Monday, May 20, 2013

Disconnecting Our Writing from Life

By Laurie Epps

As writers, we observe and capture life's moments. Sometimes we forget that the two aren't all inclusive of each other. We can be writing about a memory, or about something we are learning about. Writing is it's own art form, and we need to live in the moment to create and sculpt our ideas. Once we have manipulated those moments in time, space, or the recesses of our mind we spill them out onto the page in new ways to bring forth our ideas. Read on to learn about the cultivating process of purging these ideas and spilling them onto the page or screen.

Tap the Water Table
p. 32

The only way to get better at writing, is to just do it. A firm proponent of practicing, Goldberg suggests we just need to cultivate our inner voice. Those ideas are always there, just under the surface, just like the bedrock is just under the soil of the earth. You just have to tap it through repitition. There is sort of a commando approach to writing emerging here. Goldberg suggests that instead of learning about writing, be more proactive and just begin to do it.

Have you ever had an idea, and you knew it was there, but had a hard time conveying it? What did you do to make your idea emerge in written form? Share your thoughts with us below.

We Are Not the Poem
pp. 34-35

As a poet, this essay really spoke to me. If we are truly writers, we are not the poems we write, but yet we keep writing. Poems capture a mere vignette in time, a fleeting moment channeling through us. I tend to write a poem only to shelf it for a period of time. It might be months or weeks before I write another one. Oh sure, I may rewrite it, or take out a comma, but the body of it will remain intact. This essay was a little freeing for me because it doesn't mean my poem has to define me. It is merely a few moments in my life, captured for the world to see.

Do you have a poem that you think defines your character? My poem Gloria does for me. However, learning that it is not everything I am every given moment of the day is very liberating. Share with us below, if you have a poem that defines you.

Man Eats Car
pp. 36-38

There was a guy in India who ate a car.... kind of far-fetched to read that. The journalist in me is full of questions: "Did he drink the oil? Did it make him sick? Did he put on any weight? How long did it take him? How old was he? Will it lead to medical problems? What kind of car is it?" on and on.... But Goldberg goes on to say, that as writers, we should just write. Don't overanalyze whether or not our metaphors make sense or not. We need to free ourselves to just write and worry about our analogies later. Re-read it when you're sure you're finished; it is in these uninhibited moments we create our most vivid imagery. (Thus, breathe life into our writing.) Think beyond the every day occurrences and see where your imagination takes you.

What helps you create your most unique metaphors? Is there a process? Do the ideas come to you while you are sleeping, or in the shower? What do you use to store these?

Writing is Not a McDonald's Hamburger
pp. 39-41

Let go of everything when you write and just get it down on paper. Allow yourself to be awkward. It is a slow process. You can't force it. Don't let your preconceived idea of your writing dictate how it is going to come out. Just let go and let it flow.

I think in our fast food world, sometimes employers or even the writers themselves want to order up a brilliant manuscript. What helps keep you grounded as a writer? What helps you stay true to your artistic process? Please share it with us below. Join the conversation.

Come back to join us next week, where we'll discuss pp. 42-52 of Writing Down the Bones

Laurie Epps is a non-fiction author, essayist, editor, and poet living in Anderson, South Carolina. A seeker of beauty, her is dream is to travel the world one day and tell the many stories of those she meets. To read more of Laurie's stories come back here for her column about Poetry on Thursdays, or follow her Tuesday column dedicated to writing on:

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