Monday, September 05, 2011

The Art of Practice

Goal in Life:  Never to waste a three-day weekend.

~



So here we are on morning of Labor Day.  I am putting away my white shoes and white pants, which is easy as I own neither.

Here's a secret I haven't shared with you, a pre-Confession Tuesday confession-- I have completely forgotten how to write a poem.

I'll be honest, this summer, I didn't write.

I edited.  I read poems for Crab Creek Review.  I went camping.  I watched people dig up my yard.  I read.  It feels as if drank wine more evenings than not.  I went to see The Go-Go's in concert. I worked so much on a poetry eBook anthology of contemporary women poets.

But I really didn't write.

It was actually funny getting together with Susan Rich to write last Thursday.  We would use first lines from other poets to get us writing and then realize, the best line in our entire poem was the other poet's!  At one poem I had used an image that included the AARP (ah, I did some terrible writing that day).  But here's the thing, as we wrote, we got better.

And by the end of our 90 minutes of 7-8 minute writing prompts, we each had something new to work on.

So while I realize that while I have no idea how to write a poem anymore, I will if I write daily.  I will arrive to the blank white field ready to hit a homerun if I practice more and stretch my mind each day.

Some people do not have to write daily to write well.  I am not one of those people.  And if not daily, then at least several times a week.  Without writing daily or every other day, I become the old player aching around with nothing interesting to say.  

I need to be a working writer, a practicing writer. I am not Babe Ruth in the World Series pointing to center field and hitting a home run. I am the kid with a stick and rock in a field of wildflowers. And the more I swing, the more rocks I hit.

And by rocks, I mean poems.




2 comments:

Nicole Rushin said...

I was wondering if your books will be available at any time in e-book format?

Lyle Daggett said...

I'm always interested in the process people have for writing. I find that I don't necessarily need to write every day -- I don't necessarily need to put words down on paper daily.

I do, though, always spend at least a little time every day with my notebook open in front of me. Writing seems to go in wave cycles for me, sometimes more active, sometimes more dormant with nothing coming out for days at at time, sometimes squeaking the stuff out a few lines at at time.

Even if all I do is sit with my notebook open for a while, and nothing wants to come out, that seems to be enough -- as long as I do that regularly (every day, as much as I can manage that -- and I usually can), even if I don't actually write something down on paper that day, I've done the necessary interior work. As long as I keep up that much of a daily practice, once the poem stuff is ready to come out, it generally will.

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