The two pieces that appear in the Spring 2014 issue of Newtown Literary are from my chapbook manuscript LEXICON, which is a project that was created during the process of my trying to overcome a stubborn case of writer’s block.
For three and a half years I co-hosted a weekly online show about writing called Poet as Radio, which consisted of my co-hosts and I interviewing writers (mostly poets) about their process and projects. While I was engaged in these amazing talks, my internal editor just gained more material. The ongoing discussion about what language can do and is supposed to do, and how we are able to act as poetic conduits, intensified my own expectations, which I took to the page every time I wrote. Pretty soon I was not able to write at all. I combated this by reading about creativity, about how the creative part of the brain and the editing part of the brain cannot fully function at the same time. Once we scrutinize, we squelch creativity.
During my second summer doing the show, I went on a yoga and writing retreat and was introduced to the writing marathon. During these marathons we wrote for hours without stopping. I was able to write without giving my internal editor too much power. I was aware of it trying to talk to me, but I would say to myself, “I’m going to ignore you and have faith that it will be OK.”
This work emerged from the writing I did on that retreat. Instead of focusing on themes or levels of meaning, I instead focused on play. I manipulated language in a way I had not before. By changing my habit, I was able to generate.
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