psychic creative territory

22 January, 2010

Apologies for missing the last two scheduled posts. No excuse, really, aside from the battle to get into good working/writing/studying rhythms. (And, er, meeting with mixed success.)

Speaking of which, one of the many fascinating things about my optional module this term the theory and practice of fiction is hearing about other peoples’ writing habits. As the name would suggest it’s a very practical course, and we began last week with the real nitty gritty of discussions around exactly how and when we write, for how long all that kind of stuff. And it was very encouraging to hear the range of responses, with some people clocking on religiously to write four hours a day, others working in bursts, and some writing to deadlines. Profoundly reassuring that there’s no one regimented way to do things.

The first thing we were encouraged to think about and share with the class was our own ‘psychic creative territory’: that bit of you that creates the impulse to write; the things you’re interested in. Our tutor suggested that that’s one of the things that can’t be taught, but has to be discovered for yourself, and that it’s good to keep a hold on it recognising too that it can and does change over time. I think that perhaps that’s quite a prose/fiction-based question, and I find it difficult to answer in terms of the poetry I write, although if I were forced to say something I’d probably say something about the beauty of things fitting together. Or perhaps the relationship between beauty and loneliness. But from the little fiction that I’ve been working on for the last few years, the answer is immediate: ideas of escape and of finding home, and the relationship between those two impulses. Perhaps that applies to my poetry too, to some extent, but I’m not sure. Hmm. I’ll continue to ponder.

Next week will be my first turn to be workshopped this term, and with a new group and a new tutor it’s bound to be quite different from last term. I’m looking forward to it. I’m just about to send round three poems: my Plough Monday piece, a short piece called ‘Cam Ceiliog‘ and a sonnet about the Broderers’ Guild at Norwich Cathedral. It feels good to be writing again, after the sweat of finishing off last term’s work to submit as coursework. Although it feels just as agonising…

I’ll leave you with something that this term’s tutor mentioned in our workshop this week, which could be a possible answer to the question of my emotional terrain in poetry: all art is about sex, death or the making of art. And once you realise that, you can get over yourself a little bit.

One Response to “psychic creative territory”

  1. pupski said

    It’s quite a difficult question to answer and I agree it is probably a bit harder to define for poets than for prose writers. I also think that it can change over time too. I think that mine at the moment is the relationship between the past and the present, the idea of alienation and the beauty that resides within ugliness.

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