A Thief of Fire

“Every form of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he consumes all the poisons in him, keeping only their quintessences.”—Rimbaud

In his letter to Paul Demeny in 1871, Arthur Rimbaud wrote that the first step for a would-be poet is to study himself entirely. He must look for his soul, inspect it, learn it. And then, as soon as he knows his soul, he must cultivate it. Rimbaud goes on to depict a poet as truly being a thief of fire, and charges that humanity is his responsibility.

Sometimes I wonder if I wholly know myself. At times it seems as though there is no fire within left to cultivate. Sodden with polluted news and contaminated social media, I must now wade through all the muck inside myself in order to navigate through the mess outside. I want to create again, to be passionate, to explore anew the wonder and strangeness that is all around and inside me.

I will reclaim my humanity by seeking to understand myself and the world around me.

Today I started writing in a red wirebound notebook. I visited the memory of a young boy sitting in the elbow of a tree as he watches a man by the river throw a canvas bag into the water. I have decided to write at least a page each day in my notebook over the next year. This notebook will be used primarily for creative writing and poetry.

Today I also created this blog. Although blogging now seems obsolete in this age of social media, I plan to write and publish a post every day for the next year as well. I’m sure I’ll regret this decision within the month, but I’m committed to seeing this process through. My hope is that this daily discipline will help me to focus more intently, think more deeply, and ultimately know myself better.

There is thievery ahead.


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