Tuesday, August 19, 2008

thinking reading & writing

My characters come alive when I write them and very often I am acting entire scenes out while writing ... or so it would seem to anyone watching me. This is great for writing dialogue because when you speak your characters' lines you know when they ring true.
DD says he never did this before but by watching me he observes how it helps me. I do this with my narrative poetry as well. I love friends with keen ears too. I like to read to people from my book or new poetry. Either. Somehow either way - I'm not exactly what you expect me to be. I've been compared to post modernist and confessional style poets but the truth is, at the time I was being accused of following or imitating them, I had never read Ginsberg or Sylvia Plath. I was too busy writing 10 to 30 page term papers several times each term. I didn't have time for much else besides being a part time mom. Back then, I didn't do a lot of creative writing except for my journals. I went to Columbia for 8 straight years to get a B.A. & M.S.W.. Before that was me & my GED.
It's kind of amazing when you consider that drop out Joy became the ivy league drop in and now has two masters degrees. Colombia is tough and competitive - I kid you not. To maintain a 3.3 average is a full time job. After I
finally graduated and settled into a J. O. B., I began writing again. It's hard out here for us poets and writers.
The point is that sometimes it's a deterrent when you really are difficult to pigeonhole. When you sound truly like you and no one else - it's harder to fit in anyplace. People say they want creative and unique because that is what we're all trained to say. The truth is sometimes the feeling you get from reading someone and feeling uncomfortable can be ok too and has its own power. Not everyone can love me or you or anyone else's work. Some people are naturally more controversial and colorful. It's the way life goes. "Explore ... Search for more, no more prisoners of war..."
Celebrating page 170 on my grind plus maintaining this blog and writing poetry too...
Oh and I forgot and working on the magazine and two anthologies!

Reading writing ... equals living - how what you read can affect what you write.

Right now I'm reading Carl Hiaasen's Nature Girl and recently finished Juno Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Also in the past year, I have read a lot from Elizabeth Benedict, who analyzes and fully understands the depths of her characters. The point of all this is that in the last two days of writing I feel my style being freed up and am more willing to take risks with my writing style, which is also fun. When I read Diaz, I noted how sometimes I had been amazed at certain turns of speech he used because I had used the same exact turn of words in dialogues. Coincidence or perhaps observational skills. Some of his language was very flavorful. In thinking more about that I realized that there are many are euphemisms and dialectical familiarities specific to people who have lived in the Heights or maybe I could spread that to include the whole of the northeast.
These thoughts and feelings brought me a step further in my novel writing. On around page 90 of my novel I started to cut loose more. Another thing I've begun to do, is to let some rhymes slip into my character's speech only when when they appear there on my tongue. Diaz inspired me to explore my own style more.
I have great respect for poets who write in form although mostly I tend not to. That said, I have pantoums and sestinas as well as quadrants, sonnets, lists & several others. The same with rhyme, I respect all poets who rhyme. I say what I mean to say if I rhyme or not in the spheres of time. DX always teases me and says I rhyme all the time when I speak so I don't have to rhyme in my poetry. He's prejudiced since he loves my poetry.
I have always read a great deal my entire life and still do. Reading helps make us good writers. On occasion I like to imitate someone I like. Early on in this blog I have an imitation writing posted of Marguerite Duras. Check it. I also recently friended Marilyn Nelson (on FB) whose work I greatly admire. I actually wrote a poem imitating her style in a class in my Masters writing program. Maybe I'll post it & maybe not. I'll think about it.