jumping sideways

28 November, 2009

The end of another week: only two left till the end of term*– which is quite frightening, really. I sent round three poems to the group yesterday: they’ll be my last to be critiqued at the workshop next week, until next term.

I got them sent round, but I have to say I’m frustrated that – so close to the end of term – I’m still struggling with the business of actually writing. I’m coming up against the usual procrastination, as well as a feeling of not knowing what I’m doing, where to start… (although once I have started, it’s not usually as difficult as I fear it will be – and in fact sometimes things do actually flow). I know it’s all a learning curve but I was rather hoping I’d have got into some good patterns by now. Well, onwards and upwards I guess.

Our tutor’s kept on encouraging us to push ourselves, to try something different, to ‘jump sideways’ and see where we land – and it doesn’t necessarily matter if things don’t ‘work’ as such. Last time I submitted a sequence in terza rima for the workshop, which was an experiment; this time round as well as a sonnet, which is the form I find comes most naturally to me, I tried to do something completely different in the two other pieces I wrote.

One – the first poem I’ve written in response to being dumped earlier on in the year – I just let take its own shape, which ended up being two fairly regular quatrains. Actually it was a really enjoyable piece to write, and it really did seem to know the form it wanted to be. So that was a good thing to find out: sometimes you can just see where the writing takes you.

The other I had thought I wanted to be my new advent piece (I didn’t really get anywhere with the one I was trying to write back in October), and I drew on a lot of biblical imagery for it. Again I thought I’d just let it feel its way down the page – I really wanted it to be free verse – but in the end it turned into seven lots of two couplets (it’s called ‘Seven ways of looking at the beloved’), and although the metre’s loose the couplets make it much more regular than I had imagined it might be. So again – nice to see that you can trust writing to tend to the form it might want to take. However the piece also turned out to be a lot more personal/cryptic/mysterious than I was expecting, so although it may well turn into something I really like, I doubt it’ll be going out on my Christmas cards this year. So that’s another surprise, and it means back to the drawing board for a completely new advent poem, or else try to resurrect the Saint Andrew idea I had last month. We’ll see. (In the mean time if you’d like to see any of these three pieces just leave a comment and I’ll e-mail them to you.)

So it’s been interesting to see that even as I’ve tried to jump sideways into writing differently (ie free verse, not set forms), my writing itself has done its own thing too. I suppose that’s quite heartening…


*hilariously I initially wrote ‘term’ as ‘time’. So if the world does end on the 12th of December, just remember that you heard it here first.

This post brought to you by all the music beginning with ‘B’, beautiful autumn sunshine, home-made soup and cooking with friends. Amen!

One Response to “jumping sideways”

  1. KB said

    I’d love to read them!

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