blog tour: my writing process

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.

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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…).

instead, maybe you can visit both marilyn’s and jeff’s blogs and see whose blogs they have nominated for the tour.

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.

sorry rachael.