Sorry for not getting here yesterday. Unexpected out-of- town visitors. I am not dropping the discussion on critique, but would really like to give Neil some time to do some writing, and techie things. So, today we are going to take a look at something referred to as taboo words.
Writing, and especially poetry, has to grab the reader’s attention. That means it needs to give a fresh look to whatever it addresses. A new perspective to that which is common, or universal. We accomplish that with the words we use. If the words have been used over and over again, the reader might move on before even finishing because “he’s heard it all before.” These worn out and over-used words might be defined as Taboo, meaning they should not be used, unless that can be accomplished in a new way, or with new and different meaning (how often does that happen?).
Both of the words tears and heart-broken, are taboo words. They’ve simply been over done. And maybe, if we refrain from using them in our poems, for a couple of hundred years, they might actually come back into fashion, for a short time. Other ways of saying taboo, for writers, are cliché, hackneyed, trite, or stereotypical descriptions. All of them point to a loss, or lack, of originality, ingenuity, and impact.
One of the questions I would pose for you today, would be about how you accomplish staying fresh and original. What things do you do that not only refresh your writing, but also refuel your sources? How do you feed your muse? Kick yourself in the butt, or get yourself moving and engaged in new and different ways?
I do that in several ways. Photography (strictly amateurish), reading, and by doing what I call active meditation, which is getting my hands busy while letting my mind float and drift. Writing is creative and that energy source must be refueled regularly. At the moment, I’m doodling, doing pen and ink images with lines and patterns. It may look like nonsense to other eyes, but it is about finding balance between dark and light, making connections by creating new pathways, and finding a sense of harmony and satisfaction. And all of those things fuel the source of my writing.
Julia Cameron, in her book, The Artists Way, suggests that to keep our creativity fresh and refueled, we should take ourselves out on an Artist’s Date, at least once a week. Taking time to give ourselves new experiences, gives us new images to play with and a search for new words to write about those experiences. What do you think of that idea? Do you regularly, or periodically, take yourself to new places, new shops, museums, movies etc.?
The reason I ask is because we all have lists of personal taboo words, as well. Words we might, or should refrain from using, ones we have used a bit too often. It is interesting to go back through ones own writing and check for those same old, same old words and strike them from use for a time. Refusing to use them, forces us to find new ways of saying whatever we choose to express.
These are just a few thoughts and suggestions for this week’s discussion. If there is anything else you would like to bring to the table, now is the time to do so.