I began reading Sir Thomas Mores “Utopia” for the 487th time, and continued getting interrupted. Thus, I am going to not only complain to all of you about it, but rant on about writing.
First and foremost, and what I have the biggest problem with emotionally is writing something then having everyone think it was currently happening to me AT THAT VERY MOMENT. Yes, some writing of mine is very personal, but it’s typically so wrapped up in metaphor that it’s hard for people to discern whether it is true, or imaginary. I like it that way, actually, that way I can make more of a riddle out of it than an actual testimony of my life.
Some writers are very personal, there is one man I know that is writing of the death of his wife over and over, I am sure it is helping him to heal from it. Thus, every word he writes he probably actually FEELS. There is another that I know that only writes of sex and politics. I’m sure they are quite personal to him, and he believes each and every line in them.
I’m not one of those kinds of writers. I want to write about everything. I want to shock you with what I have said, the brashness and boldness of it, and I want you to remember it, and me. Although it is all very dear to me, very very little of it is personal. I’ve written about having sex with Hades, and of fighting huge battles of war, neither of which I have actually done. I’ve written a love poem, then a hate poem in the same day. You would truly have to think I’m terribly bi-polar to think I write personal poetry. My favorites typically are the ones like “The Necromancer” that not only have nothing to do with me personally, but are complete fantasy. Another favorite of mine is “Advection.” The last line of that kills me.. “What will you do with all these ladies hearts..Eat them?” So many men that could apply to.
I believe that writing is a gift, not everyone has it, and right now we seem to have an influx of mediocre writers that are eager to put books out that only their friends are buying and reading. I’m not saying I’m not one of the mediocre writers, but I think there are a large quantity of sub standard work out there that is being touted as being a good write, and we need to get real with that. Your friends and family are going to say you are a good writer, of course. Your test is if you put something out and strangers actually want to buy it, read it, and enjoy what you have said.
Another thing we need to get real with is that poetry is not revered in the United States. Prior to me having friends overseas (primarily the UK) I didn’t know fantastic poets like Wordsworth, Keats, Yeats, Donne, Marlowe, and the lovely Moliere. (I have a crush on Moliere)
Thus, you aren’t going to sell a ton of books of poetry in the United States, and the problem with trying to sell it overseas is advertising. In the years I have been a writer, and all of the work I have done to ‘get my name out there’ I have not been successful at advertising in the UK. It is my theory that it’s because of national pride, and just a tad of prejudice. Whether we like it or not, the United States isn’t known for producing brilliant people, nor it is known for producing talented writers and poets. Granted, you could sit and think of a few off the top of your head, and that is great. Those people are now dead. I know, so are the ones I listed above, but it doesn’t take a scientist to see the difference in the manner in which we write. The two nations have different standards in writing, and in looking at a paper published in the UK versus one published in America will show the clear difference between us.
Thus, if you are going to get your name out in the worldwide format, then you better be a kick ass poet, and have a great plan of distribution and be ready to fight some stigmas. Like it or not, if you are an American Poet, you are going to fight against more than one of them.
Some people are not meant to be writers, just idea people. You may be one of those, and hell, I may be one too. Maybe we are just meant to say “hey! I have a great idea for a write!” But then allow someone with the talent and ability to write it out. I’ve thought that more than once of people I’ve read. I’m sure you have too. “That’s a great idea, too bad it’s a shitty write.”
I’ve given my opinion to people that asked for it on their poetry, and my number 1 advice to people is to push the envelope. You aren’t going to be remembered if you copycat what has been written for decades, you WILL be remembered if your writing is one of a kind and says plainly what people pussyfoot around.
The second thing that bothers me about writing was the people with mediocre (at best) writing being published, because of the fact that people can now self publish so easily. Then it’s a popularity contest to get more reviews, and likes on this book to try to get the general public to read it. It’s a sick and twisted type of manipulation I refuse to participate in. I’ve never been a fan of popularity contests anyway.
When I get an idea for a poem, it comes to me like a light bulb going off in my head. It’s typically something rather drab like “I’d like to write about a man loving a woman he cannot have.” Then I have to ‘Josephine’ it, which means it has to have some huge twist to it, which would probably be WHY he couldn’t have her, like she was dead. The idea stirs in my head a bit, then when I get a nice quiet moment, I sit down and write it.
Try doing that the next time you write, twist it up a bit, make it something that isn’t ‘typical’ but instead, pushes the envelope. You may like what you end up with.