Short Not Funky

I think I just referenced a Too Short song in this post’s title.

For the past few weeks (months?), I was in a funk.  A writing and life funk.  I hadn’t been writing as much as I was during my fellowship.  I’d been struggling with balancing time, work, writing and money.

I think I’m out of it now.  I’m learning to be present, to let things be, to not resist experiences right here, even though they can tough.  Last night, I met with my writing group, MMIX Los Angeles Writers, to eat dinner, chat, and share in-progress and finished work for our MOCA reading next week. I think a good night of exchanging work and creative spirit does good for the writer.  It’s nice to remember that the community is there all along, even when the writing process is isolating and lonely.

After the meeting, I couldn’t sleep.  There were so many ideas running in my head about future possible readings, first lines of poems for my aswang project, lines for a poem about an old job I had in West Oakland.  I tossed and turned in bed until 2 am, and finally sucuumbed to the muses.  After all, they don’t show up very often.

This morning, I prepared for The Blood-Jet Writing Hour, and read more poems from Cool Auditor by Ray Gonzalez who was the guest today.  His whole book is composed of prose poems that explore music, surrealism, the desert landscape of El Paso, his family.  I had never realized that the prose poem could be so fluid, awake, and free flowing.  I think I had been afraid of the prose poem this whole time.  Ray also released another book around the same time called Faith Run, which is a book of more autobiographical poems with more “traditional” line breaks.  How cool to see a writer play with language, style and form, in two separate projects.  It was especially fascinating to see how both books bled into one another, in terms of content, yet their distinctive forms dictated the tones and musicality of the poems.

A writing assignment (for myself, and for you, too.  Please comment with your poem if you’d like.):

Write a prose poem about the landscape of your hometown.  Invite the mountains, ocean, hills, in addition to the pop culture figures from your childhood, your family members, and best friends.  Let them breathe, live, and interact all within the same paragraph.  Let the surrealism of their relationships exist in the poem.

Now, write a different poem with line breaks about your hometown.  How do the breaks change the tone, music and content of your poem?

I’ll be posting soon!


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