You know about “found poems,” right? Those poems you create from a collection of words or phrases found in a piece of literature? Found poems can be fun, and they can be a way to jump start your own writing for the day. I once found a poem in Mein Kampf — can you believe it? It wasn't pretty, of course. It was ugly and nasty, just like the author, but there it was and I couldn't help but cobble it together.
So what's found wisdom? Well, it's not something you cobble together, but something you find when you pick up a book at random and open the pages. Lately, I've been going through my bookshelves, which is a frightening, daunting, time-consuming (and sneeze-inducing) task. I have hundreds of books and some tough decisions to make regarding them. Some of my books are old, given to me or found in musty old bookstores halfway around the world.
One such book is called Caravan by Nobel winner John Galsworthy (of The Forsyte Saga fame.) This copy is a 1929 hardcover edition. I can here admit that I had never cracked the book open before today. Caravan is an assembly of short stories, but it's Galsworthy's foreward that hooked my interest. Here is a bit of wisdom for every writer.
Like some long caravan bearing merchandise of sorts, the tales of a writer wind through the desert of indifference towards the oasis of public favour. Whether they ever arrive, or drift to death among the shifting sands of popular taste, lies on the knees of the gods–their author has no say. When he has mustered and sent them forth, he may retire and squat afresh on the carpet of vision, having done all he can.
Whoa, is that wisdom for the ages or what? I love it. The desert of indifference. Geez, does it get any better than that?
(Now where the hell did I misplace my carpet of vision…..?)