So, this is part of a fun blogger’s initiative called a “Blog Hop.” Here’s how it works. I was invited by writer/poet friend, Lesley-Anne Evans, to join what amounts to a writer’s pyramid scheme. The rules of the game? Tag three other bloggers, all of whom will answer four questions about writing and the writing process. We post two weeks after the previous crew. Therefore, every two weeks, the number of bloggers posting grows exponentially!
The goal is simple – to connect writers who blog in a tighter community and hopefully, enrich others looking for answers to their own writing questions. Lesley-Anne is a gifted writer and poet who spends much of her time beautifying neighborhoods, cafes, street corners…wherever really, with poetry “installations.” She also does a fun thing called “Pop-up Poetry.” To see her contribution, click here.
1) What am I working on?
These days, apparently, poetry is the language I speak. I’m learning to speak this language with more weight (as Lesley-Anne would say!), clarity, and authenticity. But also, simplicity. The degree to which my language learning translates into quality production remains to be seen. But, like my poetry, I’m a work in progress.
I’m pleased and proud to be an active participant in the process of broadening the literary/artistic voice in the Yakima Valley. This is a valley of varied, often harsh, beauty. Many poets, writers, artists, and musicians have stepped up to sing her praises. Recently I was chosen as one of thirty-four poets to contribute poetry for a mixed media art show featuring the work of local photographers. The event? Light Write. Read more about it here.
A snapshot of my work and process will soon be available on an exciting new Facebook chat room, Altarwork. Alongside finishing a new EP with my son, Calum as producer, I’m working on a book of sacred prayers, poetry and liturgy, listening for a book of poetry to emerge with the working title, The Beauty of Wasted Space and helping my wife in her own process of writing a novel.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
On one level, I’m not so sure it does. However, as a poet, I am deeply influenced by old school poets. But, I seek to bring their influence to my own emerging voice, all the while writing in more contemporary genres. It gives a certain “traditional non-conventionality” to it.
I am an advocate of language for its own sake. The beauty of the words themselves brings a joy that predates the images and meanings derived from those meanings. But I also love the challenges offered poets from adapting ideas and thoughts to preexisting forms. It’s my tip of the hat to iambic pentameter, triangle poetry, Haiku or sonnets!
3) Why do I write what I do?
My words here will echo every other writer I’ve ever heard who’ve answered this question. I write because it is a compulsion. That compulsion might be out of anger or frustration surrounding some issue about which I need to weigh in, usually for my own conscience! More often than not I write because I’m inspired to ‘word up’ what I see in the world around me. My experience of that world yields a seemingly endless supply of emotional detritus needing to find its way out. When it does, I’m either writing and/or composing.
For me, poetry is contemplative prayer. It is as much a spiritual exercise as it is literary, and one of the primary ways by which I connect to my center and to the Sacred Center of all things. What is most freeing about this arrangement is how seriously and, at the same time, laissez faire, I can take my approach to the art. At least right now, it grows from much that is yet un-mined in my spirit. If you’re okay with it, I am too.
4) How does my writing process work?
Assuming the process actually does “work”, it differs depending upon what I write. It has also changed. In terms of poetry, it is becoming more about less. It was at one time a game of output. Now, it’s more about input. I read much more poetry than I ever write.
Composing prose is more an act of ‘pin the tail on the donkey.’ I chase around an elusive gem that needs to be caught, tamed just enough to stay on the page, and released back into the world for the consumption of other hungry readers. I have discovered that writing works best for me when I simply barf up whatever is bubbling in my literary stomach and then ‘read the leavings’ for anything substantial, worthy of further consideration. I’m not generally an outline kinda guy!
Well, that’s it for now. Thanks for listening! For the next stop on the blog hop, I’ve tagged the following stellar individuals.
Seymour Jacklin is one of those delightful serendipities. A fellow ex-pat, he is becoming my friend alongside his considerable skill as a poet, blogger, editor, educator, and story-teller. We’re also mutual fans and players of Celtic music! Hear him play right…here.
Kelly Belmonte is a recent friend, having met online as mutual admirer’s of one another’s work. She’s a wonderful writer and a deep soul. But, rather than just tell you, you need to go and discover more about her right…here.
Paul Bowman and I began a friendship journey in 2008 when sharing a cohort in an MA in Spiritual Formation and Leadership from Spring Arbor University. We’ve since graduated from that program and are supportive of each other’s quest to spread salt and light through words to a thirsty world. Find out more about him, his writer-wife and gorgeous kids right…here.
If the next blog hop posts aren’t up by July 14, please check again in a few days. Thanks for playing along and your support of online writing!