I’ve often liken my method of writing to an interactive conversation with my muse. Occasionally, it feels as if I’m merely taking dictation from someone who knows just what to say in a given line.
When I’ve managed to extricate a poem from a corner I’d written it into, I wonder, “Did I come up with that saving word or phrase, or do I credit my muse?” Writing is a curious collaboration, indeed.
Half for fun of writing lies in not knowing exactly where I’m going, even when I begin a piece with a roadmap of an idea only to find that the layout of my intended thoughts diverge along the way.
It can take a great deal of patience, on the part of my muse and myself, to allow a poem to get to where it is intended to go. The alternative to this would be to chisel rhyme out of unwilling stone.
This journey through the landscape of words, ideas, and nuance is akin to my lucid dreams wherein I have a certain measure of control; when I see a nightmare looming I can alter its course.
How does one avert a dream while dreaming? I learned, long ago, to keep my eyes closed as I began to wake up from a bad dream, relax into the lingering sleepiness, and imagine a better ending.
I did this every time I encountered a nightmare, and now it’s second nature to me … most of the time. I do not actually recommend this obscure dream exercise. I only know that it works for me.
And I note it here to make the point that, as with lucid dreaming, writing involves a measure of allowing, of investigation, of discovery, some inspiring surprises, and always a bit of editorial control.
With regards to this blog, and with some of my poetry, I’m in total agreement with E. L. Doctorow … starting with nothing and learning as I go.