Friday, May 23, 2008

Head games

Earlier this week I found an online poetry critique community that looks incredibly intriguing. Ever since I checked it out, I've been playing head games with myself: can I make the time commitment to do more revision of my work and also commit to giving honest consideration and constructive comments about others' poetry—when I'm feeling slightly overwhelmed with real life? Am I even qualified to offer constructive criticism to other writers? Am I a good enough writer to be a "serious poet"? Can I be a "serious poet" if I wasn't a lit major? Is it really possible for me to be published? Why do I even want to get published anyway? Why is this pushing all my buttons?

For as long as I've been writing, I haven't done much in the way of long-term revision on my work, unless it was required for a school assignment. Maybe a week of off-and-on tweaking at most. I think that's one of the things holding me back from being a better writer. I've always wanted to be published, and if I'm ever going to get there, this seems like the next logical step, joining a group that will force me to refine and improve my craft. The thought is both exciting and scary, and I've been hesitant to contact the group because there are several poets involved whose blogs I lurk around and whose writing I very much admire. I feel like a geek approaching the cool kids' table with my lame brown bagged lunch, too paralyzed to try and sound casual as I ask, "Can I come hang with you guys?"

But after working from this week's prompt from Writers Island ("the return"), I'm starting to think I should conquer my fears and ask to join the group. I like what I've written so far, but even though it feels unfinished, I'm not sure where or what to add.


I shouldn’t have lived looking over my shoulder
wasted all my wishes on wanting to return to
dark warmth secure in its perfect nurture
craved comfort of steady pulse lulling me
a small island calm in a soothing sea but

like Lot’s wife I longed too much for what I lost
kept turning back to memories instead
of facing cold unforgiving truth
a shrill storming world its waves
surging on my soft sandy shores after

shedding tears enough for my own pillar
of salt I finally looked inward to find
my true beacon was able to see you did
what you knew to do and while I couldn’t
set my compass by you I could love you.


anthonynorth said...

The fact that you are infatuated with those questions answers the major point. Yes, you do want to be a writer.
Where do you go from there? Joining a writing group is one answer. Doing constant revision of your work is another.
I chose neither. I've never been to a writers' workshop, I've never read a 'how to' book, I never do revision of past work, and I have no qualifications wehatsoever.
I write a piece, then move on to the next, placing all my attention on the one after that. Whether it is good or not is defined by only two things - your power to improve with everything you do, and the appreciation of your work by others.
Nothing else matters.

keith hillman said...

Like Anthonynorth, I choose to write what I like in the way I like. I recently joined another writers site, and having posted a few of my poems I was disappointed to receive a couple of comments from other members critising my technical accuracy and the use of 'forced rhymes'. I write for myself and if my readers come along for the ride and enjoy my ramblings, well that's all I want!

Motherhood for Dummies said...

It is good to do soemthing for your self and to do it the way you can enjoy it

paisley said...

as humans,, we spend forever looking back or racing forward,, who ever preached living in the moment,, was a theorist,, and had very little actual experience being a human... fear not,, you are who and what and where you are,, and compass or no,, everything will come out just the way it would have....

gautami tripathy said...

I have thought of quitting writing so many times. Howeer, I keep on writing. I do for myself. It is an outlet for my creativity.

Get going!

end of the world for me