Only Connect

I started out my writing life as a poet. When I began this blog in May many years ago, I wasn’t even sure I could write to the right side of the page. But I was a freelance copyeditor and wanted to write about copyediting.

This was before my poetry buddy turned to me and said, “You know what?” When this person says, “You know what?” you know your poem if not your life is about to change.

“The stories you tell about [historical figure] is more interesting than your poems.”

Shit. OK Poet Friend, I will change my life. I will spend hours on this blog whining about how hard it was to form a narrative, to make things interesting, to incorporate what my nonfiction professor called the third voice in memoir, the place one inhabits in a certain location in time, that is, in history.

This leads me to a homegrown residency. I am in a rented attic, listening to the rain. It is our last full day here, and I’m trying to freewrite about why the historical character I am obsessed about is interesting to me. Why do I write about her? How does she fit in?

The poet says, here is object A and object B. The connection between the two, dear reader, is up to you. But I am not writing poetry. I need to expand, I need to understand my own motivations. I need to talk about them in a way that makes other people give a shit.

What writing problems are you facing today?

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6 responses to “Only Connect

    • This is what makes residencies so good. You are consumed with guilt for doing anything other than doing your dishes, petting Otto the Cat, or writing. Now that I’m home, we’ll see how it all goes.

  1. I love this. “Why do I write about her?” reminds me of one of the main rules of writing: Write about what keeps you awake at night. She’s keeping you awake!

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