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Say it clearly and you make it beautiful, no matter what.
Bruce Weigl, The Impossible
Impossible is a phenomenal exploration of vulnerability, violation, and the sacred. Simply put, it is a beautiful poem. A beautiful poem about childhood sexual abuse.
The language is crude, stark, and lovely. Bruce Weigl understands sound, structure, line breaks … okay, you get the point. This is not what makes Impossible beautiful.
Beautiful writing depends upon truth. Truth is sacred — worth regarding with perpetual, ceaseless awe. Truth requires more than syntax, style, or voice. A lot more.
Truth and beauty are not equivalent, but they are the same.
This much I know:
It takes courage to rip open your chest cavity and reach in. It takes audacity to tear out your heart. And finally, it takes vulnerable strength to hold it – to hold it in humble spaces.
Pleasurable language and attention to craft are not enough.
I’m not a big believer in writer’s block. Most of my motivation issues are fueled by reviser’s block.
When running, I seem to do much better after a warm up and some stretching. I write like I run. Sometimes the warm up is a list of observations. Sometimes I try to answer an unanswerable question. Sometimes I write mediocre pantoums before switching to free verse.
Here’s one of my favorite warm up prompts :
- Create a stockpile of words. Cull the good stuff from magazines, the newspaper, or any other print media. I cut out words and throw them in an old pencil tin. My public libraries sells old magazines for 25 cents.
- Invade your stockpile of words. Start by selecting three words at random.
- Toss the words over your page. Paste them where they land.
- Create a poem by writing around your words.
How do you prepare for writing and revising?