If you ask me where I get my ideas from, I’ll reply, I wish I knew.
The sculptor frees the statue hidden in the stone, the painter paints what their mind’s eye sees. But what do writers have? Two sides of possibly the same coin, some writers will say that it is them and them alone that is responsible for what gets written, and then there are the others who will say they are channelling.
We can thank the Greeks for the muses. Those lesser gods of song and verse that whisper the words that the author hears. My ideas seem to come to me in the night when I am sleeping, voices on the ether asking me if I would like to hear a story. Doesn’t that sound much more interesting than saying I’m listening to the voices in my head? If pressed, I would say that the subconscious mind talks with the conscious mind and that is where creativity flows from. I’ll leave consciousness for another blog post.
That which makes you, you and all that.
When I think about the process that goes into my writing; I would say that my poems seem to come fully formed, and I am merely transcribing what I hear in my mind’s ear. If the painters can have a mind’s eye, I can have a mind’s ear.
The craft comes in the editing. Making sure that the poem says what I think it does.
What is the difference between a poet and a writer?
Bit of a trick question that one for they both use words to communicate their thoughts. The difference is the number of words they each get. A writer being the author gets a sentence, a paragraph, a page, a chapter, even a whole book to state their idea, their story. A poet, on the other hand, like a lyricist, gets three minutes tops.
I view the poem as a distillation of the idea or story. Using only enough words to communicate the story. I have learned that the poem will say what it wants and nothing more.
If I might offer some advice to would-be poets, being brutal with your editing will reward you. Having tried to shoehorn things in that, I end up taking out because they don’t flow. That is where the slush pile, as I like to call it, comes into play. A file full of lines and ideas waiting for their chance upon the page. Some poems have taken over a year to finally come together, so it is worth saving and bidding your time.
What is the story that the words want to tell
What is the story that they know so well
What is it that the words want you to hear
What is it that the words held onto so dear
What is the meaning of the story they told
What is the meaning of a story so old
And why is me that they came to to write
And why is me in the dark of the night
That they whispered their story to see the light
That they whispered their story to me and to write
That’s what I want to know as I sit here today
Writing these words that they want me to say
I haven’t a clue, and yet there is in some way
That I’ve written their story down here on this page
Filling the spaces of the blanks in this way
There are so many stories that have gone on untold
So many stories that speak to your soul
Listen for those stories that float on the airwaves
Listen for those stories and what they may say
Listen for those stories that speak to your heart
Listen for those stories you know that’s how it starts