Origin Story

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It’s the money shot of any superhero narrative: the story of how the hero came to be. How he earned his powers and what motivates his mission of justice.  I thought with such an increase in interest for the Song A Day adventure, I would try to answer the question I’ve been getting asked more frequently.

What the hell does ‘Poetry for Gravediggers’ mean, anyway?

Secret Origin is….I have no idea.  When I first made the decision to shift back from journalism to creative writing, I was under the impression that the two processes were completely removed: whereas journalistic writing, even blogging is a matter of discipline, getting over your own hangups and just putting the stuff down on the screen; creative writing I thought, at least for a while, was beholden to the whims of the muse, that I would sit in front of a typewriter stroking my beard and waiting for genius to strike.  The fast and hard truth you quickly learn is that creative writing and journalism aren’t all that different.  Both disciplines demand the same thing: putting your ass in the chair and puking it up whether it’s good or not.  This is not romantic, but it’s the truth.

But before I came to this understanding, I used to wait for the moments and they did come once in awhile, usually while I was brushing my teeth before bed. And one day the word ‘gravedigger’ flew in my head, and I thought the idea of juxtaposing something as ‘high’ as poetry with something as ‘low’ as gravedigging was interesting.  I thought I’d use it to title a short story collection and leave it to others to figure out.  It was written on a white board in our office for eight months and never really disappeared from my head. So when I decided to start a blog again, here we are.

Interesting thing, though. I’ve done some Wiki-level investigation of gravedigging [so take it all with liberal saltings], there’re some interesting factoids there.  Abe Lincoln was a gravedigger, for one. Most thought provoking is the way gravediggers are used as a metaphor in Marxist literature. In short, the gravediggers are the ones who supplant the ruling class.  The bourgeoisie were the gravediggers of the feudal system, but created their own gravediggers [the proletariat] in the process. The gravediggers are always trying to get over. So if this blog is supposed to be a chronicle of my attempts to make good work and get it published, it may very well be gravedigger’s poetry in the strictest sense.

Or it could be gibberish. You tell me.

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