Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Writers Read... and Listen

I am blessed to be able to have a dedicated daily writing time - although it is occasionally disrupted by having to finish reading a book. The last two books I have read (Rashi's Daughters by Maggie Anton, and Breath by Martha Mason), have helped me greatly with my writing! The first provided great historical insight and the second provided me motivation and inspiration to keep writing!

A few weeks, ago, I had also decided to read poetry to help my writing. I chose a volume of children's poetry. It didn't work. I don't think you can read poetry with that purpose.  I have read some great poetry - most recently by my friend Stuart Card, who writes beautifully about life's challenges and a childhood in Scotland. But, I think poetry's influence is far more ethereal and subconscious -- and indirect.

I have always been a Joni Mitchell fan. I used to sing and play and listen to her music for hours on end. Over the weekend, I rediscovered her again, and what a poet she is! That poetry was implanted in my brain at an early age, and now, I can appreciate the images and stories she told in her poetry and allow that influence in my writing. She truly captured the essence of some interesting characters and the passions of a generation. I have already made some changes in my current project based on some of her musical character sketches.

Sometimes, maybe most of the time, our poetic souls cannot be fed deliberately. They need to graze and ruminate and absorb. Music helps that for me. So does time...

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