Writing Life, Writing On Writing

On Whose Authority Am I Writing?

I’m working on a book. I’m making an outline from my notes. I found this and it tickled me. “I don’t know if any publisher is going to want to publish anything authoritative that I say pretty much just came out of my own butt.”

All too true. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

-M.

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66 Day Poetry Habit, Announcements

Day 11 of my 66 Day Poetry Habit

I wrote a poem today but you’re not going to see it. I feel like hell and today’s poem shows it. But I wanted to be accountable, so here’s me being accountable and running a haggard eleventh lap with one seriously shitty poem tucked under my shirt. Nothing to see here. Nothing at all to see.

-M.

(Day 11 of my 66 Day Poetry Habit)

Writing Life, Writing On Writing

Context! Context! I Hear It in My Sleep

My poetry often tends toward context-less sketches.

Today’s, for example, is just about wings—red, crepe paper wings. There is no big meaning. There is no money line. It’s just…. here’s this picture. Is there beauty there?

Does poetry need a money line, or is the image enough? Is it enough to sketch and offer the sketch without offering an interpretation of the sketch?

I feel like it is but just about everyone I’ve ever encountered either teaching a workshop or participating in a workshop with me thinks differently.

I painted red, crepe-paper wings today standing up to a hurricane. That’s it. No context. No background to give you an idea of where the “wearer of the wings” is, where she came from, or who she is. I think the picture is pretty enough on its own. If a visual artist had to go into a long expository about what the pearl meant and why it was significant and what that girl was doing there and why her head was turned that way and the deeper meaning you should get out of it, it would be an unsuccessful painting. I feel the same can be true of some poems.

Here. Here’s the picture. Sometimes that’s enough.

Sometimes money lines get tiresome.

This could be me simply justifying bad poetic behavior—a naughty habit like the creative equivalent of hanging up the phone without saying “good-bye” or “I love you.” I’m not above rationalization. I may be above context, but not rationalization. Never rationalization.

How important is context really? How much can I get away with, or, more to the point, how little?

Am I a minimalist, or am I lazy?

Anthony Hopkins looks into the camera and asks, “Am I a good man, or a bad man?”

-M.

Writing Life

While procrastinating folding the laundry, I found a book about how to overcome procrastination. I was looking for a writing course to have something to do instead of folding the laundry. I found the book on procrastination. Now I’m posting about the book on procrastination instead of folding the laundry.

-M.

Writing Life

I’m going to Disneyland today. We are leaving at six. I got up at two to make sure I had time to journal, write a poem to keep up my poem-a-day streak, post my poem in two different places, work on my major craft project, and write for my book before I had to start getting ready. This is me… crowing. Somebody get me some Gatorade and a sling. My throat is dry and my back-patting arm is broken.

-M.

Writing Life, Writing On Writing

Sometimes I lay into it and declare stridently that my prose is so much better than poetry. It occurred to me this morning that that’s probably just a way of giving myself an excuse to punk out on writing poetry to the best of my ability. This composition stuff can be hard and scary as hell sometimes.

-M.