One of the consistent questions I get, when conducting a workshop or at a book signing is, “What inspires your writing?” And the answer to that is simply – everything! From a dog barking in the middle of the night, to the fog rolling in over the water at the beach on a summer day. I am inspired by the business of living and by the lives happening around me. I find inspiration in nature and in each of my five senses tuning in to the world and all its wonders.
I often think that people spend too much time worrying about what to write about, when they should simply be writing – about anything… Sunset and sunrise. Leaves on summer trees. Bare tree limbs in winter. Snowflakes and raindrops. Laughter and tears. Love lost and love found. Birds and butterflies.
The fact is, most of us spend too much time looking for inspiration when we should just be using the tools of the poet – words! Put words together – any words – “laughter tears raindrops…” Take those words and turn them into a line or lines, of poetry.
Laughter was vanquished
by tears raindrops running
like the memory of your fingers
down my face…
And then, let those first tentative lines lead you to the next and then the next. If they don’t, start again with three new words and see where they take you. While poetry may seem magical (and reading fine poetry is indeed a magical experience) the writing of it is, well – the writing of it. One word follows the other, becoming lines and then, a whole, complete poem – with a message and a mission and a meaning.
I will tell you, in all honesty, that poems I have written, often surprise me when I read them. I wonder where they came from and how I managed to say something in a certain way, or how I found that image that seems to leap off the page and grab me, as though I were not the one that had written it.
So, next time you are sitting around wondering what to write about, get up, look out the window, touch a leaf, inhale the fragrance of a summer day, feel the way the wind plays through your hair, taste the saltiness of sea water, watch the ripples on a pond in the glow of moonlight and then, write – and put your heart and soul into the words, make us know what you know, feel what you feel, be where you have been.
Words, one following the other, become the poem…