Monday, December 17, 2007

Notebook Idea - Lost Words

I'm clearing out my old notebooks. Part of me would love to keep each one I've ever filled, but a bigger part of me says, 'if there's anything in them that's really worth writing about, it'll come back, at some time, and in some form'. And anyway, it's not that I'm short of things to write about. No-one is.

So I usually allow myself a few years' build-up and then I tear up or burn the older ones. Although when I first pull them out of the big bottom drawer in my desk, I tend to flip through and scan the pages for things that might just catch my eye... some seed that will fire my imagination. Yesterday the following phrase jumped out at me:

a jumble of yellow bones

I couldn't remember writing it and the context made no sense to me at all, but the phrase has stayed with me, although for now that's all it is, a phrase that suggests a picture, maybe a particular emotion. It has no meaning. Maybe that will come. Maybe not. But these days I want my writing to mean something, not just to me, but to the reader. I don't want to create poems that might startle with their level of craft and/or subject matter, but not take the reader any further. I'd like my work to make people think. I'd like my work to be about some 'thing', for ideas to arise from it and take the reader further into their own life experience and relationship with the world. I don't think I always succeed, but having that in mind keeps me focused.

Free writing ideas:
  1. Look through an old notebook and see if a phrase leaps out from the page. Don't worry about the context - start writing from that point.
  2. Write a list of things you have written.


Sharra said...

Lynne - I think you're very brave burning your notebooks - mine collect dust on the shelf!
Just think tho - they could be worth a fortune to your descendents when your books are studied in schools years from now :)

Lynne Rees said...

Well, this isn't something I'd tell other people to do... it's just me. Though I have kept my very first notebook, ever, from 1988. It's a spiral bound memo book, 3 by 5 inches, and I began it while reading 'Writing Down the Bones' by Natalie Goldberg. On the second page I've written - 'I'm sure when I read back over this I'll read it as a load of junk.' And I wasn't wrong! Though I also wrote, about writing, a few pages later - 'I want to do this thing'. I suppose that's the bottom line - wanting to write, really wanting it.