Alone with Words: My Writing Style

View from the porch swing

View from the porch swing

I’m writing this post as I’m sitting on the porch swing of a cabin on top of a mountain in the Ouachitas of Arkansas. That means I have good, old-fashioned pen and paper in my lap, seeing as I left the technology at home in Oklahoma.

Being in a place like this resets everything creative in me, and I could more than happily spend weeks secluded here. Without the internet, cable, traffic sounds, street lights, and crowds of people, I am at peace. In fact, this morning I heard a small plane cross overhead and I ran down the porch to see it. I haven’t heard a plane in 3 days. It’s already turned into a novelty.

I am not very technological with my work. I think I might be the only Ferret here who has not mourned the lack of internet at least a little. The rest of them use the internet for research and keeping track of notes or various distractions like Tumblr. I have had enough 3G connection to check e-mail and Facebook via my phone, but I’ve looked more out of habit than any real desire to be connected. In fact, I’ve responded to nothing. I am off the grid.

My ability to write poetry never requires me to be on the grid in the first place. I love that. I can write in many environments if the inspiration is strong enough and the words urgent enough. However my best work typically comes when I am alone with no noise interference. (Nature and old house sounds are exempt.) I can be a very loud, bubbly, energetic person, but when it comes to writing I am quiet. Nothing makes me happier than working alone.

I can occasionally write based on prompt words or themes, but nearly all of my work begins as a single line of verse. I “hear” verse all the time. Much of it I dismiss for a variety of reasons, perhaps being too silly or self-important. But the lines that really grab me are the seeds of something bigger. That’s when my real work begins.

Recently it has been brought to my attention that I can be quite amusing to watch when I’ve picked up on one of these seed-lines. I have been known to lose all track of time, tapping on car windows (assuming I’m not the one driving) or writing absently in the air. Yet aside from this quirk, I’m really quite plain.

Unfortunately my real life writing style has significantly less coffee and cats than people expect and probably isn’t quite as exciting as one might wish. I don’t have any magical formulas, musical numbers, or otherwise exotic components to my writing style. It’s just me and the words, one at a time, like delicate brushstrokes on a minimalist canvas… and that’s exactly how I like it.

(Written September 17th, 2013, Mena, AR)

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