Auld Lang Syne

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Sound of a Wild Poet Writing

7/14/11  1130 PM

Back from the 2011 Maine Literary Awards event and now in the Marriott (S Portland) relaxing until tomorrow's author event at Borders. I am tired, but happy. No, I did not win in the category wherein I was named a finalist. I tell myself I came in second, but maybe it was Martin and I was third. No  matter. We are all winners when there are events like this one and organizations like Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance.

Were there surprises or disappointments tonight? Yes. I really wanted Dawn Potter (Harry's American sister? LOL) to win for her poetry book, How the Crimes Happened. I wanted Elizabeth Tova Bailey to win for her memoir, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. I love these two books and admire the authors. Selfishly I wanted to meet Elizabeth, who actually did not attend (sniff sniff).

But the feeling in the room was wonderful, the words of Robert Chute wonderfully inspiring. What did I take away from the event? Here it is: write. No matter what else there is to do, just write.

I am often asked what it is like to find something that seems to work, in other words, if I am "in the zone" or in some altered state of cognition or emotion. I can only describe the feeling as slightly wild. I get a little buzz in my head, sometimes I feel a little heat at my core. It is never, I repeat: it is NEVER a place of calm, never serene. I get the same feeling when I am reading something wonderful, something amazing. So, when the wild, that crazy-tingle feeling comes over me as I write, it is a clue for me that I must be doing something right. I might be in the magic space where I am not me anymore, the place where the words take over, where the poem tells ME what it wants.

The funny thing about that is that the poem often wants something other than what was on MY mind when I started writing it. I LOVE when that happens! I love the feeling of having to jump out of the way or duck when something surprising shows itself.

So what IS the sound of a wild poet writing? It's something like YEE-HA!

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