Poetry, rules and rebellion

I have a confession…writing poetry with certain constraints has always made me antsy. I have felt like I was somehow not good enough to write following the rules. So, I have written copious amounts of free verse…avoiding the structure of any fotms.

Then, as I grew as a writer and a poet, I found myself saying I don’t write that way too often. Well why the Hell not? Am I a Poet? Or do I just pretend I am?

So, when presented with a form/structure poem idea, I start by looking up the rules. For me, this is my go to site.

Believe me, I feel like a high school student again. In high school I knew the rules and felt my style was better as free verse. I think that if anyone tried to tell me that I needed to follow rules with my poetry I even would blow it off with poetic license.

The rebel nature of free verse still appeals. I will likely never be the next Haiku or Sonnet genius. Poetry speaks from the heart, and mine is often chaotic and unstructured. The meaning remains though.

So, just out of curiousity, what is your favorite types of poetry? Why?

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Awareness

I read something last week that has been bouncing around in my head. As I was not planning to write about it,  I did not save the blog link,  or I would refer to it.  I enjoy reading and on any given day read a dozen different blogs. Most do not stick around taking up head space.  This one did.  The gist of the blog was that though it had been a bad year,  perhaps it was not as awful as it seemed.  It spoke about how we are exposing ourselves to news in a constant barrage.  The blog likened it to an assault on the senses. Now it is that idea that has been bouncing.

Is the level of available information a bad thing?  As a writer I enjoy being able to research anything whenever I want. However,  I have had days where opening social media was oppressive. Simply because of the horrible things man does to each other. I remember that my grandma did not watch the news and did not read the paper. She was able to be blissfully ignorant unless she chose otherwise. She was one of the most intelligent people I have ever known. Now we assault ourselves with the news and wonder why we are depressed. I can’t help but think that there must be a better way.

 

Aesthetic ideals 

Each person views aesthetic beauty differently. As a writer I tend to struggle with the concept. Physical beauty has a different description depending on the narrator. So describing a character with a flair in many ways requires a narrator who is fleshed out and real in the writer’s mind. The narrator’s voice will also affect the character’s beauty. For example, if the narrator speaks of a woman “Her mouse colored hair hung limply over dull eyes of chocolate brown.. ” most will see her as unattractive.  However,  if the narrator instead says “Her lovely mouse brown hair sheilded her large chocolate eyes,  which were dulled with pain.” we feel an attraction to the character. 

So when writing one must keep the voice of the story in mind. We writers often see our characters as children,  and thusly love them all. My issue is that i am inclined towards gorgeous villains. I usually like to believe that most great villains have a backstory that explains why they are. The readers often do not get to read the villain’s story. Perhaps that’s why we judge beauty so harshly….because we see only part of the tale.

Practical versus sensual

                  Over the years,  I have become very practical about how I write. Due to low money, I started writing more digitally.  I convinced myself that I enjoyed it just as much, if not more because of the fact that editing was easier in digital. I forced myself to forget the lovely sensual pleasures of a pencil in hand. Or the smell of lead as one writes. The joy of seeing your own handwriting on paper. Still digital allows easier editing,  and I  do loose things written on paper far easier.  However I think it is something as the digital age progresses that we are loosing.  As we stretch for practicalities,  we too often pass on just the sensual aspects of what we do.
                       I enjoyed my tenth & eleventh  grade years in high school,  mostly for the teachers who encouraged unique minds to be themselves. One class in particular, creative writing. The class was an English /language arts option.  The teacher was laid back and easy going.  The first two days of the week were reading. Her rules those days were only that you read, she didn’t care if it were comic book or novel.  We had four books assigned (one per quarter ) but otherwise we had freedom of choice.  We did have to do a report on what we read,  basically review it for the teacher. Then the last three days were writing.  Those days she wheeled in a huge A/V cart. There was various types of paper (construction,  college ruled, kindergarten lined, tissue,  etc) and various writing implements (pens, pencils,  crayons,  colored pencils,  etc) on the cart for us to use.  Rules for the writing days were simple.  Each quarter we had to finish one project.  That meant a rough draft, a edited and proofread draft (by a classmate ), a draft proofread by the teacher, and a final draft.  That opened up the whole class for creative learning.  I truly believe the ability to use so many different mediums helped. Which mediums catch your fancy?  Do you create best when you use just one type? 

What is in a name?

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

― William ShakespeareRomeo and Juliet

                        Names are unfortunately a necessary evil.  There are so many meanings and so many options where names are concerned.  Many grow to dislike the name that was given them,  for various reasons.  Some  seek to change the name given them.  As a writer I have often used a brain exercise involving names to clear my mind.  It’s actually even a semi interesting game.  Choose a letter… any one will do. I often do all the letters to expand my mind,  but all that is necessary is one.  Then using the chosen letter list every name you can think of.  For example if I choose “f” I would likely do a list like this:

Forest Fredrick Francine Frank Franco Francis Flicka Flora Florence  Flo Fred Frieda Fanny Franny Filla Francisco Francois Fenton Fester Fang Fresca Fip Frack Faith Ford Fessa Fry Frost Fauna Fenella Fena Fenelle Flava Fish

Admitted I usually do better but this was just an example.  The only rules are that it must be a name or make sense if used as one. Now as a writer this has more than one purpose. 

First it really is a brain exercise.  It causes you to concentrate. Thinking of those names are harder than you think. Find it too easy?  Set a goal for how many names you will think of. Brain exercises are something that gets your mind thinking,  not always something that requires genius levels of thought.

Second it can clear the mind for writing.  Sitting down to write is sometimes complicated by the random thoughts bouncing around in your mind.  Meditation helps but some fun can as well.

And lastly,  it gives you a list of names to help to flesh out various characters in your story with.

This is a easy game to use in both solitary and community play.  Set a time frame.  A minute or five. Then whomever gets the most names in the time allowed wins.

Remember unusual names are more possibility. Especially if you can give a neat background on the name.  For example,  My little brother is named Shane. My parents had a difficult time naming him. My father wanted to name him John ad a relative.  My Mom felt the name John too common.  So they reached a compromise.  Shane is a derivative of john.  This adds to the story of who the character of Shane is.
          So what is your favorite name?  And why? What does the name mean?  Sometimes choosing the meaning of the character name will help you to build a character that sticks in your reader’s mind. Keep in mind that if the person grew in some societies with an odd or unusual name it may not have been a pleasant thing. Or when they had said name.  For example.  I had an aunt named Beulah.  Now days this name is fairly antiquated.  This would cause cruel treatment from the peers of any child with the bad luck to be given it.
            So cmon…names…. discuss.

Late night ponderings.

                  So. I am awake.  It happens. And oddly enough when it does I manage to do some of my best writings.  It’s like this is when my mind is clearest.  When I fight with the demon known as insomnia.  I already added two poems to my poetry W.i.p. and now I am going to ramble here. My thoughts are this….
                    Is social media truly being social?  We have been asking this question as a society for a while now.  These sites allow us to lie. To become people we wish we were. There is a serious issue there.  Still it also allows us to communicate with people who are so very far away.  It makes the world seem so much less.  It allows family and friends who are far away to connect it ways that would be impossible otherwise… but that’s not always a good thing.  I personally use it to promote my books and sell my crafts.  I use it to keep in touch with those who I have known and love. For me…the recluse writer…yes it is social activity.  However I am strange… what?  Did you really not know that?  Lol. What about you? What do you think?  Is social media truly being social?  I wonder for the non introverted people out there,  if social media is something else?  Perhaps it is tedious.  If so do you only do them for your family?  What is your reasons for being on them?  Which do you use? There are so many choices.