I was reading/reading about Mary Ruefle this morning and this caught my eye: "One of the most difficult things in life is to find the subtle balance between loving yourself too much and loving yourself too little." She goes on to say that self-adoration is bad and so is self-loathing. Then she wonders how we (writers) find the space in between.
It's a good question. I loathe myself regularly. Self-adoration? Not so much. But neither condition lasts very long. What I enjoy the most is flux. The journey in between the disgust and the ardor. For me, anyway, it's a space of great energy. The tatters of loathing are stripped away and before I can put on the robes of adoration I'm nothing but bodiless moxie. In those moments the writing problems get solved: the poem that wouldn't end ends. The story without a focus focuses.
Let's say I adore myself a bit right after that. It's a good time to revise, to shine that light on the work. But it's just as true for loathing. It has a murky and tenebrous beam that is as useful as its more brilliant (and more celebrated) counterpart.
I'll close, as usual, with a bit of poetry. This time a line from a Raphael Allison poem:
"The song poured over thorns and I took my time.'
Good advice. There will always be thorns, but there are songs too and, really, what's the hurry?