Living in the question

'. . . the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.' RAINER MARIA RILKE Letters to a Young Poet

Thursday, 25 August 2011

The words I want to write . . .

Having been at summer school all week there has been a plethera of words, everywhere we turn there are words, words and more words.  Always thought provoking, always stimulating but always too many to absorb so maybe it was me being perverse that made me choose to go to Nancy's writing workshop this afternoon - as if my brain hadn't already had a surfeit of words.

Writing remains a challenge, unless of course it is for a sermon, but creative stuff still scares me in spite of all the groups I go to and all the times I sit down and try to conquer my fears.  I know they are irrational and that there are words inside me wanting to come out.  Nancy spoke to us about metaphor and simile and then told us to go away and write - so that is what I tried to do and eventually this is what came out.

The words I want to write . . .                                  

The words I want to write are yours,
sounding better to my ear
than words that drip from my pen.
I find the voice in my heart
is evading me once again.

It happens all the time.
the pen hovers above the page
the mind is blank,
Yet. . .
something inside aches to get out.

The body, it too speaks lies.
I am a different me,
not the one you see
or that gazes from inside the looking glass.
Would that it reflected the inside me.

Writing now,
I shut my eyes and
breathe in,
deep and slow.
There are no pictures 
just an eternal darkness.
No stars,
pinpricks of light,
to pierce the gloom.
They are trapped,
trapped deep inside;
wanting to escape
not quite knowing how. . .

Once more the pen hovers . . . 
still . . .
I breathe again . . .
Pen,                 poised,            above the page,
in ready expectation.

There is nothing . . .
No thing at all . . .

The words I want to write are yours
You – the one with the voice.

(of course the voice is mine!!)

Friday, 5 August 2011

If you want to write about . . .

Yesterday saw me at writing group once again.  I am feeling less insecure about putting pen to paper and find I look forward to the monthly creative writing session with Norm and Robin, who certainly challenge us in our writing.  We started with a debate about capitals at the beginnings of lines of poetry wich proved quite lively and I remain firmly on the fence - it depends on the poem and the poet and I always did like e e cummings.  The debate found us looking at various poems - DULCE ET DECORUM EST and DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT, to name just two.

Then the challenge. . . .

Norm always sets us a challenge.

We had read Paul Simon's lyrics 'IF YOU WANT TO WRITE A SONG ABOUT THE MOON' and the transcript of an interview about how he writes his songs that he did with Norm in 1984.
Then Norm asked us to write our own 'If you want to write about . . . ' but the challenge didn't stop there he gave us each our own individual subject.
I knew he was going to challenge me as he paused before he said 'The Power of Three'. I gulped and a couple of people who know I am a 'Unitarian' Minister laughed.  To give him some credit I don't think Norm knows about Unitarianism - he just knows that I'm a minister. So he probably thought the subject would throw up some profound religious stuff; and I suppose that if I had more than five minutes to come up with something I would have written a poem that spoke about how three is alien to me in so many ways and that for me it is all about one. But sometimes I try to keep the ministerial me separate to the writer when I am in this group.

So this is what I wrote:

If you want to write about the power of three
then think about a cube.
Each face a dimension on it's own
ironing out the flatness of your world.
If you want to write about the power of three
move away from the limitations of the page
and its' two dimensional reality.

And if you want to write about your life
then think about duality;
up and down,
forward, backward,
in and out;
three pairs that point inevitably
to . . . not three . . . not two 
but one, the one that is me!

After the writing we shared our poems and there was considerable surprise when it came to mine - I think everyone had also expected something religious.  But after the session, for the first time people started asking me about Unitarianism and how it was different, and why was the 'power of three' so funny in my context.  They were truly interested in why I hadn't written religiously.

So thank you Norm, and you know what

If you want to write about Religion
don't and you'll speak about it anyway.