Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour

Image of the Day:  A huge red-tailed hawk swooping large in someone's tiny Boston lawn. 

So there is a Writing Process Blog Tour making the rounds of the blogosphere and I've been tagged by Donna Vorreyer.  First a little about Donna: 

Donna Vorreyer lives in the Chicago area with her husband and son who have both become accustomed to seeing her with a journal and a pen. She is a middle school teacher and spends her days trying to convince teenagers that words are interesting and important. Her work has been published in many print and online journals including New York Quarterly, Flashquake, After Hours: A Chicago Journal of Literature and Art, and Literary Mama. Donna's full-length book, A House of Many Windows, is available here from Sundress Press, and her chapbook, We Build Houses of Our Bodies, is available here at Dancing Girl Press.

And here is the Tour:

What am I working on?

Right now I’m working on filling up my journal in anticipation of April Write Every Day Month. My journal is where I collect language and images and use it  when I’m writing poetry. I’m also working on reading:  I just received Hourglass Museum by Kelli Russell Agodon and will be pouring over that, letting her ideas and images spark something in me, hopefully. I have been researching about Maria Sibylla Merian, an entomologist from the 1700s. Merian created these amazing images of insects on their host plants and I want to write about her and the insects she drew. So I’m reading Chrysalis which is a biography about her life written by Kim Todd. I highly recommend the book—it’s a great read so far.


How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This question is like asking me how I am different from other human beings. I guess my answer is that my work is different based on my current obsessions (see above) and the language choices I make. The tone of my voice—how can I describe what my voice sounds like? I have heard that when someone is recorded and then played back their recording along with other people’s voices, they can’t recognize their own voice. Of course I would (probably) recognize my poems because I have slaved over them, but I also think it’s true of poets that sometimes they forget a poem they’ve written about and it surprises them when they re-read or re-find it.  So I guess my short answer is my work is different based on the choices I constantly make. 

Why do I write what I do?

Because I can’t write otherwise. Again, this is all wrapped up in who I am, what I’m thinking about and experiencing, and what is influencing me at the moment.


How does your writing process work?

Well, I think I’ve been describing that all along in these questions, so I hope I don’t sound redundant. But, I begin by writing in my journal, collecting images and language and also, my experiences.  I consider my emotions:  have I been particularly angry of late?  Hopeful or scared?  That will most likely come out in my poems in one way or another. I read other poets and consider their language and subject matter:  how can I write about the universe? About feeling lonely or lost?  Can I write about food or art? Then I will try and find a prompt or listen to what’s happening around me.  Sometimes a word will come across my path over and over again, so I try and pay attention to that—I need to write using the word purchase, in the archaic sense of acquiring  because its been popping up so much lately (which I need to do but haven’t yet). Then I’ll begin the poem in my journal and when things get exciting for me or at some mysterious point which I can’t quite explain, I will move to the computer and re-write the poem there, revising as well at that point. Then I’ll sort of let the poem sit, although I’m constantly coming back to it and making slight changes. Finally, I’ll consider submitting the poem when I think it’s ready. Sometime, I think it’s ready too soon.  But then I’ll revise it again, and send it back out.

Next up on the tour:  Molly Spencer over The Stanza blog, Jill Khoury over at Poem of the Day,
Leigh Anne Focareta, at Be Less Amazing, and Angele Ellis here on my blog.


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