Monday, February 23, 2015

Week 51: Nine of Quills

My Poet Tarot card drawn this week was the Nine of Quills.  This card offers a reminder that just as there are bumps along life's road, there are bumps in a writer/artist life.

Just as much of life is beyond our own control, there are things that happen that get in the way of our creative endivers.

Sometimes we find that a project that is really important to us is not going  as planned.  Maybe we are experiencing a block that has paused progress. Or maybe we have had some criticism of work thus far and this criticism has caused us to question all our work thus far.

Criticism can be very helpful. It can also cause us to surrender or own creativity to the view of someone else. First it is important for us to listen to others with our heart. To be objective of what they say, but also to know that the decision of where we go from this point is up to us. We must trust our own instincts after assessing criticism.

The Nine of Quills wants us to use times like these to make whatever adjustment (if any) is needed and then decide how to proceed. This card wants us to learn to embrace challenges.

Maybe we need to step away for a while and come back with a fresh perspective and pick up where we left off.  Maybe we are to modify our work or perhaps hold fast to our original view.  These things are important to us...

  • patience
  • trust
  • flexibility
When our creative life gets bumpy, we can turn to these three virtues and deal directly with whatever that challenge is.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Week 50: Robert Lowell - The Personal Bleeding Into Writing

This weeks Tarot Card connects me to Robert Lowell. My first impression, another tortured soul of a writer. But I also know Lowell to be an influence on numerous poets from his time period. Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Elizabeth Bishop, W.D. Snodgrass to name a few.

Lowell's best known work is probably Life Studies. You might credit Lowell with the beginning of the Confessional Poetry period or at very least he was an early player. His life, his struggles became entangled with his writing. Like other confessional writers of this period his work was both celebrated and criticized. In part perhaps because at times connected others so precisely in his work that the ethics of it was called into question.

So what can I learn this week from Lowell?  Do I have the ability to write from an internal perspective of my own life? Is their value in this?  I have long been touched in a positive way by the work of Sexton and Plath. I have been especially drawn to poetry that can be a bit on the edgy side. Maybe dark at times. This is not to say that I don't appreciate more uplifting material as well. I don't consider myself a Goth. Is there therapeutic value in writing confessional poetry? How do I feel when I read poetry that gives enough insight into other personalities as to know who is poet speaking about?

So I ask myself this week if there is value in incorporation one's own life history into poetry?  I have to a degree done so in the past, I think at times unknowingly  but sometimes will full knowledge as will.  I think very often I have been aware of the bleed over into poetry of some personal aspects of life and I have to say I am not always really  free about letting everything in. Yes, I do sometimes self edit out things I might be uncomfortable with. Actually, I  more often edit out things I think others might be uncomfortable with. In revision, I have been known to sanitize so to speak. I'm not sure that I'm happy as I look back at this because it says to me that I am not always genuine. But in the moment of revision, it is harder to feel this way as I am more likely to be driven by fear, discomfort, or  shame.

Lowell may have had it  right to dig deep into is life. Such writing can bring us insight into ourselves. But is that the best writing to submit for publication? I suppose that is an answer that only each writer can answer for him/herself  For right now, I do not have a static answer for this question today. It will have to wait.

But I will be communing with Lowell this week about these things. My views may shift as I explore these questions. At some point I will update where this all has taken me.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Week 49: Ten of Mentors - Don't Hesitate to Fix What's Broken

This card is a tough one for me because it gives me permission to make changes to things that are not working.  Sometimes I will struggle through something past a reasonable period of time. I don't like to give up. I often equate this with failure. Yet, failure is very much a part of art. It's how we learn. How we improve. How we find new and unique things.

I've got a manuscript right now that is not working in the present form. That doesn't mean that  there are not good aspects of it. It could perhaps be split apart into two or more manuscripts to work on. This is in fact what I'm going to work on this week. When something ceases to inspire then stand it on it's end and make something else of it.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Week 48 : Nine of Muses

I've drawn the Nine of Muses before. This Tarot Card calls me to seek harmony between my home, my work and my art. If I can do this, if I can establish a balance in my life overall and do so withing my artistic lifestyle then I can truly celebrate success.

This means I must make time to write but I must remain focused on my broader life as well. I cannot exclude on area of my life at the expense of another.

When I am doing as the Nine of Muses expects of me, then calm should prevail as opposed to drama.

Make a calendar of my writing related chores for the next two week - just as I do my schedule at work or household tasks. See how I can be more at ease in my overall life.