Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Southern Oregonian writer Amy Miller recently asked me to join the  My Writing Process Blog Tour. Amy is the author of  several Poetry books including Botanica, Tea Before Questions, The Mechanics of Rescue and Beautiful/Brutal: Poems About Cats.  I though it might be kind of fun until I really started thinking about the questions.  Yes, each participant addresses the same four questions about their writing. Amy Blogs as Writer's Island and her Writing Process Tour post is linked here. I really did have to do some deep thinking about these.

QUESTION #1: What are you working on?

Honestly finding my way out of the forest.

I'm in the very early stages of working on a poetry manuscript themed on a ballpark that is slated for demolition. A ballpark much maligned, but one that I loved and the juxtaposition between the fans hope with its conception and what it came to symbolize. I irony of affection shown for it in it's final home-stand.

I'm toying with some other offshoots of several of the stronger poems I've written in the past - hoping to gain traction  with other themed collections as well. I'm bridging my time reworking older drafts and keeping my mind open to new poems..

I plan to work with another poet this fall on some poems possibly for the ballpark project. Hoping to find my way out of that forest I mentioned.  I've found that it is helpful for me to get some coaching from someone whose poetic voice resonates well with me. It's a little like a therapist seeing another therapist. We all need a head-check at times if nothing else, just to know things are working.

QUESTION #2: How does your voice differ with others of it's genre?

Enough, I hope. This is always a fear of mine.  Make it different, change things up Take the refrigerator  and lay it on the side... think about it differently and hope your readers will see something different.

I believe poets especially are expected to think outside the box. So that's whee it has to start. Finding some originality in your craft.  Part of it is your voice. Getting comfortable in your own skin. Feeling it is safe to take ownership of your voice. A distinctive voice, playing with the tone, the language... putting the "ive" on create.

I tend to bring a big tool box to my craft. I like to use sarcasm, humor, seriousness. Go dark or light sometimes within the same poem. I love art that is has dissonance.  I especially like the abstract but you are more likely to see it sprinkled in my work then overtaking it.

QUESTION #3: Why do I write what I do?  

It happens. Just happens. I've found it works far better to let the ideas come to you than to pick specific things to pursue.  When I've tried to guide the conversation with the poem - things seem forced. I am rarely happy with the outcome. Once I've started on something that has come to me
I try above all else to let the poem say what it wants. I can fine tune in rewrite but it's best if it follows the path of least resistance. The process should be like water and flow downhill to the conclusion.

QUESTION #4 How does your writing process work? 

Sometimes I find it helpful to write with background noise. It can be music. I have a couple of play lists I will write to Spotify.  Sometime I use a program that simulate noise in a coffee shop or just use white noise to drown out distractions and things that would interrupt me.

The biggest help has been my writing studio. I can better control the the climate, the noise, interruptions, lighting, etc. I used to tell myself I could write anywhere, and I could, but the quality of writing sitting in the room with television on really did suffer.

Sometimes I will start on paper, usually in my journal then take it to my laptop to refine. I prefer writing with a fountain pen. Seriously, I feel more creative with one in my hand. I mostly use one on my 9-5 job as well.

Poems on rare occasion will come together quickly - but most of the time the process is more like a fine wine aging and the poems will not be seen anytime soon in the real world.


I was to tag a couple other writes that I wanted to join us on the blog  tour. Unfortunately so many on my list it seems have already participated or did not have blogs (seriously?)

Fortunately one of the first that I thought of was Jessica Smith.  Of those I tagged, I heard back from Jessica and she was delighted to participate. She will join us next Thursday.

In the meantime, here is Jessica's Bio:

Jessica Smith, Founding Editor of Foursquare and name magazines, serves as the Librarian for Indian Springs School, where she curates the Indian Springs School Visiting Writers Series. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, she received her B.A. in English and Comparative Literature: Language Theory, M.A. in Comparative Literature, and M.L.S. from SUNY Buffalo, where she participated in the Poetics Program. She is the author of numerous chapbooks including mnemotechnics (above/ground 2013) and two full-length books of poetry, Organic Furniture Cellar (Outside Voices 2006) and Life-List (Chax Press 2015).

Jessica Blogs at Looktouch

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