Sunday, June 25, 2017

It's hard to think of yourself as a writer during the periods you're not actually writing. I've come to realise that no matter how many poems I get published if I'm going through a period of not writing then it all feels very detached from me. The primary motivation for writing poetry is in the experience of the writing itself rather than publication, though it would feel pretty pointless if there was no aim at finding a readership for the work.

I'm a little bit in post-second-collection-limbo just now. I hate being in limbo. I have my ballad project which is on-going and I think will be a long-term project. But I don't feel like I have much of a focus for writing otherwise. I'm looking for new sources of inspiration and not sure where I'll find it. I've ordered a collection by the Romanian poet Marin Sorescu - I very much like the work of his I've read online and I have a tendency towards Eastern European poetry.  So I hope I find inspiration in his work. In the meantime I'm forcing myself to keep writing regularly, unedited stuff which may or may not occasionally unlock the poetry door.


7 comments:

Rachel Fox said...

One idea is to try writing something really different... can be poetry or not... but something you wouldn't expect yourself to write (something for children, something funny, anything different). It might not be something you stick with but it keeps things moving along and it can sometimes teach you things you didn't know about your more usual output.
Or not...
x

Marion McCready said...

sounds like a good idea, Rachel - I do feel like I'm in a bit of a rut x

Alan Stubbs said...

I don't think of myself as a writer, and view the writing itself as a surprising thing that I do - not really understanding where it comes from or what the object of it is. Often there are periods of the writing not going anywhere, and of it being difficult even to begin at all. However the best (I think) that I have written has often spontaneously happened without any plan, or pre-knowledge. Obviously everyone is different and works diffrerently, but for me the excercise of writing something (however bad), almost everyday seems to be the regime for whatever chaos it is that a realised poem requires to be born. I hope that you are writing again soon, and that all's good. Very Best, Alan

Marion McCready said...

Thanks Alan, I think you're right - it's better to keep writing regardless of how aimless it feels at the time!

Jim Murdoch said...

There’s a line in my latest novel, Marion: “Someone should invent a new word, wroter, past tense of writer, one who once wrote but no longer writes.” We still think of Sean Connery as an actor even though he hasn’t appeared in a film since 2003. No one calls him the former actor or even the retired actor. I’ve only written a single poem in the last two years. I’ve gone for long periods before without writing before but the truth of the matter is if I go more than a month I think I’ll never write again and become embarrassed to call myself a poet. It’s stupid, all in my head. I went to a reading in Glasgow a couple of weeks back and the first question I was asked was what I was working on. My subconscious is probably working on lots of things but he isn’t letting me know. Not all writers are the same but we all aspire to be Stephen King, to be able to sit down every day come rain or shine and be able to just do it. He, of course, would argue that you can, that what he does isn’t anything special and the simple fact is that both you and I are perfectly capable of sitting down and writing—I’m doing it now and it’s easy—and so why should Writing be hard? It’s the feeling that we ought to be writing we have to get over. Yes, we’d like to be writing but maybe we’re not ready; things take time to gestate and shouldn’t be forced. Why I can live with the fact I’m still a poet and not an ex-poet is accepting that. I’m constantly absorbing stuff and who knows how it’ll all come together? Or when?

Marion McCready said...

I agree Jim, but not writing is like walking around with a missing limb! For me it's not even just not writing but not writing with a real sense of purpose. What's the point of churning out poem after poem if there is no feeling of progression, of breaking through previous personal barriers? I need that sense of purpose and personal achievement to motivate me.

The good news is I think I'm coming out of the writing malaise of recent months, I'm seeing my recent work in a different perspective and I've come across the amazing poems of Hart Crane, they're opening up new possibilities for me :) I hope all is going well with yourself x

sackerson said...

I know the feeling. Every now and again the tap turns itself off. If you push it, rubbish comes out. Mine turned off a few years ago and hasn't come on again. I think many of the best(known) have the same experience. It's easy to see the name of a famous poet and think of them "being a poet" all the time when actually poetry was very possibly a very small slice in their life's pie-chart!