New habit…and a bit on books about writing.
April 7, 2010 § 9 Comments
The experiment worked. I could tie its success to spiritual reasons but would likely lose you as a reader if I did so. Let’s just say that 40 days of daily writing “practice” can engender writing as a habit. It has. The “dailies” continue.
In fact, writing exercise has become something that I now look forward to. Crave. Need. Doesn’t matter if I do it for a half hour or half day or (let’s exaggerate here) half a minute. It is to the point that writing practice, writing exercise, feels good. And certain doors (certainly in my memory) bang open each time I sit down to write. (Mind you, this is writing exercise, not writing a novel or anything.)
EARLY WARNING: This blog entry will natter on about a book on writing that included writing exercises. Some of you are yawning already and I get that, it’s ok.
My recent personal challenge was to read my way through some books about writing. Here then, is one of the ones I have finished, and so far, have three notebooks full (on one side of each page) with writing exercises and writing lists. (the other side of the page is for gluing things like ticket stub, cartoons, ideas that I like but have no idea what to do with otherwise. Actually, what I’ve come up with is “scrap writing.”
I will say that the writing comes much more easily as a result of this daily practice. The writing is not better; it just comes more easily. The words and thoughts and images and memories and silly or simple or silent plots just spill into the exercise book. No required looking back at what was written, no editing, no asking someone to read. It’s an exercise book, for pete’s sake.
And so, after reading/working my way through PEN ON FIRE (reviewed several blog entries ago), I next picked up POEMCRAZY.
It seems to be a thin volume, maybe not taken too seriously in fact, but it’s doable. Once you slow down to tackle (once again, only some of) the exercises, the book takes much longer to get through, of course. You have to be true. If you attempt an exercise, you gotta take it to its max, not cheat the clock or any tangents the subject matter might inspire. You have to be “there.” You have to use pen and paper. Well, you don’t have to, but it works better.
I liked POEMCRAZY. For several reasons, not the least of which is that poetry should infuse prose, I think. And author Wooldridge pulls out several poetical stops to inspire the writer. Note however that I am prone to elevate Poets to a certain literary pedestal and love them especially if I have even a glimmer of what they’re talking about.
I like the cover. (There we go, leaping!)
POEMCRAZY is a nice little tome, after all, and worth a read. Some of it is so obvious but then, that’s part of the point, dealing with the obvious and seeing it, making it fresh, giving stale vocabulary the boot, playing with structure, making up words. (Probably one of the best exercises in there.)
Ms Wooldridge is sincere, light hearted yet serious about her work and she does a lot of poetry workshops with children. You have to appreciate that, at least. You get glimpses of her home, her husband and children, her yard, her trees, her walkways and the sounds and slant of light in California. (Thank you, Emily D, for the idea/phrase ” a certain slant of light.”)
Maybe worth having, at least for its size. I kept it in my purse (I carry a big purse, in fact it’s a bag, not a purse.) The chapters are short, the exercises now and then concrete. Having written your way through it, and gleefully skipping some of the stuff she asks you to do (I begged off of labeling everything in the room with cutesy word combination “tickets”), you will feel accomplished, even if you don’t look back at what you did.