So, once again, I ran off to Telluride for a couple of days. And, once again, I was there for Talking Gourds, their monthly poetry gathering/reading. And, yup, once again, I was very glad to have gone, and I had a difficult time leaving.
One big difference, this go-around, was getting to spend some time with Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, without there being some writerly thing bringing us together. We met at my favorite place in Telluride to have breakfast, and spent a good and solid hour and a half, discussing all sorts of things. For all the times we’ve otherwise met and crossed paths, this was the first time we’ve been able to spend more than a mere handful of minutes talking and being together.
Pretty much the full brunt of what got talked about revolved around poetry and writing. It’s one of the strongest things we have in common, so it was the easiest subject to discuss. Also, I got the ball rolling in that particular direction by asking Rosemerry a question, pretty quickly after she and I had gotten settled in.
“How does one determine the caliber of their writing?” I admit, this is yet another version of my wondering, asking, whether my writing matters. Well, it didn’t take very long at all for this question to be dissipated, kinda tossed aside, and moved beyond to other things. But, still, it was never truly abandoned. We flitted and flirted around it for the rest of our time together.
In a real and true sense, this question “doesn’t belong.” Writing is not a competition. You’re not going up against other writers, trying to surpass them. Each time you write, you’re to be as present as possible, remaining both aware and open as much as you’re able. All the while, as with every other aspect of your life, you’re to be fully and cleanly yourself. Crafting to the best of your abilities is the only caliber that matters. Where your writing stands in comparison to that of others’ is none of your concern. Also, to once again quote Michelle Kodis, “Comparison is the root of all unhappiness.”
So… how does one determine the caliber of their writing? By whether you’ve written (at least) to the full extent of your capabilities. And, once again, you’re not going up against any other writer/poet/essayist. Writing, all art in fact, isn’t a competition. Rather, if it’s anything, it’s a collaboration.