Longhand is the only way I can write poetry. Longhand feels more organic to me than typing does, I feel more connected to the words. I hate pencils, but if there is nothing else around I’ll use one. Otherwise, any decent ball point will do if it slides across the paper smoothly. A roller ball is fun because it is wet, sloppy, and smudgy.
Whether with pen or pencil, I cross out all mistakes, never erase, and when I’m thinking, I draw a box around the crossed out words and fill them in really dark. Sometimes if I have to think for a long time, I tear the page from coloring in too much.
I have tons of notebooks to write in. However, my preferred practice is to grab some paper that is going to be thrown out anyway–like a bill stub, an opened envelope, or a computer printout–and write on the empty side. I usually keep pretty good track but over time I’ve lost a couple of poems, one of them I mourn as my best. I think about it a lot but I don’t know if I can write that one again.
When I do write in a notebook, I never start at the beginning and work my way to the end. Rather, I randomly open the book to a blank page, trying to stay a few pages away from another entry, mostly because those pages are wrinkly and the ink from my boxes show through the back, and sometimes it leaves a mark on the facing page. I rarely use the same notebook twice in a row.
When I was younger, my favorite topics to write about were romantic love, social causes, and the occult, in that order. Nowadays, the aspect of the occult I believe in the most is intuition. I want to live by it but I don’t want to be a fool. We need to be aware of social causes but I’m too self-centered these days to want to write about them.
As for love, that’s for another post. When I get to it, that’s going to be a hard topic for me to talk about.
© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2010.