Writing for me is a passion and a pleasure. I write nearly every day, sometimes throughout the day, and sometimes all day long. I write in many places in many ways. I love to hike in nature and am often inspired to stop and write while I’m out walking. I have been known to write on the back of an envelope while briefly stopped at a red light in the midst of my day. Spiral notebooks and sticky notes catch my hand-written poems. My phone and my chrome book catch my keyed-in or even swiped poems. Whatever is at hand to catch my poems when they drift in from my imagination. I write mostly haiku-ish poems and prose poems, but have also dabbled in tanka, haibun, haiga and monoku. The interplay of words and pictures that is present in haiga appeals to me. I respond to daily prompts from a variety of online groups to which I belong, but also enjoy the outside-the-box whimsy of writing what comes to me organically.
I truly love the flow of writing. You know that feeling you get when you step outside into the bright sunshine after being in a dark movie theater all afternoon? It’s like that when I’m immersed in writing. The rest of life just kind of falls away for a bit. Stepping back into life is like walking out of the movie theater into the bright afternoon sun.
I love to write at all times of day. Morning I’m probably freshest and summer mornings on the patio or by the lake are magical. The birdsong is my soundtrack, coffee my fuel, sunshine my elixir. Evenings are also a perfect time to write. Stepping into the gloaming with a notebook and pen to let a poem take wing. Blues on the Bose, shadows playing on the ground, the day softening before me.
For me, writing poetry is a blend of head and heart. Writing requires the interplay of feeling and thinking. I go back and forth between my head and heart. Especially when writing a more structured kind of poetry like haiku or tanka. There is a centering quality of writing poetry for that reason. I cannot stay in any one place – head or heart – for too long. Writing requires the synergy of both. That is helpful when the feelings are deep and especially when they are painful. There is a healing that comes from thinking about what I am feeling.
I fell in love with Robert Frost in sixth grade and have never left his side. Maya Angelou, Mary Oliver, Shel Silverstein and Amanda Gorman have joined him as my favorites. Although I have to say, I am in love with many poets on the sites I visit frequently: Dominic Willis, Stan Phillips, CX Turner, Wendy Mader, Amoohlya Kamalnath, Sebastien Revon. Whenever I read their poems, my heart and head both resonate.
Any topics that touch my core can become a recurring theme for me: family, faith, nature, experiences that stretch me – like travel, loss, art. There is a fine line when writing about topics so personal. Trusting the word with these innermost thoughts is an act of bravery. Some days I’m braver than others.
I’m also irreverent and enjoy writing about the whimsical side of life. I can take a prompt and turn it on its head, finding meaning – or at least humor – in the ordinary.
I came across a saying recently that speaks to me. When I am empty I read. When I am full I write.
I’m also an abstract painter who works in acrylics. I like big, bold art – Matisse, Chihuly, Van Gogh, Klee, O’Keefe, Caulder. They make me sit up and take notice. They get and keep my attention. When I am steeped in their work, my paintings take on a boldness and bravery that transcends my personality. The creative process says more than I could say on my own.
This is the case for my poetry as well.
And every now and then when I know that feeling of “this is complete” there is a letting go of a tiny piece of my heart and mind into the newly finished piece. It is in the letting go that a poem is born.