"Autobiographies of great nations are written in three manuscripts – a book of deeds, a book of words, and a book of art.
Of the three, I would choose the latter as truest testimony." - Sir Kenneth Smith, Great Civilisations

"I must write each day without fail, not so much for the success of the work, as in order not to get out of my routine." - Leo Tolstoy

I have never believed that one should wait until one is inspired because I think the pleasures of not writing are so
great that if you ever start indulging them you will never write again. - John Updike

"The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour
is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it." - J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Writing Progress Thus Far

I would like to say at the onset that I reserve the right to ramble in these blogs and not have to think about how I'm going to say something. More simply, my blogs are not how I write but a form of personal communication about what I am doing. Thanks for allowing me this unstructured pleasure.

As earlier mentioned last month, I have been working through both recent and older poems I've written and am glad I have. Many were in serious need of editing after reviewing them. Maybe because I'm becoming less rusty at writing or because I can better critique my past writings. Whatever it is, I find that this has become a necessary task once a poem has been produced and has laid in the closet for awhile simmering and aging.

For example, the Celtic poem I had written changed again when I added 4 end-verses to it. It took a cool allegory and gave it wings so that it tied all previous verses back to itself and to each other. Thus giving to the poem more flexibility and freedom.

As another example, the poem "Looking Glass" was six months old and in great need of repair and updating. After which it seemed to be able to fairly "sing" on its own. If I had not looked at it then its flaws would not have been seen.

Thus, by allowing several months or more to go by I can better re-visualize what I was trying to say originally and can more immediately see the errors within that piece. That, and the fact that my writing skills are slowly improving so that I have more ideas that I can add with a larger vocabulary and greater personal familiarity with stylistic differences.

Overall my word-pictures seem to be getting better and I am becoming more comfortable mixing my metaphors and themes in new integrated ways that provide quicker apprehension and sensual binding of the reader to the main themes.
I'm also discovering that language is very fluid because of its symbolic nature and cultural context and that to say something simply may be impossible yet the most practical and important task to work on. Succinctness and conveyance have been my greatest struggles and best rewards.

And then there is the element of meter; I had one poem I had written several months ago set in the standard 4-line meter form. But however much I tried to make it work (upon re-edit) I found it simply wasn't working. And so I changed it around to 9-line meter which is irregular and offbeat in rhythm. That changed made the entire poem so much better I couldn't believe it! Who would've thought?! By allowing it to speak to me on its own terms instead of on my own terms, and by learning to listening to it rather than forcing it into something it was not for, made all the difference. Thus, I'm learning that each poem is unique and requires me to better listen to what it is trying to say.

RE Slater
September 16, 2009