Discussion # 15: What To Discuss

First of all, I’d like to thank Irene, Mike, and Paula for sharing those pieces of their story last week. Sometimes, poetry makes it easier to say, doesn’t it? Perhaps that is one of the reasons we are attracted to it.

It’s been a difficult week here. I’m fresh out of ideas, so decided that would be the next discussion. What would you like to discuss about writing and the writing life? Fresh ideas would be a great help. Is there a question you would like to address to the group? Maybe an idea you have been playing with for a while, or a concept you have been trying to find a way to broach. Whatever it is, please discuss whatever you would like to put before the group.

Thanks, Elizabeth

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About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: http://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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11 Responses to Discussion # 15: What To Discuss

  1. Tilly Bud says:

    I’d like to know how people generate ideas (NOT how they deal with writer’s block).

    I keep notebooks and I jot down items of interest, stick in news articles, overheard speech, the usual thing. Does anyone have any unusual methods?

  2. neil reid says:

    Hi Tilly, Elizabeth,
    (Working to lift my head out of the soup of distractions.)

    Often it is more like, what do I do with all these ideas for poems.

    I do keep notes, jot ideas for poems, first lines sometimes, however the bulk of those never see daylight. Maybe that’s still a useful process, like simmering the soup – even if later, another day I write something completely different anyway. Is that all unrelated? Couldn’t prove it, but I don’t think so.

    An expression one hears, not infrequently, is that a poem simply “landed on me”, and a lot of my writing begins that way. Often just one seedling line arrives that sounds a ripe chord to me, then the rest grows from that point. I think a lot has to do with a “readiness” to listen and receive. (Sometimes I think that makes me look more dumb, like what did I have to do with writing the poem? How do I take credit for that? Maybe that don’t matter.)

    Reading other writers, that too is a productive resource. Some one line may set me off on my merry tangent. It is a collaborative existence.

    One vital key in all this for me is immediacy. What I pay attention to right now and begin to write – that makes it to a finished poem for me. (Storage means stale to me.) Maybe I’ve got a short attention span! Or limited memory! Just an “idea” is not enough; there needs be that spark, else it goes to sleep.

    While I have, more rarely, studied, assembled notes, thought and thought, such poems are the most difficult, or better described – “heavy” to deal with, less likely to find a happy ending. Thinking too much makes either mud or nothing for me. Swift impressions find the relationships of word and phrase that interest and inspire poems the way I write.

    (Editing is a different process, but we’re not looking at that here.)

    I don’t however think any of this is an “unusual method”, just how it works for me.

  3. anl4 says:

    I have been in a conflict lately between the word and the image. I have been looking for an image, as though I have lost or misplaced it. I doesn’t seem I have much trouble writing. Thank you for the discussion.

  4. pmwanken says:

    Elizabeth: Thank YOU for sharing your story with us…and for faithfully facilitating this discussion page. I have loved having this resource/outlet/conversation place. I had some ideas for discussion topics–I’ll see if I can remember them and send them your way.

    Tilly: As for generating ideas…mostly, I use prompts. And, though I’m not sure how it happens, the prompt paints a picture in my head and I find the words to describe it. (Or, if it’s a wordle, I rearrange the words to fit the picture.) And another interesting thing that I have found happening is the way different parts of my life flow together…something I heard at church will overlap with a song I heard on the radio, and then a poetry prompt will tie it all together. And then I write.

    Neil: I know what you mean about sounding like I had nothing to do with the poem when it just “lands there” when I am writing! Like I just said, above, some of the prompts paint the picture and I just rearrange the words. I agree with the immediacy, to a certain extent. I can have a thought banging around inside my head for a few days before I sit down to use it in my writing. But once I do–I must see it through. Because I’ve written so few poems, I can remember most of the year’s worth of experiences, and can say with great certainty there have been only a handful of poems that I have started one day and finished another. If I don’t finish in one sitting, it’s like the moment has passed and gone forever. That is a bit how I feel about ideas or lines, or whatever, that I have jotted down to “save for later.” They mean little or nothing to me later. It’s as if once written down, it stops simmering. So I just let the thoughts rattle around in my head until I have time to write. (This also says something about the LOW number of ideas I have….if I were teeming with them, I wouldn’t be able to let them rattle around….hmmm…..)

    Annell: See my note, above, regarding images that come to me. I don’t think I could ever paint or draw the images that come to mind….I’m just grateful I can put words on paper enough to give a glimpse of what I saw in my mind’s eye.

    Have a great week, all…
    ~ Paula

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  6. margo roby says:

    Elizabeth – always good to see you, in a manner of speaking. I am so sorry you are having a difficult week. Here’s hoping the difficulties are resolved soon.
    Some possibilities for discussion are: 1] Okay, you have poems, now what? 2] I like Tilly’s idea, too, and it can be put again. As you see, people already have things to say. 3] How about: What do you find easy about writing poetry and what do you find difficult ? [the possibility here of breaking the topic into two discussions]. 4] Several people have been having a rough time of it lately. A possibility for discussion is whether we use the rough patches we go through as resource material, or catharsis, or both. 5] The last leads into or can be combined with: Is the speaker in your poems always/ever/never you? And, who is your intended audience.
    I hope you will be able to take a couple of those and turn them into the thoughtful essays you give us to get us started.
    margo

  7. Mike Patrick says:

    Paula mentioned to me the other day that she still isn’t sure of what her voice is. That got me thinking, what is my voice? I don’t know if I’m settling into a “voice” or still casting around. I know I prefer narrative or lyric poems. I prefer using rhyme and meter. I’m not wild about syllable counting poems. But what am I? What is my voice?

    I find myself writing more and more free verse—that goes against my rhyme and meter preference, but I’m trying to use internal rhymes, alliteration, sibilance, assonance and consonance—terms I didn’t even know three months ago. Has my voice changed? I starting to feel like I’m going through adolescence again.

    Does a poet’s voice change from poem to poem? I’m only one person; at least, so far only my wife thinks I’m psychotic, so do I have a personal style?

    That might be something to throw into the hat for discussion.

    • margo roby says:

      Voice would be a good discussion, Mike. I considered doing it for my Thursday Thoughts but as there is the speaker’s voice vs. the poet’s voice, I decided to leave it. I think in this forum it would be a great topic.
      Another possibility, to add to my list, is something about the websites we all visit. They can be divided into categories: where do you go to read poetry, to read good essays on writing, to …how do you choose the web sites you visit regularly? This is still a little vague, but has possibilities.

  8. Pingback: Friday Freeforall: Prompt Your Weekend Away Redux « Margo Roby: Wordgathering

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