My Poem Writing Process Part 1

Hello Friends!

I am excited for the new year ahead and as usual, this time of year comes with its own reflections and resolutions, I am not usually one of those people, and so I am not saying that I will be writing more in the new year or trying to write one poem a day, every time i try i fall flat on my face and it hurts to have words stamped all over your forehead from hitting the ground.  So that’s not happening.  Nonetheless something is happening these days, and new year or not I am going to follow it for as long as it allows me to.  I have been writing and been inspired lately to get back behind the desk and write with more intention and speak to the new lessons and discoveries I have made for myself and to push forward and create into what I want to become in this new chap book of my life.  (I have a baby on the way if you haven’t already heard!)

So as I go along the process, I figured I would also take this opportunity for those of you that might be interested in what my process as a writer, poet, performance artist or whatever you would like to call it looks like.  In so many ways, the power of an artists work  isn’t only represented in her finished creations, but in the story of how those creations came to become finished.

Tyler Floren Art

I have been blessed in my early stages as an artist with the opportunity to witness and to learn from the story and work of an amazing artist, friend  and most importantly brother, Tyler Floren (Trust me, you will want to check out his work) His work as an artist has been some of the most influential work in my life, and has informed my work as an artist like no other, in so many ways the images he paints feel like the words that I write, and I have been able to sit with him from the beginning of some of his pieces, and see them grow and evolve, I even got to work on some pieces with him (The one pictured above)  and come to life as the story of his own unfolded.  So many people only come across his work at its final stage when they are hung on walls, but there is such a beautiful gift in being able to see the story come alive and grow with him throughout the time that it stretched to complete the work. And for that I have been eternally grateful.

My Own Process

That was a long segue into saying that I wanted to take that inspiration and this opportunity to share the same with you!  I am working on new pieces and have set intention to begin writing a new series of performance pieces in the next few months.  Tyler and I have some ideas for a future art/poetry opening road show of some sorts, so here is my attempt at beginning that project.  I figure I could perhaps attempt to document my own process and what it looks like for me to write a performance piece from start to finish to share with others as well. I am not really sure where this will take me,  but It seemed like a good place to start something new, begin paving new roads, and to travel out into unknown territory with a sense of resolve for the road ahead. So here goes….

Step one: Free Write

In the past I used to try and have an idea of what I wanted to write about ahead of time, today I am going to start out with nothing in mind and see where that takes me.  Often times I will just free-write without any thing in mind and let my stream of consciousness take over.

I often see this step as a sort of “cleaning house” or as I’ve heard it before “taking out the garbage”, getting words out onto paper and finding a good rhythm with your words and ideas is like stretching before a game, loosening up the joints and getting ready for some real work.  Some times it also ends up being a lot of the work already.  Think about it, the more loose you are, the better you will be able to trust your reflexes and intuition.  In that sense, when I can get my mind to remember that, the free-write can be the best space to get the makings  or beginnings of at least an idea or subject for a piece that needs to come out.  So today, I will start the process with a free write with no edit…..

———–Begin Free Write——————

Always being sent back in time
to remember how much
we are enthralled in the velocity
at which we soar through galaxies
in the force of a passionate lover
alive in the touch of uncertainty
painting in colors unseen
still unknown for the masterpieces
we have yet to create
unbound by the rules of
folklore or form
frenzied in the relentless passion
to forge into the sun
steel rings made of our boundless creations
untethered in conventions or value
we are the infinite possibilities
breaking through
time or space assuming they exist
In ways we have yet to comprehend
or how others thought them to be
For instance, The plains in the distance
still open in their futures
are ripe with surprise laying in wait
Beneath the tall grass
covering steps behind
blazing trails ahead
igniting words into rich color
as compassion sears into our flesh
the marks of our unbending strokes
the impact of words that collapse walls
into crumbling towers made of misunderstanding
for we are all stories tall
building deep into foundations unlimited
scraping high into towers of infinite possibility
that courage our expression
into swords of bravery cutting down
the fear that threatens to suffocate
the breathing force inside
letting loose the binds that hold
captive the coming alive of hands that
form and shift ideas into images and
break images into frozen frames of time
bending endlessly
In our creation there is destruction
In destruction there is creation.
Both, broken sides of a complete coin
waiting to be cashed in for new currency.
There are new words to be written
old stories to be told
broken images to be painted
memories to be reconstructed
dreams to become reality
Follow the direction in which your hands move
they will show you the way
Trust in the push and pull of your expression
when the storms of life begin to weather
study the force inside of you
that beats when the compulsion to create
is lit
The stage,
the canvas,
the mic,
the beat,
the dance,
the lyric,
the melody
The pulsing rhythm
of vibrating matter
reverberating through your body
of life flowing freely through your blood
in the time line of eternal creation
Listen carefully
You are waiting inside
bold and bravely
ready to become

—————-End Free Write———————

After reading over it a few times I have begun to get a little bit of a glimpse of what I am trying to say.  There seems to be a huge emphasis on what it feels like for me to be an artist. The ways in which I see myself and how I have been thinking a lot about what it means for me to call myself an artist, and what that calling entails.  I know that there is something inside me that identifies as an artist and I fully believe that I have work to do in order to fulfill that calling, but why?  Where does that come from and what does it mean to me?  Especially when it comes to “making a living” and living in this society how can I fulfill what I believe to be a calling while providing practical needs for me and my family? It is obvious that this has been on my mind and it is directly connected to so many of the important questions already happening in my life.  Perhaps this piece can develop into my own answer to that eternal question, “What does it mean to be An Artist?” Writing for me is an opportunity to create what I want to become, to use words as a manifesto for who I want to be and give myself a prayer to recite everyday on my journey to getting there. So I see this moment as an opportunity to define myself for this new chapter and evolve deeper into becoming myself.

I’ll continue along the process in the next time I step to this poem and work on it. I feel that it will be pretty soon, so don’t worry about being left hanging for part 2! Until then, blessings!


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