I've written at great length, on this blog, about the problems of the contemporary world that preoccupy me. Homogenization. Globalization. The death of tradition. The sidelining of poetry.
But increasingly, I find myself asking what I'm doing about it, and feeling the urge to do something about it. Some kind of protest, or gesture, or stand.
And it's challenging for me, because I'm a shy and retiring sort of chap. I find it very difficult to do anything extroverted.
And yet I feel, by their very nature, the problems that preoccupy me require a more extroverted response than simply writing. That they require taking to the street-- or the supermarket, or the pub, or the other theatres of ordinary life.
My aborted novel, The Cross, in which the central character decides to carry a cross through the streets of Dublin, was an attempt to dramatize this urge.
I've seriously considered forming a group to distribute sheets of poetry outside supermarkets. Anything to disrupt the bovine soullessness of contemporary life.
The supermarket especially upsets me. It seems a provocation that such hideously utilitarian, characterless, consumerist places should be so complacently endured. But people spend far more time in supermarkets than they do in theatres or arts centres or cinemas or galleries.
But the supermarket is only a particularly galling example. I can't reconcile myself to the fact that most daily life is utterly banal, rootless, drained of the transcendent or the poetic.
Other things are fuelling this restlesness, this sense of malaise. I posted this on Facebook yesterday, to no response:
I've stopped keeping a diary after five years. It just became too much of a task. That was weeks ago. However, I've now found myself wondering about the value of the unrecorded moment, the unrecorded day. What value does experience have in itself? How does any given moment relate to your whole life? Where do the words go when they are wiped off the blackboard? Or, to quote Rod McKuen, what does it matter what's done in the day after the day is done? Are some parts of life meaningful and is the rest just about getting to those parts, or can it all be meaningful? Facebook, give me answers.
I wasn't really expecting answers from Facebook, of course.
This is where my head is at. I am bothered by things which seem to bother hardly anyone else, and the task of putting them into words is also troubling me.