One possibility, as always, is to surf the web for some idea, some sentence, some passing thought that connects with how I feel (Feelings are Facts is the title of dance and film artist Yvonne Rainer's new memoir published by The MIT Press. It's reviewed in by the New York Times here).
Tooling around net space, I came across this thought from Charles Bernstein writing about Barbara Guest:
...her work is not an extension of herself—herself expressed—that is, not a direct expression of her feelings or subjectivity, but rather is defined by the textual composition of an aesthetic space—herself (itself) defined.My gut tells me that by poetically hacking into aesthetic space without feeling the need to express myself, I then unconsciously compose my work as a network of internally generated feelings intersubjectively jamming with the external world (and that as poet, it's my job to pick up the vibes [signals] that are coming in). Some would say that this is old-school thinking, in which case I am feeling old school today. But keep in mind that that last sentence is not a direct expression of my feelings per se and may be the gut itself awakening.
Is it possible that the itself Bernstein refers to when writing "herself (itself) defined" is itself a feeling being de-defined?
In Rainer's book, she includes both dairy entries from her youth as well as extracts from some of the dialogues and pseudo-autobiographhical voiceovers in her films. In other words, she turns to blogging the itself and something I am calling personal subtitling. In one of the diary entries written in 1951 at the age of seventeen, Rainer writes:
It is only with the conviction that [his] love will arouse the Good that lies dormant behind every soul's facade of hypocrisy and selfishness that one should seriously try to eradicate the querelous cries of the ego. For hypocrisy is itself hypocrisy, murky water that obscures the face of the seeking self.Itself, de-defined.