. . . in which I answer five questions about my writing life
Thanks to Patricia Comb for inviting me to take part in this writers blog tour. Patricia is the warm and witty author of the equally warm and witty Cafe’ Paradise series which had me in stitches. You can read an extract from Cafe’ Paradise here and insights into her writing life here.
Details of the next blogger on the tour can be found at the bottom of this post.
A Brief Intro-
In April of 2014, I took part in the NaPoWriMo challenge to write 30 poems in 30 days. Over 80 people took part, through my FB Page, in giving me prompts and subjects to write about. It was an extraordinary experience and quite an achievement too- not least of all because I also decided to paint my first watercolours!
Many folks have since asked me about my writing process during NaPoWriMo, so I thought this might be a good opportunity to reflect on it as well is poetry loving life in general. Please feel free to look back through this blog and enjoy the fruit of the challenge.
1. What are you currently working on?
I am working on three ongoing poetry collections.
Amid the Ruins- a collection of character studies which explore the responses of key people in the biblical narrative of Jesus’ death.
Trespassing- a collection of memoir poems which explore life and loss on the farm where I grew up as a child.
Northwoods- a collection of memoir and nature poems which focuses on the natural region in Northern Wisconsin.
I also continue to write rhythm and rhyme re-tellings of folk-tales and fables which I regularly perform in my beloved vocation as a storyteller.
2. How does your work differ from others in your genre?
On the whole, I feel it is unhelpful to compare ourselves and/or our work to others. As we become more of who we are, the more our own voices will emerge- and ring true.
That said, we all share common experiences and part of the function of poetry is to express that which is common to us all. My poetry is different because it is mine- but it is also universal in its themes.
I also think it impossible not to somehow ‘stand on the shoulders’ of those who have gone before. I am deeply humbled by the handful of times that folks have detected even the slightest hint of Frost, Thoreau, Kooser or Kenyon in some of my offerings. Aspiration is a good thing!
3. Why do you write what you do?
I write poetry for largely personal reasons. I find the process deeply therapeutic and meditative; wholly engaging or completely distracting.
I began writing poetry an hour after my Father died when I was thirteen years old. I have never stopped and would not know how to survive without it.
4. How does your writing process work?
How I write poetry depends entirely on what I am writing. I used to only write poetry when I was depressed. I was as relieved as my beleaguered readers to discover- via my first excursion into a weekly poetry group – that I could write as a discipline whatever my mood! A voice of joy began to emerge too!
Most often I write poetry when the mood or inspiration takes me. However, the NaPoWriMo challenge forced me to focus, helped me to silence the inner critic and work differently. A layer of accountability was added to my writing and the process of painting has added yet another texture to the whole.
In general, though, my wiriting rituals usually involve a cup of hot chocolate or chai latte; my beautifully wood-burned poetry rocker or a walk somewhere of huge natural beauty; a notebook, pen and the stuff of life.
5. What’s new for you?
Many of the folks who took part in my NaPoWriMo challenge have expressed an interest in seeing the poems and paintings in print. Hence, I am currently thinking through how best to do this. I am also beginning to submit to journals- something which I have not yet done much of but finally feel ready for.
I am also really looking forward to doing more in the way of poetry readings and trying my skills at slam.
I now pass the ‘blog baton’ on to Poet, Publisher (gardening enthusiast and saxophonist) Colin Will. You can read his extensive and impressive bio here and insights into his writing life on Sunny Dunny’s Blog (after September 9th, 2014).