Thursday, January 18, 2007

Notes on Manuscript #2

I'm just back from a walk and I've decided on my manuscript title. I'm not posting it today, but if you're interested, drop me an email. My second manuscript is in alphabetical order and explores the relationship between writer and reader, speaker and listener. It also explores the issues of trying to write about subjects that are important, but to have language and words get in the way. Funny for an English major to say, but sometimes I feel I have to make up my own words to find the right words.

It's similar to trying to talk with God, who has the words? How do you speak in a spiritual sense? Language is a tool, but it's also a buffer. It keeps one separated from the true feeling of something. If you're reading about something or speaking about it, you're not experiencing it.

For me, someone who is never quite sure of her feelings, poems allow me to explore what is happening and how I see something. I've always been intrigued by people who know how they are feeling, I don't. I may feel a certain way, but I can't put a title to it--like anger, grief, or bitterness--but what I can do is connect it with an actual thing like: padlock, stillbirth, pincers.

I think this is why I write. I can't tell you how I'm feeling, but I can show you. And I never feel one way about something--I live it the world of gray, the fog moving across an island, one day I may visit there, the next I'm on a hillside. I see all sides of the moon and if I can't see it, then I imagine it the craters. I would much rather answer you in a letter as it allows me the time to understand what I'm thinking. The act of writing is so much easier for me than speaking. And I think I pull myself back from the world because the intensity of my "feelings" can be too great. I will spend too much time rethinking what I said and how it came out. I think this is why I love the the act of writing--a poem doesn't become yours until it's done, until it's perfect, until I understand what I am trying to say.


  1. A number of years ago I came to understand that writing is my primary language. I can usually say what I want to say when I talk, but if I really want to make sure, writing is best. If I'm trying to learn how to do something complicated, I like it to be written down or I write it down myself.

    I think poetry happens when we have feelings that aren't simple or clearcut, feelings with a variety of shadings and textures and contradictions. I rarely have the urge to write if what I'm feeling is easy to identify, if I know immediately that I'm angry or sad or happy. Poems seem to want complex and varied experience. Poems like irregular shapes. A mountain ridge or a broken window, rather than the technological perfection of a finely shaped ball bearing or a precisely ground lens.

  2. I think poetry happens when we have feelings that aren't simple or clearcut, feelings with a variety of shadings and textures and contradictions

    Yes. No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.

    If you know what you're talking about, it seldom brings you into that makes poetry interesting--that complex world where the energy comes from.


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