If I were to summarize the emotional process I go through when I write, it would look something like this:
Some might be confused about the ending — why wouldn’t I feel sheer exuberance at a piece’s publication? The explanation I offer is this: to write is to bear a story. It means I try that story on. It lives within me. I allow it to change me. It is a serious joy to bear a story until it becomes an offering, no longer mine.
It can be lonely at times, too. Especially when I’m in the middle phase of the process. (My family would say it’s not much fun for them, either.) For many, it’s helpful to talk about how they’re feeling during this time. This works wonders for my dear friend Sonya, and though at first it made me nervous when she’d discuss her writing frustrations, to see what came out of those conversations makes me feel privileged to be one of her behind-the-scenes people.
I turn to poetry. I try to read a poem every day but when I’m “down in the depths,” poetry is my true companion in helping me bring a story forth. I think this is because I don’t easily understand poetry, and when I’m reading it during a time I don’t easily understand my story, looking for words that pop, images that are vivid, and metaphors that strike within poems gives me hope. I guess a poem shows me what I can do with what I don’t understand.
Reading poetry helps me move forward and allow the story I’m writing to become what it needs to become. This is how change happens. This is how an offering is given. This is how the life of a story leaves me so a new one can begin.
This week, consider beginning a poetry notebook. I’ve built mine using Megan Willome’s suggestions in The Joy of Poetry:
Title, Author, Date
What do you think?
What phrases do you like?
I’ve added this prompt at well:
I notice….I wonder….
This week, share some of your favorite poems – either ones you’ve written, or ones you’ve read.
Here are some pictures of my poetry journal:
Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s poetry prompt. Here’s one from Maureen we enjoyed:
Among the fallen
that day we find
enough to build
a secret village, maybe
ours, in a magic forest
in an arboretum
with uneven, windy
trails to walk running
the river we fear
is slowing on its own
time, in its own way,
but always welcoming
us to experience this
place of uncertainty,
and wonder, of the hidden
we know to leave alone.
A Writer’s Dream Book
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