Archive for April 9th, 2014

"I would love to be a writer if only someone would give me confidence!"

“I would love to be a writer if only someone would give me confidence!”

Why do I write what I do?
I often tell my students that the only way to get good at something is to practice. We all would rather a short cut. I know I would. I wish that I had stuck with writing when I was younger. I wrote often as a teen, and I was bad at it. I unearthed one of these diaries, “I want to be a writer, if only someone would give me confidence.” And as any writer knows, it takes a great deal of confidence. Confidence must come from within, though, not from someone else. But it also takes perseverance. And maybe I don’t have enough of that because I turned to self-publishing for Blessen and for Illuminate. Both projects have brought me great courage. Now I feel more confident in writing for others to read. I trust my voice and allow her to say what she will.

Writing a blog is about connecting. Through this format, I connect to other teachers, poets, authors, and readers.

I write poetry because it’s my passion. My passion comes from falling in love with poets. They are some of the coolest people on this earth. They can say what I meant to say and so much better. I want to be like Mary Oliver when I grow up, walk my dog along the bayou and write beautiful words. I believe the world is more beautiful, more meaningful, more pleasurable because of poetry.

How does my writing process work?

I have different writing processes for different types of writing. For blogging, I just do it. I save a draft, re-read a few times, and publish.

For poetry, I am usually attracted by a prompt. That prompt can come from anywhere: an image, a presenter in Wordlab, a fellow blogger’s post, or the site of a hawk flying over the highway.

Fiction is tougher for me. I have a strong resistance to writing it. Blessen took 6 years. I started it in a writing workshop on fiction writing. I had many starts and stops, months would go by. And now, I have readers asking for her sequel. I just can’t get myself to open the document. What am I waiting for?

Some of my favorite books on the writing life include:
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
One Writer’s Beginnings by Eudora Welty
Views from a Window Seat by Jeannine Atkins (Reading presently and love how it feels like having coffee with a best friend.)

My National Poetry Month commitment is to write a poem a day using ABCs of forms, techniques, and tools. Today is brought to you by the letter G for ghazal. (pronounced “guzzle”) I am writing my ghazal in a form borrowed from a poet-friend, James McDowell. He writes using three line stanzas rather than the traditional couplet. This ghazal form is credited to Robert Bly and is called a ramage to the Mideastern ghazal, or American ghazal. “In its classic form, each stanza stands alone–has its own landscape, so to speak–and the theme of the poem is never stated. So the reader has much more to do than he would be used to in the contemporary English poem. When the ghazal has its full development, each stanza in a given poem ends with the same word.”

I wrote this loosely formed ghazal to a postcard sent to me by Laura Shovan. It ends with the Pantone color candy pink.

postcard candy pink sky

…candy pink sky

Purple-tipped clouds stroke the air
while the red-tailed hawk soars high,
a child points to azure sky.

Clipping waves ride the ocean
cradle the rocking schooner
air balloons a sail through sky.

Creator draws a straight line
separates water from air,
holds horizons of dazzling sky.

I am not old enough to
remember how war feels,
bombs exploding erase sky.

Heaven is here in colors.
Our eyes can see the rainbow
when the sun chases storms from the sky.

Every story has its lesson,
the one for Margaret is this:
Throw confetti to the wind.
Celebrate a candy pink sky.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

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