Finding Material to Write

I think all good poetry is written from emotion. Either something happens that touches us in our everyday walk of life, or we are moved by the special events that mark how we give meaning to ourselves and our world at large.

This emotional response is not something that any of us can fake. Its realness is something we simply know. It is an energy that can be channeled into powerful writing that can evoke similar emotions in the others that read the results of our inner experience through our writing.

What I suggest is to sit quietly in your own place all by yourself, no music, no TV, with no other person nearby or at least occupied elsewhere in another part of your abode. Let your mind drift back freely into your day, into your near past, or perhaps back into your childhood. Much of what we become is formed in the first 12 years or so of our lives, when, to a great extent, we had little control. We were often a mere observer of events that were not explained, but simply witnessed. Seemingly, for the rest of our lives we end up trying to understand those formative years.

So here’s your chance to make sense of your experience through poetry. As your mind free-floats its way to those memories, you will find that some were imprinted deeply, and memories nearly forgotten can come back to your awareness. Seek out those moments when emotions were strong. Words that describe the picture poem of a moment may flow more easily than you could have hoped. Usually the first words you use are the correct ones, as long as they are the honest ones. You, yourself, will know which words are honest. The poems can be about anything, but generally it is about the what, the why, of that time in your life.

The next thing to do is to tie the what and why of your moment to the emotional commonality that resonates within others and makes them care. We all search for meaning, for connection, whether about joy or pain, and all else that runs in between or amuck.

A good poem connects you with the universal, connects you to the Universe. This is a tall order, but whether or not we think that is what we are actually doing by writing, that is what we are attempting to do. All is fair game, but because all good poetry springs from emotion, the best and most honest emotion is found inside, in our own inner lives and how we relate to all that connects us to our past, present and the ongoing world.

The Bible said there is nothing new under the sun. Perhaps this is true, yet all is made new as we discover it and reveal it to ourselves and to others. In the winter, in a world of white, no two snowflakes are alike. How can this be? Considering this paradox, and all else that makes up the whole wide world and ourselves, how can anyone ever run out of something to say, or to write?

Featured image by i naina_94 under the creative commons license on Flickr.

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