In December 2016, I wrote the following in a google drive document called “What I Want To Achieve In My Writing.”
First, I am most concerned with writing something beautiful. That it have the clarity, catchiness, melancholy, humor, rhythm, tenderness and unity of thought that I love in writing, this is what I mean by beautiful.
Secondly, I hope to express what I mean. To accurately represent some thought or feeling, to show how it developed, to make it seen.
Thirdly, I will strive to make my writing Jewish. That is, it will reflect at least one of the complexities of Jewishness that are such a deeply entrenched part of my life. Something in every piece of my writing must be explicitly Jewish, as everything I say and do is affected by this identity. More simply put, I will tell Jewish stories.
Fourthly, I must attack fascism and authoritarianism at every possible turn. The cruelty of the Powerful Few against the people must be constantly exposed, mocked, scorned, decried, defeated.
I am reflecting on this document for two reasons, one personal, one political.
I’ve recently had work accepted into several literary magazines, and I’m wondering how well I did on these goals in pieces that are becoming my first public writing to a larger audience. I do not know if I am far enough away from those pieces to evaluate them. I do not know if I can make a fair judgement one way or another. I do know that these considerations were indeed at the forefront of my mind as I wrote the pieces that are being published. Perhaps that’s enough.
The political reflections involve, of course, the last point, and the recent election of Joe Biden. I am not so naive as to believe that Fascism as a threat will recede with the election of a doddering moderate, no matter how far he may be pushed left. It’s not that I’m concerned that I’ll need to give up the fight against Fascism in my writing. Rather, I am wondering how the struggle to outwrite Fascism will shift, grow and change in a world where Neoliberalism rules the day? What new tactics will I need in my poetry when I must remind the reader that the enemy is still here, when it is hiding behind technocrats?