Monday, July 19, 2010

I think by this point we can safely affirm

that my resolution to update every three days has been a failure. Oh well.

I have been sticking to my writing, though. Not only am I making progress on Baptism for the Dead (even trying some experimental stuff I've never done before with writing...and liking it! We'll see whether it stays after revisions, though) but I am writing a poem a day and posting them on Facebook.

I only recently became interested in poetry, due in large part to the influence of my writers' group (from which I am taking a brief hiatus -- hope to be back soon). Most of the participants write poetry and their enthusiasm for it has infected me a bit. I've been reading a lot of it lately, and I've tried my hand at it with moderate success. I believe I've written something like twenty poems by this point.

The thing I like about poetry is that it forces a writer to convey mood or image in as few words as possible. I am all for embellished, drawn-out writing -- I love juicy writing and I'll gladly drool all over it -- Fitzgerald, Nabokov, etc. -- and I've never really gotten into the prose writers who are famous for their concise style (Hemingway, etc.). I mean, just look. I put three em dashes in the preceding sentence, for corn's sake. But I need to learn to write in a short, spare style, too. I think a writer can never have too many gadgets in her toolkit.

Poetry -- reading and writing -- has been an excellent teacher for me. I feel that I am getting better and stronger and faster (read: more confident) with poetry, much like Bicentennial Man. My word choices are becoming more precise and easier to decide upon, I'm paying much greater attention to devices such as internal rhyme, repetition, consonance, and how words will sound when read aloud -- and of course all this carries over into my prose-writing. I am feeling so good about the impact poetry has made on my prose that I would like to suggest that any of you reading this blog who are also writers should make a serious attempt at learning how to a) appreciate and b) write poetry. A good start for me was Steve Kowit's book In the Palm of Your Hand.

Stepping up my game and writing a poem a day has been a wise move for me. I've only been at it for five days, but it's kept me more focused on writing in general (I should say even more focused) and it has made me spend more of my non-writing time musing over words and images. What will make a good poem for today? What am I feeling right now? What imagery is sticking in my head? What do I want to make readers feel? All day, not just when I sit down to hammer out my daily quota of words.

It's not so much discipline as neurosis, really.

Anyway, I might decide eventually to post my daily poems here. That would make me focus a little more on writing some kind of content for the blog. We'll see. In the meantime, if you feel like following me on Facebook, you'll have to do so under my "real" name, Libbie Mistretta (note: not technically my real name, either.) I mostly whine about my writing on Facebook, and/or post silly links, and/or update my wordcount for whatever novel I'm working on.

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