Sunday, May 18, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Thank you to the incomparable poet, Sarah J. Sloat, who invited me on this tour. Please visit her blog, the rain in my purseI’m tagging the poets Sherry O’Keefe, who has a beautiful blog called too much august not enough snow (though I beg to differ with her weather choices), and Brett Elizabeth Jenkins, aka The Angry Grammarian to answer the same 4 questions you see below. Many thanks, too, to the writers who invited me on this blog tour back in April, when I was too busy to say yes!

What are you working on?

I’m working on a number of different things at the same time, which makes me feel like a small child in a cool Montessori school. Kids can handle that better, though, and I feel sort of brain-crunched. So I stop and breathe deeply. Or go outside.

How does your work differ from other writers in your genre?

It differs in essential and particular ways and is similar in essential and universal ways. Someday, when I’m safely dead, I hope some fine, subtle, compassionate, loving scholar will compare me to Emily Dickinson.

(Because I am her love child with Walt Whitman.)

Why do you write?

I grew up reading, so it’s a natural extension of my being, like a teasel blossom on the top of my head. I write poems about everything, so I’m sort of like an invasive roadside weed.

Here I am as a happy teasel, saying, “I got a poem published today in Heron Tree!”

When I’m dead and all dried up, you can use me to raise the nap on cloth, or remove pet hair from your coat.

What is your writing process?

It varies with the poem or project, but I start by paying attention. I see something. Then, when some words come, the next ones can arise from those. They might get revised or cut, but they at least got something going. My husband paints this way, too—putting something on the canvas (or hunk of board or drywall) and seeing what can happen next while still coming back to some original impulse, purpose, feeling, or mood. 

If it doesn’t work, if it doesn’t come alive, we start over, or paint over it; he gets richness and layering that way, colors underneath, and I think I do, too, even if the eventual poem turns out spare. It can have power from the unspoken.

One way I “test” my process, as to its soundness, is to notice how it compares with the process of other artists and other creative, thoughtful people like scientists. And it does. Scientists often start by noticing something and then pursue it with curiosity and fine instruments. Sometimes they are problem solving, and sometimes so am I.

But sometimes I am just teaseling you.


Collagemama said...

What about play? Aren't you playing with the sounds of words as well as the images they create?

Kathleen said...

Yes, exactly! Word play and music, playing with sounds, all kinds of play, can be part of the poetry writing process! My mom and I are about to co-teach a poetry class and Poetry as Play will be part of that!

Carol Berg said...

SUCH a gorgeous poem! Fabulous!

Kathleen said...

Thank you, Carol!

Anonymous said...

your voice carries beautifully. post and poem.

Kathleen said...

Thanks, Sherry!

SarahJane said...

Enjoyed your answers and your poem.

Kathleen said...

Thanks, Sarah.

Pearl said...

ah, new links, new people.