i’ve been nominated by my good friend justin million to take part in this blog tour series about my writing process. i was nominated along with two talented ottawa poets, marilyn irwin & jeff blackman, whose blogs you should definitely go read right now (not just for their writing tour posts, and not just because they’re my friends!).
1. What am I working on?
currently i’m forcing myself through napowrimo, so i’ve been writing and posting a poem once a day on this blog, every day, for the month of april. i wouldn’t say they’re great poems (or even good ones) (yet), but i really needed something to encourage me to start writing again. even if it’s just a line or two i can turn into something else later.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
not really sure how to answer this question. like marilyn said, which genre? i think my poetry differs from other poetry because it’s my poetry and not someone else’s, and that’s pretty much it.
3. Why do I write what I do?
when i was a lot younger i wrote just to get thoughts on paper. in high school the only real poems i wrote were for english assignments. i didn’t take poetry writing seriously until i was around 20.
now it’s about remembering. and documenting. i have a terrible memory (like, really, i mean i can’t remember even simple things i have been taught over and over again), but i want to remember everything. that’s not to say that all of my poems are written about a personal experience, because most of them aren’t actually “about” my own life at all. but i always include something, even just a single line or word, that connects me to a particular moment. a smell, a sight, the way a man’s neck looked sunburned above his T-shirt in 2010.
i have this need to connect these insignificant moments to something else, something more important, to remember why they were so meaningful to me at the time. i would feel guilty forgetting and i would feel guilty obsessing, so i turn them into something else entirely and i know i won’t forget them.
4. How does your writing process work?
slowly, mostly, line by line. i like a line, i add to it later, i take something away, i re-write the added lines, i remove the original line altogether, i throw in words that don’t fit, i make them fit, i take my time. i’m still going back and changing poems i wrote five years ago.
i never commit myself to anything. i’ve taken lines from old poems and put them into short fiction. i’ve broken longer pieces of prose into multiple short poems. and i read, read, re-read, edit, change, edit. then i force myself to stop and it goes on the blog.
but that process can take years. it’s rare that i’m comfortable with a poem within the first six months of its existence, although that happens too.
that process has been abandoned for napowrimo, obviously. i write a line and then i write another line. i go back and re-write, but too quickly; i throw in words that don’t fit and then neglect to make them fit. it’s still just a process.
thanks for reading my blog tour.! i was supposed to nominate some people to continue the blog tour next week, and i tried, really. but the people i asked had either already been asked, or they didn’t want to share their blogs, or i didn’t ask for a bio in time and i have no idea if they are actually planning to participate at all (chris…).
also, please visit rachael simpson’s blog. she originally nominated me for this blog tour and i don’t think i even responded to her because i was so busy and it seemed so complicated. it wasn’t until justin suggested it that i took the time to figure it out.