My song for you

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3rd or maybe 4th draft is finished and as you can see, I have a title for my new poem.  Not ready to be published here quite yet but I thought I would share the creative process that has gone into this poem.

A letter

My most recent work, My Song for You (working title), came from an exercise at my writing group that I didn’t find very easy.  We were asked to write a letter to a friend we hadn’t seen for a long time.

I don’t know about you, but I just don’t write letters anymore!  I write emails and I write texts but they are, by nature, brief and functional.  When are we going to dinner?  What time are you home?  – that kind of thing….people I haven’t seen for a while, I have been facebooking, and usually as a response to their post so it has a context….

I always hated writing letters when I was a child, although I did try but they always sounded so…..trite.  And I remain  in awe of people who write beautiful letters.

But I like poetry so I turned my letter into a poem…

The poem

The first draft was a 15 minute exercise and since then, I have been wrestling with the imagery.

The back story for the poem proved to be the most important issue initially – why were these two people divided, what divided them, why can’t they get back together?  The questions that I asked myself took almost as long as writing the poem.  They were important though and provided a framework for the words.

And then the imagery.  When I produced my 2nd draft and offered it for reading, the poem was interpreted as a relationship of violence, of abuse and that so wasn’t what I wanted to convey.

Shame has spun me round, chained my wrists

Blinkered my eyes, slammed me against the wall….

This workshopping effect is really important as I didn’t want that interpretation – it was supposed to be altogether much more loving than that.

So back to the drafting.

A poem that focused on the lives of two people that have been separated by time, I realised that there was too much of just one person in it and it was important that both lives were evident.

Most importantly though, I also had my favourite lines in it that I didn’t want to lose…..and yet they are now gone.  Why?  Dr Johnson advised writers to ‘read over [your] composition and wherever you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.’ (Sansom, p50)  If you read poems aloud (and I think, that this is really important), those ‘fine’ passages stick in your throat…and if they do that, get them gone!

Yes, doing so left a big hole but in its place is room for the subtle effect, which leaves the reader back in charge of the interpretation.

Time to get back to it, for a final or maybe 5th revision!

Happy writing!

 

Dr Johnson’s quote comes from Peter Sansom’s book, Writing Poems published by Bloodaxe Books (1997)

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Frenzy

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I am juggling a lot of balls at the moment but it’s all good; I seem to be having a creative frenzy with words spilling from me in all directions.  I’ve got a children’s story, a couple of poems and the seedling of a novel all under way together.  That’s my excuse for less blogging recently!

It has been quite a long time since I have had quite so many things on the go at once; college was probably the last time and that was always chaos.  Older and wiser, it’s all a lot calmer with no deadlines to meet except my own need to draft and finish!  But wow, it’s exciting!  Every time I sit down to watch TV, I end up with a pen in my hand!

I have just this minute finished a 2nd draft of a poem and I am feeling very pleased with the result.  But I know, now it’s time to shove it in the drawer for a few months and let it mature.

Still, that lets me move onto the next thing…..

How’s your creativity doing today?  Are you feeling blocked or frenetic? I’d love to hear from you all!