When I wrote the post, “Living Inside My Words,” five days ago on February 4th, I lied. I lied with the excitement of enthusiasm. I had set for myself the goal of starting a new poem Tuesday morning and working on it twice a day every day during the week between assignments for my poetry class with Dawn McDuffie. And I’d been doing that and was euphoric with happy results. Not necessarily results anyone else would find stunning, but results that pleased me. I was dancing with my muse and I was thrilled. I wanted to share my excitement with everyone I know, especially people who are deep in the creative life.
Of course, everyone secure in the creative life has their own process, and I am afraid I came off sounding a little “holier than thou.” I didn’t mean it—I was just so wired with creative adrenaline. And now I have to admit the truth—most of the time, working on my new poems twice a day is just a goal, not a reality! I do succeed sometimes, it’s true. I also often fail. This week, I missed two whole days. Just too busy.
I do find, however, that I personally am happiest and most successful at my writing if I do follow my stated goals. I also need to be flexible. Life does have a way of swallowing creative time, and poetry is also not my only creative endeavor. So forgive me if I seemed overbearing and obnoxious—believe me, I am all too human!!!I am looking forward to tonight’s class and all the wonderful work of my classmates. I learn from them all, each and every one, as well as from the teacher—and that’s why we all come together!
Found below is the revised version of my February 4th post:
A Glorious Process
I'm taking a Springfed poetry class with Dawn McDuffie at the Scarab Club. It meets Monday nights. I love Dawn's classes, they are fun, inspiring, and safe. I rarely feel threatened by overly vigorous criticism.
Monday nights, we get an assignment. Tuesday mornings, if all goes well, I write a new poem, based hopefully on my assignment. Tuesday nights, if possible, I review and and revise. Wednesday mornings, if I can, I review and revise again. Though some weeks, I'm too busy, my goal is to read and revise the poem twice a day until I'm happy with it. I take the assignments seriously because I want to absorb Dawn's lessons and learn from myself and the discoveries I make while I work. I'd like to write good poetry.
I have learned that if I inhabit the poem, if I really live inside it, I make discoveries about myself and the world that enhance the poem, at least for me. And each discovery brings a little joy, a little euphoria. Sure, there is struggle, panic. Sure there is the tedium of searching a thesaurus for the right word and of changing phraseology, only to change it back, three, four five times. But then, there is that aha moment when something inside the poem opens to admit me deeper into its mysteries, deeper into myself.
The poem may still not be done, but it's one step closer, and there will hopefully be more ahas and more revisions. Revision means to re-VISION, to re-see, and vision involves awareness of the self and world, of the interconnections of things. That joy of discovery applies to my prose writing as well. It's a glorious process. It's why I write. It's why I take classes with Dawn through Springfed.
Every Monday, we have sharing, I get to hear my classmates' discoveries and learn from their successes and failures as well as my own. A wonderful camaraderie occurs in the classes that makes it all even more fun.
Mary Stebbins Taitt, student in Dawn McDuffie's Monday night Springfed class at the Scarab Club.
PS: art is one of the things I do creatively besides poetry and the piece above is a brand new art piece I did today. If you click on the image, it will expand to a larger size.