I am so honored that I was asked to participate in this blog hop by Linda Crosfield, a poet whose work I admire greatly. Please see her blog to learn more about her and to read her wonderful poetry at Purple Mountain Poetry.
I met Linda in March in a writing group in La Manzanilla, Mexico—a beach community that most of us in the group visit for a month or two each year. It was a wonderful experience to meet so many excellent writers and I learned from every one. Hopefully, I’ll reconnect with some of them when I go back to the beach for a 2 month stint November-January of this year.
I would also like to introduce two excellent writers who are new acquaintances I’ve met through their blogs. Although their work presents opposite ends of the writing spectrum, they are similar in that neither takes the easy way out. I laud each of them because they both take such care in presenting original ideas and imagery. Please read their blogs to see what I mean.
Laura MacDonald has always dabbled in writing of many sorts. She is a very occasional contributor to the Bard Brawl blog (reviewing film adaptations of Shakespeare plays) and writes sketch comedy and wordy rants at Notes on a Napkin: What were they thinking? (though, much like herself, it was largely inactive throughout her pregnancy). She is currently channeling the ecstasy and delirium of motherhood into her poetry at Purple Toothed Grin and is pretty much making sleeplessness her bitch(/muse).
Robert Okaji lives in Texas with his wife and two dogs. He holds a degree in history but serves as a business officer in higher education and has at various times worked in a library, owned a bookstore and even sold cheese for a living. Much to his surprise and delight, three of his poems were featured in Boston Review’s National Poetry Month Celebration this past April. His work has also appeared in such publications as Clade Song, Prime Number Magazine, Middle Grey, Otoliths, Vayavya, Extract(s) and Lightning’d Press, among others. You may read his work at O at the Edges.
These are the questions I was asked to answer and that I hope Robert and Laura will each be answering on their own blogs.
What am I working on?
For the past two months, I’ve been posting a poem a day on my blog, following the prompts given by NaPoWriMo and WordPress Daily Post. I remember when I did NaPoWriMo last year that it seemed impossible that I’d make it through the month without quitting, but I loved it and missed it when it was over; so this year I decided to just keep going. I like having an excuse to make writing a priority each day and then wonder why I need an excuse. Sometimes I think I should be working on more serious work, but I love doing the blog and love writing the silly poems the most. Life is too short to do what you “think” you should do rather than what you want to do—especially at this stage of life.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Well, not many people have a daily blog that is 99 percent poetry, with most of it rhymed and metered. There is just something about having to write to a pattern that takes me to a different part of my brain. I never really know what the next line is going to be until I write it and I am continually surprised that it actually (for the most part) works out and comes to a conclusion. I never plan in advance. That takes away all the fun. Guess that is why I’ve never written (completed) a novel, although I’ve started a dozen or so.
Why do I write what I do?
I mainly write about things that I am still sorting out in my head. I discovered a long time ago that I don’t think unless I am writing or talking. A student once told me that my tongue sometimes got ahead of my brain and I realized that was true, and that wasn’t a bad thing (unless it was used for evil!) I try to slow down and think first when I’m mad, but just give my writing and my tongue free rein otherwise. It calls for understanding friends. (And kind of silly ones.) Why not just say what you think when you write? It’s safe because at this point, only you can see it lying there (actually, telling the truth there) on the page. You can always tone it down in the edit.
How does my writing practice work?
I love the computer, because it is the only way I can write fast enough to keep up with my thoughts. I write on the computer, always. (Well, almost always. At the beach, I carry a small notebook and pen in my pocket. I once tried a little digital recorder, but it doesn’t work for me. I don’t talk from the same part of the brain I write from.) I remember my first Brother electric typewriter that had a one-line memory. It was paradise, but really slowed me down as it was necessary to edit as I went. I love the freedom of the freight train mode of just writing as fast as possible without consciously thinking of what I am writing. The subconscious is a very interesting place to write from. It’s where we teach ourselves.