Creative writing is an artist’s perspective put to paper utilizing language in a creative way apart from the norm. Like any form of art, it’s highly subjective from the point of view of the creator. And, like any other form of art, will be highly scrutinized by everyone else based on their own perspectives, biases, and personal preferences. It can be extremely daunting for any artist, putting their heart and soul into their work, to allow their work, their very soul, to be critically, often harshly, scrutinized by total strangers. So, props to the lay-it-all-bare bravery of all artists out there!
Well, I think I’ve finally reached a point where I’m willing to post some of my writings for some honest impressions from people who have no reason to lie. I know it’s typically thought that “a work of art is never finished”, and I can easily look back and want to completely re-write everything. It usually starts with a tweak here, a re-word there, but before I know it, I might as well have just started from scratch. So, many years ago I started a journal that holds my “finished” works, signed and dated the year of completion, with a promise to myself I won’t touch it again later. Any changes made later on will necessarily be differently colored, altered by a new perspective, thereby creating something entirely different than the original. So, I try to content myself with writing something new when I feel compelled to alter something previously written. Since this is my blog, the works published here are my own – aside from any reblogs or guest posts, which will be noted of course. I may decide to include a published work, or portion of published work, that has inspired the posted writing which will, of course, be properly cited as well. I hope anyone curious enough or brave enough to explore my mind can find something they enjoy.
Since I was a child, I’ve been drawn to poetry. I find fascination in the Poet’s ability to say so much while actually saying very little. Edgar Allan Poe, Rudyard Kipling, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, Shakespeare, just to name a few. The rhyming in some poetry is not just for mental acrobatics, it shows the flow more clearly. If all the words in a poem are presented continuously, like a paragraph without punctuation, you can usually still read the intent and flow fairly easily because the rhyme offers a tone, a beat, if you will. Though I am no poet, I do write my own poetry on occasion. I’ve always had difficulty with obscure metaphor in my own works and tend to say closer to what I actually mean, but that’s me. I don’t beat around the bush much in real life so finding a way to express myself obscurely is not my forte. Consequently, I think most of my poetry comes out sounding elementary, but again, that’s me.
My History with Poetry
When I was in junior high, we had a poetry assignment that was to be presented on a large craft board and presented at Parents’ Night. This offered a side benefit, in my opinion, allowing us even more creative freedom to decorate the presentation boards however we wished to further accent our poetry. I was excited. We were to turn in our poetry attempts for approval on Monday prior to Parents’ Night on Thursday or Friday (I forget which since we didn’t go). Anyway, I worked hard on that poem over the weekend. I took inspiration from a rock song I liked titled “Into the Eye of The Fire” and chose to reflect that inspiration with the same title but the work was my own. I remember feeling very proud of the work I’d completed and remember thinking it was clearly way more advanced than a typical 12 year old. Well, I might have been half right. My English teacher loved my poem but kept making references to the song “Eye of The Tiger.” This really ticked me off, but since half the class also pointed out she was referring to an entirely different song, I didn’t try to point out that the title was the only similarity. The teacher brought it up several times, saying “it sounds like a song” and again referencing “Eye of The Tiger.” At first I assumed she meant because “Eye of The Tiger” was a song, then I wondered if she knew “Into The Eye of The Fire” and just didn’t realise the body of the work was different. I only remember now that I finally got tired of her bringing it up so the next time she said “it sounds like a song” I responded to her with “it is a song!” I thought she’d finally quit pestering me about it then, and she did, but not exactly as I had hoped. She accused me of turning in someone else’s work and insisted I start over. I was so angry and discouraged to have my efforts so shunned that I ended up destroying the whole thing, and wrote up something stupid and short – about a cat, I think – that took me like 15 minutes before class so she could more easily accept it came from someone my age. Now I really wish I would have kept my work on “Into The Eye of The Fire” so I could re-evaluate it with a more mature mind, but oh well, I’m left with my 12 year old mind’s insistent impressions. Ha, I’m sure the actual work I wrote was probably much more worthy of a laugh than I supposed at the time.
In high school I tried again, though this time it wasn’t an assignment. After we had an entire week of analyzing all the symbolism and nuances in “Sympathy for The Devil” by The Rolling Stones, I was curious for some genuine thoughts on what comes out of my mind. Again, I’m not real good at the symbolism in my own work, but for whatever reason I thought maybe this teacher could give me some honest feedback. Well, he kinda did, he told me my free-flow form would probably turn off most readers since my work doesn’t follow “the rules”. Other than trying to put my creativity in a box, I couldn’t fathom what else might be his point. I really don’t know since that’s all I got out of him, but it was enough for me to quit trying to show any of it for possible rejection for a while.
So when my emotions needed an outlet, I went back to writing, but it rarely ever saw the light of day. Except once: I submitted one of my poems to one of those in-the-back-of-magazines contest entries. “Beauty” is one of my very few poems that actually uses symbolism. Supposedly I won the right to have it published, but as far as I could tell, it was only to be published in their annual poetry book, which I’d never heard of, and smacked of “scam” to me. I didn’t buy it and will probably never know if it was legit. Now 20 years later, the handful of people who have ever seen some of what I’ve written were people I could count on to want to save my feelings. Brave, eh?
I love to read all forms of fiction, though I do have my favorites. More than once growing up, reading has kept me out of trouble, saved my parents’ sanity, plus provided me with new perspectives on all sorts of encounters my young life hadn’t had a chance to experience. Short stories of my own have not been one of things I’ve felt a strong need to write down, however that never stopped my imagination. When I was a kid, Mom and I would be in a mall or at the airport or someplace, we would people-watch and try to imagine what their lives were like. As an adult, I spent 18 years sitting in rush hour traffic five days a week, so one of things I used to engage myself was to look at another driver, take in what they were doing (on the phone, singing along with their music, talking with a passenger, etc), what decorations they may have (bumper stickers, rearview hangings, and the like), and imagine what it might feel like to be that person. What were they thinking or talking about? What was important to them? What was their life like? Depending on how much time I had to just sit and imagine, I could make up a while life story about some of these people. In private, I found it was incredibly easy to come up with imagined scenarios for the animals, at least in part due to Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, I’m sure. In any case, I didn’t begin to write down some of these short-story imaginings until just in the last decade.
All in all, I’m curious to know what other people think of my creative musings, yet equally wish they could just stand on their own without comment. All I ask is that respect be afforded in your comments. Bashing helps no one improve, and I will not approve asinine comments on my blog anyway (perks of it being my blog after all). So if you can’t control yourself enough to be constructive, then please just post on your own blog and ignore mine. However, if you have some constructive criticism, I welcome opportunities to grow. Besides, especially with the older work, I won’t be surprised if I have already had some of the same thoughts myself. Nothing quite like laughing at your own silliness years after you’ve finally grown out of a stage in life. So… Enjoy!