Friday, September 24, 2010

Some kind of method

I never really thought of myself as a writer with a set moethod. I just do what I do, and it just 'is'. I like trying to blur the line between prose and poetry, however distinctly different and polarised my prose and poetry may seem.

I think, with poetry, it needs that strong core idea to begin with, as my poetry tends to be quite short. It needs presence, an idea, something specific that draws meanings and imagery from the text. I've found death is a good theme to work with, but I don't usually start on death until my poem's taken form. To me, poetry needs to really sink in. There's just no use having everything all out in the open. It would be boring. Easily dismissable. I recently wrote a poem about a terminally ill man whiling away the last of his days in an airport bar. I like to play with structure or sound, and sometimes I just feel like writing whatever, cutting out whatever lands on the page and letting it find its natural harmonies. As I'm having to think more and more about performance poetry recently, the more I feel compelled to define my poetry as primarily text-based. Sure, I'd like to write stuff that sounds nice, but I think you can fit more meaning onto a piece of paper than you can in air.

I feel like my prose is more liberating. It can start anywhere. It can end anywhere. It can mean whatever it wants to mean. Yes, ideas are good, but to me, short stories are something to mull over, to really let sit in the brain until new elements decide to reveal themselves. I feel like poetry is something best captured in the moment, whereas prose is a journey that takes the reader places. I feel like I can chop and change my mind with my short stories, and often enough I find myself bursting with excitement when I figure out a new idea that unlocks so many new ideas. And it can sometimes work as a chain of unexpected events, sort of like a Rube Goldberg story-writing-machine you could say. My last story was about a haunted blues club that drives a man to a violent madness. My current story is about the archangel, Gabriel turning his back on God and being reincarnated as Lucifer's brainchild; which then brings about a catastrophic apocalypse, with angels falling from the sky as Gabriel and Lucifer convert the world to Nihilism. Or something like that.

A lot of the time I try to tell people what my stories are about, and I find it difficult to say. Sometimes they're not about anything significant just yet, and I can't really define it, and sometimes I can't really say what it's about until it's finished.

Sometimes it feels painfully chaotic, sometimes it feels utterly hopeless. My collective writings are a real mess. But I think my method is one that works well for me - I play around with ideas until they feel right. I play around and try to have fun with it. Sometimes have fun with it. And I think that people see that I'm trying to do something different and interesting, and all I can hope is that they enjoy what I do. Not that my audience is all that large or anything...

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