Tag Archives: the creative process

The Bliss of Solitude

I do enjoy the company of friends and, on average meet up for drinks and/or a meal, once or twice a week. I am especially fond of sitting near an open log fire, whilst enjoying a couple of pints with close friends in a traditional pub. I do, however also have the reputation of being fond of my own company which is, I think a trait shared by most (I suspect all) writers.

I well remember, on my 18th birthday, going to bed whilst the party was still in full swing. It was, after all my party and the person who’s party it is does, surely have the right to retire to bed when he chooses!

The need for my own space has remained with me, and one of the ways in which it manifests itself is in my need to be left alone when writing.

My need for solitude whilst writing is well provided for as I live alone, so can sit in my spare room (which I glorify with the title of study) and write undisturbed, other than by the occasional entrance of my guide dog who, on occasions nudges me with his cold wet nose, or presents me with his blanket demanding attention!

When writing, I usually ignore the ringing of my landline and turn my mobile off. I do answer the door in case of it being a delivery. But other than that I am, whilst writing fairly antisocial.

To be interrupted while composing a poem is very irritating. It breaks my flow and its often difficult (sometimes impossible) to return to the poem as the moment of inspiration has been lost.

So engrossed in my writing do I become that I have been known, whilst making a cup of coffee but with my mind still on writing, to put the jar of coffee in the fridge or to pour cold water into my cup. As I say, don’t disturb me when writing!

As I said at the beginning of this post, I do enjoy the company of family and friends. However, when family come to stay (or I go to visit them), I find it difficult to write unless I am in a separate room, with the door closed, or they go out of the house. So, when other people are around I tend to wait until I have a room to myself or they go out shopping!

There is, of course a balance to be struck as regards my need for quiet whilst writing, and the common courtesies one must observe when staying with others. I love time spent with family and friends but there will always be a part of me which craves (and needs) what Wordsworth described as “the bliss of solitude”.

Kevin

Words Thrown Out

Words thrown out
Dance about
And float into the sky
Or, as lead balloons, die.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Blogging From The Perspective Of A Poet?

Licence to use image obtained – Copyright: 3dlabs2015 / 123RF Stock Photo

What are the pros and cons of blogging from the perspective of a poet? To answer this question one needs to consider matters which touch wholly on poetry, and issues pertaining to blogging more generally. The below should be read baring in mind the caveat that (to state the blatantly obvious) poets are individuals and what works for one will not (necessarily) work for another. With that caveat on the table, here are my pros and cons.

Pros

1. Publishing your poetry on a blog brings it to the attention of a wide audience. The poet gains followers who, in turn spread the word regarding the poet’s work, thereby increasing the blog’s following and enhancing the exposure of the poet’s writing.
2. Having a blog allows the poet to publicise upcoming poetry readings and, of course provide links to their published works (if such exist) on platforms such as Amazon.
3. One of the questions asked when I signed up for an Audio Book Creation Exchange (ACX) account was along the lines of “do you have a blog/website and, if so how many followers do you have?” From the perspective of ACX, they want to know that books published on their platform will sell and a person with an online following has an obvious advantage when it comes to selling books, as (to state the obvious) the more people who are aware of your writing (poetry or otherwise) the greater the number of titles you are (potentially at least) likely to sell.
4. Having a blog enables poets to connect with fellow poets thereby building up a community of like minded individuals.

Cons:

1. Responding to comments can be time consuming (time the poet could be spending writing). One can, of course disable comments on a WordPress blog (WordPress being my platform of choice). However (in my view) a blog without the ability to comment is a dead thing. Comments equal vibrancy and engagement which is why I positively welcome them.
2. Blog followers do not (necessarily) equate to book sales. People follow blogs for many and diverse reasons and some (having subscribed) will forget about your blog and never comment and/or like posts.
3. If all (or significant numbers of your poems) appear online, why should readers buy your books? (they have, after all already read your poems online).
4. Poems published online may (as with any other form of writing) be stolen. One can (and should) include a Copyright Notice on your site. This will, however not prevent the possibility of theft.

Conclusion

If I were not of the view that blogging is not of advantage to me as a poet, I would cease to blog. The fact that I continue to publish and engage online demonstrates that I believe the pros of blogging (from the poets perspective) outweigh the cons.

Scorpions Of The Mind

I find
That scorpions of the mind
Run rampant in sleep.
To keep
Them at bay
I shall away
And write.

They caper
On paper.
But the thing
Is they will
Return to sting
And bite.
At night.
Therefore To still
The thing that would kill
I must write.

“Oh, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!
Thou know’st that Banquo, and his Fleance, lives”.
Macbeth: Act 3, scene 2.

The 10 Worst Story Openings

An interesting article on “The 10 Worst Story Openings”, (http://lauralee1.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/10-ways-not-to-open-story.html). While I agree with some of the points made in this piece, getting hung up on how one should (or should not) begin a story can lead to a loss of spontaneity, with the writer worrying about the perfect (if such a thing exists) beginning rather than simply writing the best story they are capable of. Again what one reader perceives as being clichéd may well be regarded by others as constituting a great opening paragraph.

Kevin

Reread, Reread And Reread Again

You have spent eons polishing that poem. Read it through until the words swim like spectres before your eyes and, finally, being satisfied with the results of your labour pressed publish. What a feeling of satisfaction at a job well done flows through one when one’s perfectly crafted words our out there for the great reading public to pour over. A few days later you sit down and reread your pearls of wisdom. Oops your writing which seemed to constitute perfection personified suddenly reveals imperfections.
To take an example from my own work. Below is my poem “Fire” rendered twice. The first rendering appeared on this blog, newauthoronline.com and the second (polished) rewrite can be found in “Dalliance; A Collection of Poetry and Prose”.

Fire As It Appeared On Newauthoronline:

“I have felt the fire at midnight’s hour

It kindles brightly and sinks within the hour.

I have gazed at embers dying fast

Looked into the future and gazed into the past

I have raked the ashes cold, felt the bleakness in my soul”.

Fire As Published in “Dalliance: A Collection of Poetry and Prose”:

“I have felt the fire’s power;
It kindles brightly and sinks within the hour.
I have watched the embers dying fast;
Looked into the future and gazed into the past.
I have raked the ashes cold, felt the bleakness in my soul”.

In the first rendering the word “hour appears in the first and second lines while, in the second (rewrite)it is replaced by “power” in the first line. Again, in the original version the word “gazed” appears in lines 3 and 4 while, in the poem as published in “Dalliance” it is changed (in line 3 to “watched”, with “gazed” shown in line 4 only. Word repetition has a place in poetry. However in “Fire” the utilisation of “hour” and “gazed” so close together served to render my poem less than perfect, hence the rewrite.
Most of my writing takes place during daylight when my brain is firing on all cylinders. “Fire” was, if memory serves written during late evening which may explain in part at least the excessive repetition employed in the poem. The lesson I draw from all this is the importance of writing when one’s brain is at it’s sharpest or, if writing does take place when sleep is calling put one’s creation to one side and revisit it when the mind is fresh. Finally reread, reread and reread again.

For “Fire” as it appeared on my blog please go to (http://newauthoronline.com/2015/03/14/fire/). For “Dalliance; A Collection of Poetry and Prose” please visit (http://www.amazon.com/Dalliance-collection-poetry-prose-Morris-ebook/dp/B00QQVJC7E).

Kevin