We live in a fast-paced consumer society, in which we are always looking for the next best thing. Now that the BBC has lost Bake Off they will need to search for something else; car manufacturers seek to make the fastest car they can, while we check our twitter, instagram and facebook always searching for something new to fill our minds with. I can’t stand that aspect of our society, so it feels a little disingenious of me to say that as far as my writing goes, I am always looking for my best piece.
In May I got on to a small stage with a mic in a pub full of writers and listeners. I stared straight toward the back above everyone’s heads absolutely terrified, thinking that literally anything could happen. I reasoned “well, I’m here now”, drew my breath and performed for the first time with no script infront of me. I nailed it. I didn’t fluff my lines. People nodded appreciatively and laughed at appropriate points during Selfie. They chuckled at the other one I performed, and I recieved some praise afterward. I had similar feelings after a more recent performance. Overall I was pleased, although there were things I could have done better. I felt great about Mark Seven Fifteen as a poem and the performance was good enough to go online.
But I now see these as poems as pretty immature – not in content (I feel they say something important), but in the mannerisms, syntax and devices used. Although there does seem to be more freedom to ‘tell’ rather than ‘show’ in spoken word than in written word, there is more room for subtlety in those particular pieces. It is wise to revise and strengthen your work, and I am doing this with these ones.
However, I enjoy more the task of seeking out the next poem to write. I am enjoying a period of sustained creativity at the moment, and I am encouraging this by not sitting around waiting for the muse. I am working on multiple poems at the same time. Words beget words. Phrases can spark other phrases, and lines can worm their way into a totally different piece to the one in which they were born. Not everything written will be good quality, but over-all the writing in the finished products will be of greater quality. Often writing is like pulling teeth, but I now actively look forward to sitting down and figuring out what the poem should look like, because it may just be better than the last one.
This goes for a lot of things we do. A fellow runner reminded me that “you have to believe that your best race is the next one.” Becoming faster and more efficient
means plugging away at each training run. Progress can seem frustratingly slow. It’s taken me 4 or so years do take my comfortable 5k time down from 40 minutes to 30. It will probably take the same length of time to push below 25 minutes – but it will happen.
As for this blog, it is a learning process of figuring out what works and what doesn’t; what is easy to write about and what takes more time; what people seem to enjoy reading; how long I should make each blog post; what theme, if any, I should write about. Please bear with – my best post is coming. I don’t know when, but it’s on its way.