Wearing words from others

I am wearing words from others
I am weaving them into myself

An amazingly talented friend of mine @HopeGraceFury frequently inspires me.  She writes beautiful, moving tweets which I used to create this:

Battle warrior
Hero of ancient Greek myth
Epic daily fight
For Utopian dream

Astonishingly jubilant
Soul dead
Brain dead

Spin the coin till
Two sides blur

Handwritten letters
Show all calling points.

The purpose of this blog is to document my writing, to make it something I do consciously and to keep me grounded.  Writing using other people’s words is a very good way of doing this.  However, alongside this conscious attempt I am struggling with words and phrases passing through me, uninvited.  I’m torn.  This means that I am slowly unlocking the part of me which writes.  But it is happening without my control and that, for me, is very dangerous.  It also defeats the point of doing this.


I see… I feel… I hear…

I saw something somewhere which said write everything that you can see down.  It said it more elegantly but the idea lodged itself somewhere inside of me.  I’ve tried this technique a couple of times and it seems to be a good way for me to stay grounded whilst trying to capture a place.

I split my page into three and write the following, one per third:

I see…

I feel…

I hear…

I then collect words and phrases and leave them for a couple of days.  When I return to them with fresh eyes, it’s much easier to see new ideas and fresh images.  I then start assembling them.

For Denis, who spent many happy days in this park

Breeze rippling over lake.
Ducks callling newborns,
Break the water’s patterns.

Children’s calls grasp at paper,
Snippets of play
Against the twinkly tune.

Leaves dance,
Feet pound,
Keys jangle,
The park’s choreography.

Wistful eyes
Close, and faint
Seaside echoes
Pass through.

Wind whispers storm warnings.
Denis alone keeps watch.

Writing on the edge

Writing on the edge
Speakers: Abi Curtis, JT Welsch

A two-hour workshop, open to all, in which we’ll explore the notion of edges: the borders of conscious/unconscious, the shoreline, space, urban/rural, the edges of lands and bodies.

This workshop was part of York Festival of Ideas.

I don’t think I’ve ever attended a writing workshop before.  I had been putting it out of my mind rather than face the fact that I’d booked onto it.  But nevertheless, this evening I was found, half way between two sets of black iron gates waiting for my friend, my bodyguard.

We started by exploring what the edge meant to people in the audience.   As my immediate thought, and the thought I struggled to get away from, was ‘skin’ I did not contribute to the discussion.

The edge
One side or another
No man’s land
Pushing boundaries
Sea line, tide line
Violation of boundaries
Boundary of reality

This was followed by a discussion about Jacob Polley’s ‘The North-South Divide‘ (the theme for the festival) after which we were asked to write about a time when we crossed a boundary.

The next handout was a BBC article about leaving the solar system.  We reflected on what would it feel to leave the solar system.  I say we reflected, I was busy picking out words from the article to make into a poem:

Leaving the solar system

Space behind
Possibility border

Trapped intensity

Probe beyond

New region

We were then asked to write about a time we stepped out of our comfort zone, using words and phrases from our writing about leaving the solar system.  Obviously this would have been easier if I’d done what I was told in the first place!

The final aspect of the workshop was looking at the body.  Given that my immediate thought had been skin, you’d have thought I’d have been right at home with this.  We read ‘The Man with Night Sweats’ by Thom Gunn and then wrote about a time when your body betrayed you.  Oh I had so many examples.  But instead of joining in, I excused myself and went in search of the toilets.  (That sounds like I did so politely, I actually climbed over chairs in a very inelegant fashion.)  Everyone was still writing when I returned.

I wrote:

Writing about the body is an edge I cannot cross at this point

A gentle start (or, how twitter is helping me write poems)

To understand why I am unlocking words, and why I have created this blog, requires a back story which may be a little intense for a first post.  So instead let me tell you about the technique I am using at the moment.  I am currently reading poemcrazy, recommended to me by a very good friend who is also incredibly creative and a beautiful writer.  I am only a few chapters in (I am trying to read slowly and with care rather than my normal style of devouring words in a frenzy) but Susan’s approach so far seems to be that words are already there, they are just waiting for us to play with them.

With that in mind, I am using twitter to create poems.  I have started by looking over my recent tweets and writing words and phrases that stand out in my notebook.  I then left this, unlooked at, for a day or so.  When I returned, I pieced them together to create the following.  I am repeating this process with the tweets of my friends (they don’t yet know this…).

Elusive words

In the dark

Peaceful/painful silence
(Delete as applicable)

Battle ready
(Battle vulnerable?)