Do you know writers who can pour their words directly into your soul? As if they actually turn the proverbial light on. Or perhaps they bring you to the brink of tears or ledge of laughter? Writers whose words weave into a story, poem, lyric or simple “aha” sentence that comes out of nowhere but leaves an imprint?
The list of rock star writers whom I admire is likely a mile long. Holding the current number one spot is Anne Lamott. I am on chapter three of Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Have you read this brilliant gem of a book? Here’s is a peak inside via a direct quote.
“E.L. Doctorow said once said that ‘Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’ You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice on writing, or life, I have ever heard.” – Anne Lamott
My current blog idol is Shannan, the author of Flower Patch Farmgirl. Here is a teaspoon sampler of her magical way with words:
“The beauty is that God can turn us right around at a moment’s notice. He can shove us out of our Anthro daydreams, beyond our decorating magazine pipe dreams, and push us into the glare of everything else, everything that we were always too busy to notice before. He can make our hearts break a million times in a million ways. And he can do it all without you or me. He’ll light a spark of willingness in my spirit and tune my strings to the keys of brokenness and grace.” Interested in more? Pop over to her blog!
John Legend stopped me in my tracks today with these lyrics.
‘Cause all of me
Loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you
You’re my end and my beginning
Even when I lose I’m winning.
– John Legend, All of Me
And don’t get me started on my admiration for John Green.
I enrolled in a writing exercise workshop through Red Oak Writing with the brilliant Kim Suhr, Red Oak’s director. I finally made the connection that just as training for a marathon requires miles and miles in my running shoes, so to the more you write, the more focused your writing becomes. And let’s be honest, I could use some focus. See how my word of the year influences action? If I aspire to write with intention and string together anything of value, I need to write (a lot). The class meets in the serene setting of the Delafield Art Center. If you live in Southeast Wisconsin, check out the offerings of Red Oak. They have helped thousands of writers find their voice through classes, workshops and roundtables. I am a work in progress.
I refer to poetry as the Mt. Everest of writing. Magnificent but elusive. In a recent Red Oak session, our instructor cleverly asked us to write a few sentences. Then we linked them together to create a Pantoum poem.
Familiar with Pantoum?
Brought to the West in the 19th century by Victor Hugo, Pantoum is derived from a much older Malaysian form of folk poem, built by interweaving repeating lines. It circles around a memory to tease out implications and meanings. This gentle back-and-forth motion gives the effect of a series of small waves lapping on a beach, each advancing a bit farther up the sand until the tide turns and the pantoum wraps back around itself. -Source, Wikipedia
The Pantoum Poem Recipe
Stanza 1: A B C D
Stanza 2: B E D F
Stanza 3: E G F H
Stanza 4: G C H J
Here is my first attempt creating a phantom poem.
The Tunnel to Grace
Did you know April 24, 2014 is designated as Poem in Your Pocket Day? I celebrated the holiday back in 2012. Click here to see my running poem if interested. Or don’t. Yeah, probably don’t.
“Start writing, no matter what.
The water does not flow,
until the faucet is turned on.”
– Louis L’Amour