Saturday, August 6, 2016

about daily practice

It wouldn't have occurred to me to do a poem a day if Kit hadn't initiated it. I wouldn't have thought it was possible but when you get into it, it becomes entirely doable, so long as other things don't interrupt too much. You need time and space to think and write, so sometimes that doesn't happen. For that to happen, it has to be possible in your lifestyle and with your loved ones. So that's where it might be unusual, not that it's not possible mentally and creatively, but getting it to fit into your life.

The funny thing about it though is that it does become a desirable thing to do. Also reading other poems on the blog is attractive. You can get impetus from other people when you might not have had a completely independent idea to start with.

Another thing that's unique about this process is the interaction with other writers and the way connections occur, the way you find parallels and stimuli in other people's work, the way you respond, the way they respond. That is pretty unusual. I have been part of writers' groups in the past and found that they had a similarly contextualising effect. It's really important to have an audience of some kind and a small audience of sympathetic people is really helpful. If you don't have access to an audience, your work remains personal. That's how we were thinking in 1978 when we set up the first women writers' workshop (No Regrets) associated with The Poets Union, NSW branch - women were not coming forward and calling themselves public writers as much as men. They didn't have the opportunity to externalise their works and that has a deep effect on your work and your production. That's why we set up the workshop, so people could come out as writers in a supportive atmosphere. I'd been to workshops or writer gatherings previously that were very harsh and judgemental, the kind of things that could turn you off writing or showing your writing. There are lots of people writing out there who are turned away by gatekeepers of various types. It's been good with this group that none of the 'expert' persons have been appraising or ranking anyone. That can be so off-putting, and I think it's immature as well. A decent writing community is accepting and fertile.

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