creative grit

"poems are hard" quotation on pub chalkboard

The guy at the pub is right: poems are hard.

Sometimes you have a great idea – the tiny bit of grit with potential to grow into a beautiful pearl – but however much you turn and tweak and worry it, it seems to refuse to gather form and realise its potential.

When this happens, all you can do is put the notes to one side and let your subconscious go on working while you get on and do other things.

If the guy at the pub really is right, beer maybe one of the first things to turn to, but I’ve found that a poem may need to sit for weeks or months or even years, so there’s plenty of time for other things, too. I seem to have lived a whole life-time since I put some of my poems to one side, hoping to gather the necessary distance, experience or expertise. And, though years have passed, in many cases I don’t yet feel ready to make them work.

Still, perhaps the important thing is to have an idea in the first place, and my current problem seems to be a lack of this creative grit. Of course, grit isn’t just the trigger that starts the creative itch: it also means fortitude and determination. Perhaps I have a tendency to head for the beer too quickly.

Anyway, with no ideas of my own, I wandered off to the Quaderno de Notas blog again in the hope of finding some inspiration I could appropriate. After all, Road Movie, the last new piece I posted, was a transcreation based on an original by maderadebloj.

Among many interesting thoughts and ponderings, I found this:

Siempre he pensado que los ríos
hubieran preferido no llegar nunca al mar.

That set me thinking.

Summer seems to have arrived and people are talking of holidays. Some will go to the beach, some to the mountains or into the countryside; some will take a city break or go on a cruise. But if you were a river, you wouldn’t have a lot of choice would you? You’d always be on your way to the seaside.

I’ve never been particularly fond of beach holidays, so I can’t say I envy the rivers, year in, year out, always going to the same spot on the coast. It must get old.

I suppose, though, that rivers are always tumbling over stones and dirt, and when they reach the coast they may find millions and millions of gains of sand – an almost limitless supply of bits of grit to start the creative process.

Except, of course rivers are water, and “water can flow or creep or drip or crash”, but it won’t be irritated into making a pearl or writing a poem.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

3 thoughts on “creative grit”

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