There is more truth than most people realise in the jokes about authors killing people off in their books.
Yesterday I signed a paperback copy of my latest book for my best friend. I have written something personal and unique to her and our friendship in her copy of every one of my books.
Yesterday’s effort was by far my favourite.
You should understand that this is not a promise I’m willing to make to just anyone. Anyone who has read ‘A Poet’s Curse’, for example, will have worked that out very quickly.
Jokes are frequently made about authors putting people in a book and killing them, but most don’t realise just how satisfying and therapeutic that can be.
Oh, we change the name and some minor details, but the important thing is that we know who we’re finishing off, even if the rest of the world doesn’t. And you know, it is important to conceal the true identities of our victims because, in the end, nobody wants it to backfire or get ugly.
I have, in fact, had a number of people ask me if a particular poem or story was about them. Rather than confirming or denying anything, I’ve gone the “self-examination” route. Each of them received the same answer: “If you think that’s a possibility, I suggest you to take a long, hard look at yourself and how you treat people. It might be time to do some repairs.
As an author, I can have my macabre little cake and eat it, too. And as an extra reward for good behaviour, I get to keep my best friend. Bonus!
An author shares five reasons why she writes.
This challenge for writers is circulating on Instagram. Because it is a very positive thing, I decided to share mine here, too.
Five Reasons Why I Write:
1. Compulsion: the words flow and I can’t stop them.
2. Satisfaction: there is immense joy in creating and crafting something meaningful.
3. Encouragement: I write about things that everyone experiences- grief, anger, pain, happiness, challenges, victories — in a way that shows others they are not alone.
4. Self-preservation: delivering justice fictionally carries fewer penalties than actually hurting people.
5. Sanity: It’s the most effective therapy I have ever had.
Bonus Reason: 6. It’s the only way I can explain my browser history.
I’d love to see you follow me and join in this fun challenge on Instagram.
You’re more than welcome to tag me in your post so I am sure to see it.
Also, I hope you feel free to comment and share the reasons why you write.
As a poet, I am always inspired by the beach and the sea.
I posted recently about needing to write some positive poetry to balance the number of dark and melancholy poems that I’ve written, so that my next collection isn’t entirely moody, angry and defiant.
On Wednesday evening, between a meeting and a theatre company rehearsal, I grabbed some dinner and headed to one of my favourite spots – the beach. It was an unseasonally mild evening for early May— still 24 celcius when I got there— so I took off my shoes and grounded myself in nature with some deep breaths and my bare feet on the earth. It felt so good to find quietness and solitude there, just the sea, a few gulls and me.
While I sat on the foreshore and pondered the scene before me as evening fell, the beginnings of a poem came to me. Now that it’s finished, I’m pretty happy with it. I love the sensuous, joyful feel of a lovers’ reunion, and I think I’ve captured the moment well.
Consider me encouraged.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to encourage or inspire me with ideas, whether as a comment or in a private message. It means a lot to me that you would do that, and that you’re interested enough in my writing to help me in that way.
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Last week I was talking with Sean about my poetry. He challenged me to write something that wasn’t dark and negative. I had to admit that while my prose writing is quite varied, there was definitely a mean streak in my poetry.
I promised that at some point, I’d give writing some more positive poetry a shot.
That got me to thinking about why I write the way I do.
Lately, my poetry has been the place where I’ve been able to say what I think and feel when it would be inappropriate to say those things aloud to the people who need to hear them. Keeping one’s friends and one’s job is generally considered to be a good thing. Writers have long considered their work a place of refuge and sanctuary from the world around them, and a safe venue in which to voice their thoughts and responses to the difficulties that life throws at them.
This week was a tough one on a number of levels, and it’s not unusual for me to get very creative when I’m feeling oppressed. On Thursday night, another friend told me that she was concerned that my writing might get me into trouble if the wrong people were to read it.
“How?” I asked her. “Nobody is identified, not even me. No place or situation is specified. It could be about anyone, or anything.” Besides, I thought to myself, those would be the right people.
To be honest, if someone reads one of my darker poems and thinks it’s about them, which it most likely is not, they probably need to take a long, hard look at themselves to see if there’s an issue they need to address. As they saying goes, “If the shoe fits, lace that sucker up and wear it.”
My writing is about my experiences and my feelings, or those of the people close to me, but it’s not specific to us. Sometimes, it’s pure fiction. My intention is to share glimpses of human experience, emotions, and responses to the challenges of survival in a difficult world. I’m really not always angry; those are just the poems that are the most cathartic to write. It’s the least expensive therapy known to mankind.
This week, I’ve managed two poems in a row that are not angry. In my writing “career” so far, that’s quite an accomplishment. Sean’s challenge has reminded me that I can still tap into powerful feelings and experiences without sounding like I want to hurt someone. That’s probably a very good thing.
If you’d like to read my writing, you’re more than welcome.
It’s not about you.