, I am thankful for: It allows me to imagine an Epicurean monasticism which oddly enough eases the sense of being neglected by providing it shelter.

Though what to do about immortality? Didn't being neglected amount to vanishing? Isn't that the real risk? Since I began publishing in 1968 there has been a steady paper trail of appearances or mentions. Likewise, there were enough good personal libraries where, read or unread, my books sat on shelves. So the work exists. It wouldn't be too hard to find when my name bobbed up, or someone decided to track me down. Late modernism is full of such discoveries. Besides, the chance of being forgotten is as certain as death.

These last twenty years several fellow poets — talented younger ones, admired peers, and esteemed elders — have all said I'm under-published. Was this my fault? Or some fact of nature? When I was nineteen I was told not to worry about publishing. It would happen. One thing would lead to another. Don't chase the prey but learn where it feeds and waters, and wait there for it to come. The important thing was to write, write, write. In fact, publishing too early could be bad for your work's natural progress. Nonetheless, poems of mine started appearing regularly in little magazines before I graduated from college, and the manuscript of my first book was accepted by a respected small press at the same time. I didn't pursue any of this, it just happened, albeit through the agency of teachers and friends — but, and this strikes me as important, without self-promotion. In the late 70s a small magazine had a grant from the NEA to do, among other things, an issue devoted to my work. Although everything was ready to go, the contributions solicited and in place, it never appeared. I can't remember why. Though I did read the contents post mortem. This attention was marked by an eventual slowing halt which gave me pause. I sat and thought. I paced the room and talked out loud to myself. I wrote down topics, areas, heading of my life on scraps of paper and arranged them on the table in front of me. After several years of this, what seemed certain was that in any given situation, you can stay where you are; withdraw; or press forward. An odd situation. It wasn't that I'd stopped writing poetry, or even that I'd stopped publishing it. I felt like I was remaining stationary while my public / publishing body was withdrawing. But maybe it was the other way round. It appeared to me to be a matter of editors not asking to see work, for some reason or another. Was I over the hill? Or did I just not pan out?

But then I look over what's there of mine unpublished. Poems, yes, but translations of Beowulf, the I Ching, the libretto of an opera. Should these have been put forward a little more aggressively? I don't know. These were never projects undertaken with that end in mind. These were months, years spent learning how to write. Commissions coming somehow from poetry itself. Passions pursued. A classicist once looked over a couple odes by Pindar I'd translated and said: "These are lively, you certainly could get them published any number of places; but X has done a complete odes, and Y is working on one too. You need to do what Pound did. Find someone whose work has never been or has been obscurely translated into English; dazzle us with a discovery!"  At the time this struck me as wrong-headed, if not some essential aesthetic betrayal, a kind of sacrifice to mammon. It still does, though now it's odd to realize that in some ways I'd allowed myself to become just such an obscure or undiscovered hopeful in order to justify neglect.

I grew up in Seattle where the shadow of Theodore Roethke loomed large. Classmates of mine had older siblings who'd been in his writing workshop where — we had heard stories — much emphasis was put on the name to write under, what magazine to send which poem to, and how to make your regional images appeal to a national audience. All of this, even then, struck me as another screwiness of America post World War Two. Writing, it seemed, wasn't about writing, it was about getting into print. Were we talking about poems or corn flakes?

In the heyday of support for the arts a couple grants and fellowships came my way. I applied for more, but the process sickened me. It felt like competition, something that threatens rather than nurtures creativity. Why not make artists solicit support not for themselves but for fellow artists? I proposed this to two foundations. It would be easy. The application and selection processes would go undisturbed. Essentially, they explained, the grants are there, and getting one doesn't involve philanthropy. Rather it's a form of free market enterprise.

There were so many poets who wanted to get into print that by my late forties I felt I should step aside; in effect become neglected. I'd had more than a fair share of not wide but close attention; and at least three 'ideal readers.' So too, I'd been lucky, always having the time to write when I needed or wanted it. Perhaps that's why I think about being neglected the way I do. But who's to say that my luck isn't the result of always writing when I needed or wanted to?

There is no doubt we feel neglect, but what exactly do we expect  its opposite to be? Publication? Readers? Prizes? Positions? Money, fame, sex? Or at least peer recognition — the poet's poet? But maybe one should seek anonymity. The act of writing implies publication, yet the very nature of language means the text is never its author. Certainly poetry is the supreme example of this split. The immediate danger, then, is the author's being public, or seeking a public. A readership's expectation, the economic strings, and the power plays they form create the containment and control that force the wealth of the textual ambiguity into an accessible poverty.

Do we really seek power when we seek fame? The promise is happiness, la bonne heure, the apt moment and its well-being. Or to seek fame, to knock on the House of Fortune's door, is that a reaching after immortality? No, again what we want is happiness. To be comfortable with our fears and desires. Not to worry about what is coming up behind us, or waiting there before us. We need to be sincerely thankful for whatever support we do have; and generous with that which we offer. Nor do we need to have a reason or an end to our grief (unhappiness) but to accept, not resist it. Pushing pain away contaminates it, muddies its surface and hides its depth.

This strikes me as worth the risk of being neglected. The etymology of the word itself is instructive: from Latin neglerere, which means 'not chosen,' 'not picked up.' Deeper down in glerere lurks 'reading' and 'belonging'. Not being read. Not belonging. So maybe after all the fear is of rejection. Isn't it odd, I hold what I deem a common apprehension, that although my work has full merit, it may not be fully acknowledged. I don't think any amount of self-promotion could allay that. It is part of life in this age. In India they say only whores need to advertise. Every one else's talent and accomplishment are self-evident. But that idea belongs to a village culture. As poets today we face the fear of being left out, of not belonging to the company whose poems are immortal, much less read. Neglect is an emptiness which would show us, were we to let it, that everything is dependant upon everything else. Were we to think seriously about this the creative originality we so cherish, and the isolating powers of genius would begin to assume very different positions in our aesthetic hierarchies.

I went about fifteen years without publishing a book, apart from two beautiful limited editions de luxe. This alarmed me, but then I asked myself, what do you expect? Were these the cold feet that came along with being neglected? I wasn't afraid of being underrated, but of not being rated at all. Loss is a very real condition. Though isn't this an actual given in the feat of writing itself? This vital ambiguity thrills when the writer has no idea at all about where things will go, or if they'll go at all. At that moment, in it in fact, the uncertainty of perception itself opens wide. As does the certainty that every thought can be cancelled by the thought that follows it. There is no looking back; or if one does, self-destruction leers. I think of the dying Virgil insisting that the Aeneid must be burned. There can be no art, no poetry until consciousness sinks into the undetermined, sinks without the assurance of  safe passage or of a return. That is why beginning to write anything is so fearful. There is nothing there except the blank page and the urge to fill it. No amount of preliminary work allays the perturbation: Notes, outlines, clippings, memories, ideas, desires, these depend upon habit and temperament which are no use starting the process anew. At this edge the poem, the essay, the letter is approached but not touched, concealed. That gladness at the heart of writing affirms this indefinite, almost erotic moment of departure, anticipation's lure. Nonetheless, the veil never falls away completely to reveal desire's answer. The lights go out and one isn't even sure if what was hidden remains in the room, much less whether you or the room are still there.

The Romantics's goal was realized in Modernism's attempt to move all time and all space out of personal indeterminacy into a unified continuum. We have mid-twentieth century art to thank for showing us that at the center of all activity lies possibility, and that to reach that vital center requires experiment. This deep, inexhaustible core receives from and gives back to the individual's experience what is essential, abundant, and unchanging in the human condition. This is the underlying nature of all change, and the eighteenth century dream of a universitas literarum. Process leads not only to accomplishment, but to furtherance.

Yet I remember wanting to write poems that seized these grave powerful issues, which would deliver me unto my creative maturity. But all that came were momentary details and their mysterious pleasures. I could get no further than ces bonnes heures. That great ease called happiness, an anonymous confidence, like that the fork has when it falls to the floor. It never doubts where it will land. Just as part of the eye accepts illumination and organizes it. When this information flows out, up into the brain it becomes active and conscious; an energy whose charge continuously feeds upon an uncomplicated sensitivity to light. Yet a fraction of an inch, toward the nose, away from the yellow fleck of the optic disc, on both sides, there is a point where the eye is pierced by nerves carrying electrical impulses and blood. These fire and nourish sight. That only part on the surface of the retina from which the power of vision is absent, we call the "the blind spot."

So it is, perception itself contains a fault. A dead zone usually unnoticed. The bit of the visual field covered by the blind spot in one eye is recovered by the sensitive area in the other. A simple, almost innocent duplicity, nonetheless, profoundly located and disclosed in the passage of sensation into consciousness. Our various and startling aesthetic experiments and experiences convince us that this phenomenon abides, innate to both the objective world and 'vision' itself. Reflected inside the protrusions of the forebrain, visual acuity maintains neither symmetry nor identity. In short, the brain adds substantially to the report it receives from the eye. Much of what we see is made up.

Perhaps neglect functions in a like manner. Rather than 'functions' and 'like manner' should I say, neglect is a blind, a form of concealment and hiding away. Certainly the acceptance of neglect and deliberate marginalizing of oneself has a monastic color. Withdrawal encourages silence, the blank page.

An image's flash, inspired x-ray, and sudden flare of phrase provide the poet with essential materials. Word and line literally resolve upon language as abrupt discharge, controlled penetration, and peripheral phenomena. Simple representation, however, would violate these more exquisite, intimate attentions. No longer just its pencil, writing provides poetry's outline, smudge, or erasure. We are led away from the central object in the field of "literature." The gentle hand, cupped to the lips, holding something back suddenly explodes. Eventually we recognise echoes, unmistakable but meagre evidence of interior speech. Unpredicted consequence is deliberately allowed to obliterate its source, setting itself free through seemingly accidental, incidental eventualities.

There's no reason not to be ecstatic and romantic about this; or not to believe it is neglect itself that projects such an experience. Isn't it much more interesting to see the supposed apathy with which the world regards the poet 's work as creative uncertainty, or its shadow, rather the product of some psychological or sociological imagination? When one agrees to suffer neglect, however real or illusory, to not care, the poetry doesn't end.

Let's be grateful that poetry has no market force. Of and in itself, the poem on a page makes a previously valuable blank sheet of paper worthless. I have earned almost no money from poems. But who has? Poetry may not have made me a living, but it certainly has given me a life. Which is to say, it has given me the absolute pleasure of writing. Why else do something so difficult, so unreliable. Sometimes an effortless hallucination, more often thorny. I take comfort in the gathering and obvious evidence that historically writing precedes reading. There were texts before there were people who knew what to do with them. In an ancient Russian fairy tale a young man  shows a book of poems he has just written to his old teacher who slowly, intently leafs through it, then looks up at the ceiling, turns to him, and says, "No one is going to know how fine these poems are. You have written a book that has no reader." Or none yet?

An interesting and remarkable development of these issues, almost in spite of itself, takes place in Guru Dutt's 1957 Bollywood musical Pyaasa. A deep breath: ... and the young brilliant poet, Vijay, cannot get his poems published because they address the all too human condition of failure, poverty, and loss; themes anathema to poetry's primary supporters, the educated Bourgeoisie. However, all the poemsof his that we hear sung by the usual playback singers celebrate the beloved's smile, the petals that fall in spring, and the wind that brings clouds of love, pain, and rain. He is forsaken by friends, cast out by his brothers, and humiliated by a cruel publisher who employs Vijay for the sole purpose of mocking and dismissing his talent. The only person who believes in him is a beautiful streetwalker, Gulab, who had unwittingly bought a sheaf of poems the poet's brothers sold for waste paper. One thing after another, and Vijay jumps in front of an oncoming train. Apparently all that survives is a manuscript called Shadows which Gulab arranges to get published. The book is a run away success. Meanwhile we find out Vijay was not killed, but is hospitalized with amnesia. He awakens to his true identity when the nurse reads to him from the astoundingly popular Shadows. But the doctors decide he is delusional -- "We all know that the great Vijay is dead!"-- and they lock away this madman. But he escapes the asylum, and attends a conference honoring himself on the first anniversary of his suicide where, from the shadows, he begins to recite a poem. The crowd is stunned, but when he's brought onto stage, he denies being Vijay. Rather, he denies being the poet of Shadows , that Vijay is dead. When the world shuns you, you must shun the world. The material success of Shadows has been erected on the containment and manipulation of an erstwhile talent by its publisher, and then by the reading public. All that is now left for him is to go far away.

At its still source all language is schizophrenic, it fails constantly to mean what it says. The poem's uncomfortable, or rather terrible task is to uncover this fact over and over. The opposite of neglect must be the prodigy who by his or her very prodigiousness never fails to fulfill the absolute expectation of an educated (and paying) public. The flaw here is too much attention, though the spectacular brilliance fades with maturity. Maybe because poetry as performance waxes and wanes with a lunar regularity, its prodigies have been few and far between. Rimbaud?  On the other hand, he comes to mind, but isn't he more of an anti-prodigy, or anti-Christ who destroys the old order while initiating a new one, although his story follows closely the expected course? Flash of full blown, astounding accomplishment leading to an unexpected, sudden vanishing into the work itself -- which, in fact, the embedded narrative had anticipated from its onset, otherwise this wouldn't have been the tale it is.

When I showed this essay to an editor, he suggested that  it needed more recent examples, names named. But I had deliberately avoided doing that. Why recite them, they are always there? Every time I've talked to anyone about these matters, they've immediately responded with several examples, so it seemed to me that that wasn't what I was after. The poet who suddenly appears out of no where usually after they've died, sweeping the critical establishment off its feet. The poet who was lavishly praised and celebrated but suddenly vanishing, again, usually upon death. And so on...

While on this hand, and to persevere in this anonymity: I once met a poet laureate who not only knew my name, but mentioned a book of mine. Later a friend, right or wrong, tempered that flattery by pointing out that this fellow had no doubt sat on some prize or fellowship committee that had recently considered and then rejected me.  In short, perhaps a lack of newsiness weighs this discussion down with a wistful, Campari-like bitterness?

In traditional astrology, the tenth house is the house of fame and fortune, one's hard-won name in the world; but it is also the house of spiritual elevation. Apparently our search for success on a material plane is the reflection of our soul grappling after its own realization. As above, so below. Whether we know it or not, we all want to hear our true and hidden name said aloud, revealed. Even so, it has occurred to me that by its very nature this essay should have been published anonymously.


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