Saturday, July 14, 2012

Writing class at the home school


Maybe it is too much Pablo Neruda, too much wondering how the writer slips out of his own skin and becomes the water, the leaf mold, a Chilean winter.  Maybe it is too many years of interviews, press releases, weddings with peau de soie and stephanotis.  Too much telling, too little being.

Reporting trains us in useful skills:  paying attention, taking really fast, legible notes, writing under pressure and in chaos, presenting information.  It does not train merging.  It is not preparation for shape shifting.

What I think I am beginning to understand about poetry is the need to inhabit.  The Method Acting of writing.  In it, one has a single task, to be.  To be the loneliness, the anticipation, the fire, the furniture.

This truth has been stalking me.  It jostles me roughly on crowded rail platforms, cuts me off in traffic shouting expletives.  I believe it is how one lifts out of dead places with hollow sounds and ascends to music.  Now all that remains is the doing of it.


9 comments:

beth coyote said...

When I write, I unhook. And then the words, impressions, colors come; words find each other together in new ways, like automatice writing or taking dictation from the subconscious. Then I see the green in the green, the spiraling DNA all the way back to the source. Poetry (good poetry) is the cosmic dance. I look to poetry to tear down, break apart, heal and transform. Most vulnerable of art forms, poetry gives us the innards, the guts, the living and wavering light.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Beth - Yes, to all you've said, for I can see and believe it, even if I don't yet have the same deep, continuous experience of it. Each day a fresh chance to live and be more of the mystery. Thank you so much for this. xo

Angella Lister said...

And truly, Marylin, you are doing it. You are doing it right here.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Angella - Thank you. Even to hit that mark one time out of a hundred is so much better than never. xo

Sandra McCall said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandra McCall said...

oooh, I like your blog, Marylynn. This post, especially, rings true. I found, when I was trying to be a "real" writer, that the best stories and poems were the truest ones. And I also found that, for me, the truth hurts. All of my best stories came wrenching out of me. Writing with truth is painful. I always wondered if it was so with other writers.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Sandra - Thank you. I know that writing the truth is difficult, since first we have to know what is true. There is an aspect of being unmasked, revealed as who we are that surely adds to discomfort - pain - as well as what arises from the stories we feel need to be told. If this was painless and easy, everyone would do it. xo

toomuchaugust said...

this is entirely gorgeous. be the music, be the water.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Sherry - Thank you. I think the lesson of learning to inhabit has applications beyond writing, don't you? xo