It was a Saturday afternoon. Animation audio spooling through the aqua, red-roofed bungalow. Cozy.
She would let me play with the dough from whatever bread or baking she was making. She also made play dough for me, adding food colouring. She explains, not for the first time, that the homemade play dough recipe is similar to that for lots of recipes, like poori, for example.
She’d let me play with the poori dough too, always in a good mood when she fried dough for bread, which she would do, singing.
She would say that the home-made play dough was as good as the store bought kind, & she wasn’t wrong. She knew things. She was confident about that. It made me love the pink dough & the blue dough the most. She made them for me after all. Me at the kitchen table making art. Her making our life.
Poetry is a lot about word play. That’s why what I discussed in my earlier post: Notes on writing process 1 is so important. If you let yourself get even that sliver of an idea out of you, wherever you put your words, you are likely beginning to get deeper into a poetic concept, feeling, or idea you are ready to really work with.
However you work, whether it’s hand-writing, typing on a computer &/or working on a phone, part of the writing process is to really feel intuitive & playful with your chosen writing medium: they all have their benefits. They are all tools & practices which contribute to the way we can play with words.
For example, I use the wp block editor on my phone to structure rhythm & rhyme in especially my shorter rhyming poetry, as well as to give myself space to get concepts & words down concisely, then re-order them for flow.
I definitely play differently with words when I write in a notebook, & even still differently when I work in a sketchbook. On paper, I generally incorporate drawings & I can keep my edits in very visual playful ways, where I can revisit my writing process. It’s pretty to look at cursive as well.
I am very inspired by the shapes of words & letters as well as the linguistic elements of writing. Working between pen & paper, print & different forms of technology is a gift we have in this era. It gives us such broad opportunity to understand how our art works in different formats; & how our writerly process can build using innovative methods & alternating tools analogue & digital facets & tools.
Whatever methods you are using, it’s important to really play around with what the medium has to offer as well as how you interact with it.
Of course your individual style & writing needs will be informed by tools, & also very much independent of them.
We often judge ourselves when we are being creative, & that’s going to happen. Of course, do please try & be gentle with you…easier said than done, I know. I encourage you, rather than judging yourself or trying to be less judgemental, to try observation of your writing methods & patterns. It’s so much more important.
An observation I’ve made on my own writing is that, almost unequivocally; when I’m playing with words & connecting them to a poetic observation or experience, I try to work with a dichotomy of combining every day writing & speech with unexpected usages which sometimes surprise even me. I try to reach as far away from the every day to get to these juxtapositions.
This is a structuring principal I use for my free verse & prose poetry, which I consider to be my main. I like to break dichotomies. It’s a method I have found very enjoyable & I feel it brings out my voice.
There are a plethora of other word play techniques which offer different & interesting momentum for poetic stories. Combining them is also infinitely fascinating.
In addition to play & observation of patterns, poetry is about observing poetic relationships in art & life; including, but not limited to, other forms which use words such as music or movies. This isn’t just about inspiration, it’s about relational elements in story-telling. This is where we get into discussions of meaning, wordplay & poetics. That’s a whole other post, dear blogosphere. Thanks for being here for this one. 💜
Note: I have been focusing on poetry writing because poetic writing methods are indispensable skills for literally all forms of writing & creative work. It’s fun too, & can help to bring interst & joy into all that you do. 💜