I love Karcher’s poetry. His words remind me why I love the written word, and have the same impact on me that reading Ginsberg did as a sixteen year old. I think his poetry demonstrates all that poetry can be, and can encompass. I love his ideas, lines ‘took off their skins and started dancing with the skeletons in their closets’ ‘love isn’t trying each other’s legs together with a rope then running in opposite directions’ ‘all those nights spent strangling yourself with your daddy’s blue collar until you were blue in the face’ ‘until I’m bleeding and broken and the red skuffs on my knuckles look like tiny hearts’ It’s a dizzying chap that gripped me from page one and that inspired me. Justin has a number of books out too, so you’re spoilt for choice. Bernie Sanders Broke my Heart can be downloaded for nothing from its publisher Ghost City Press as part of the 2018 summer micro-chapbook series.
I have been surprised by some of the tweets popping up on my Twitter timeline about NaNoWriMo. Some writers seem to be spiralling into a panic, largely over the pressure of having to write every day and having to reach a certain amount of words. I will not devalue numbers by saying the numbers do not matter, because that is like saying words do not matter, but writing is supposed to be enjoyable (Ha, emphasis on the supposed)
I am participating in NaNoWriMo this year because I need to start writing again and if at the end of November I have some writing done that’s my goal reached. Sure, it would be wonderful to think I could have 50,000 words at the end but I am telling myself that goal is completely secondary.
Numbers are an odd thing. On social media certain bloggers like to celebrate a certain amount of followers they have reached and I’ll always agree four doughnuts is much better than having one, but …
Surely the engagement is what matters. How many people are you engaging with. Engagement is a huge thing for me, because of my anxiety and depression, the online community of poetry readers and book bloggers has greatly benefited me.
I remember reading in one of Matt Haig’s books ‘Wanting is also lacking. That is what ‘want’ means.’
Enjoy what you have. Live in the moment.
Isn’t that what you’ve got to do?
As long as the numbers have not become an unhealthy obsession.
I aim to post during November regular picture prompts that I have found on the internet. It might help spark an idea, and hopefully help you too.
There are writers I have spoken to that have confirmed this, as well as from my own first hand experience, our minds are always ticking over. We are writing stories in our heads as we brush our teeth, travel on the Tube, eat our lunch, put out the bins, watch television, and so on. As a poet I am puzzling over titles, over used cliché alternatives, end lines, or chewing over the niggles of new inspiration, trying to join the dots, and mould words into something coherent.
So if it were to gradually recede, or to suddenly stop, when the hubbub dims it can seem that the dreaded writers block has hit. I don’t believe in writers block. I think when we hit a rut in our lives seemingly everything begins to unravel, depression sets in, and your mind is far from putting bums in seats, pens to paper, and fingers on the keyboard. You have to nurture the part of you that wants to write, that wants to live on a deeper level. You have got to find a way to feel alive again. When you fee the sharp ends of every one of your five senses, you start to imagine the possibilities, and what those possibilities can become.
I like to walk, to be with nature, to feel the wind, to smell the air of a wood, to hear the faint noises of the roads encompassing the green space.
I like the movement of travel, of going on the Tube, the rush as the train approaches, the swish of the doors, and the crush of people, the discomfort of it all.
That is what gets my muse singing, and then it as easy, and as difficult, as putting bums in seats, pens to paper, fingers on the keyboard, and writing. Even if it is a string of choice words, get the cramp out, and enjoy the sensation of writing again, being immersed into something that is entirely your own creation.
I wasn’t going to celebrate this, but then I usually try to avoid such things, like celebrating my own birthday, and publishing your own book is an achievement, so my poetry chapbook Here comes the Sun is one today! I spent a large part of June in 2017 working on this chapbook, before uploading the file onto Createspace. The poems were written whilst I was travelling in 2016. I left home, my boyfriend and I were travelling, living in hotels, and having a good time. The book has gotten some great reviews from readers. I value reviews so much. The feedback helps me to be a better writer, and on days I am not motivated can really raise spirit.
I also want to thank Jennifer Patino for her review of my other book La La Love.
La La Love hands out small poetic doses with each turn of the page. Katie Lewington’s voice and style are enough to cause an addiction. This collection is personal, but doesn’t give away all of the poet’s secrets. Instead the reader is presented with beautiful skimmings of surfaces until the closing lines of each poem, where Lewington successfully brings our minds to a much deeper climax. Excellent poetry.
I am now going to talk about my writing routine.
I have usually written my poems, ad hoc in most cases, and when I see a theme emerging I work on compiling those poems. With Here comes the Sun that theme was travel. I had the poems all handwritten, and I started to edit the the poems, and to try to put them in an order that made them sit comfortably into the context of the book. I didn’t want to put, for example, two poems about the beach together that would have not moved the reader in the same way if they had read them two, three poems apart.
There was one poem, which I liked, that I cut from Here comes the Sun. I didn’t feel it had enough substance to it. These decisions have to be done, but they are not easy. Editing is a difficult part of the process. As I get older I see the value in doing so, and orchestrating the book in a way it will get the right emotional responses from its reader.
I then get the completed book read by my boyfriend. He’s so smart, and knows about everything, so I feel my poetry is in safe hands. I wait for a yay or nay (his feedback is literally that succinct) With his support I feel more confident about my new book.
I think any writer feels a bit fragile after writing their book. Best to have a short nap afterwards.
That is pretty much it, compiling, editing, and feedback. Of course, the time between steps can be weeks, months, or years. I tend to procrasinate around the editing part. That’s where a lot of the living happens and I have to make the time inbetween that to work on my writing: fixing errors, changing titles, making sense of my scribbles etc.
It can be lonely as well. For all of social medias faults it has made it easier for writers to confab with each other about their craft, which I think is pretty awesome.
Poems from a Family Man
More ups, less Downs
Whenever you’re troubled, whenever you’re down
Try to smile, it’s harder to frown.
Speak to your family, phone your friend
You’ll find in time the problem will mend.
Nothing is ever as bad as it seems
Everyday hopes can be tomorrow’s dreams.
We all have bad days, we all have good
It’s better to talk, it’s no time to brood.
No matter your downs, ups aren’t far away
I’m speaking from experience, I thought I’d just say.
Human beings are all destined for a bit of badness
It’s part of the trials – ultimately sadness.
It’s part of trials and tribulations
Forty per cent bad days, but sixty, celebrations.
I believe in the power of positive thinking
Although there are times when I feel like I’m sinking.
I try to look ahead for possibilities, and hope
It’s the way to get through, a good way to cope.