What Happened to My Poetry Book?

Six months ago, I talked about compiling my poetry book. That time, I only had 40-ish number of poems. We already have around 400 today. But,

We still don’t have that book.

The positive

I have 10 times number of poems compare to when I just started.

The not-so-positive

Why do I take forever just to do a simple thing such as ‘compiling’?

I think, good thinkers hardly get the shit done. Most of the things happen inside and rarely get executed. Sometimes, I think I belong to this category. The idealist, who are waiting for the perfect moment to even, start.

The three things I want to achieve that I mentioned in the previous post; poetry book, blog, and vlog are still somewhere in the cloud of my mind dancing their best as dreams and fantasy.

We need to get them out.

Learning myself, I work best with a daily challenge, perhaps for a course of 1-2 months. To successfully execute thing one at a time is something I just realized about myself. I remember the daily Instagram #VCSO postings of portrait photography, consistent blog posts just to update my day to someone, then the engaging Facebook status, #sixwordstory, daily poems, daily tweets, and even the daily Instastories that didn’t get to stay long enough. I’ve done them all but separately, each exclusively on its own.

We need to figure out how to retain all of them, side by side. Plan better, maybe?

Anyway, I’m writing today’s post after I challenged myself to write 100 words, everyday on this blog. It’s the 252nd words as I’m typing this. Reached and exceeded my goal for today, Signing off now.

Start small, be consistent.

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Three Things, One Is a Lie

I first played this game at Bill Moran‘s poetry workshop, it was for the ice breaking activity (I didn’t break any ice though). I sat and hide my face silently, I probably came with way too personal things to start with, my feet got cold.

We were required to list down three facts about ourselves and one among those, is not true, almost right or the thing we wish to happen but didn’t or haven’t, and the audience will guess which one is that thing. The Lie.

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How I Write My Poems

A girlfriend (with her cute little kids) staying over at my place last week asked me about my poems. She’s amazed on how I choose certain words over certain words in my poems and she’s curious about my whole process of writing it. Is it really like jotting down prophecy or random inspiration? She said that every line sounds like different stories but as a whole, go well with each other. I take that as a compliment though I sometimes cringed re-reading most of my pieces – too many grammatical errors and awkward combination of words.

So, I told her about my workflow trying to convince her it actually can be done by anyone. Oh yes, there’s a workflow.

If there’s even prophecy in writing poems, it’s only one thing. The feelings. I think feelings are the core to a poem. At least for me. Other elements are mostly composable and there’s always a way to work around it.

#1 The trigger – feelings!

My steps are; first, I’ll write down that feeling. It’s like describing a situation. Sometimes a story, but a short one.

This is the skeleton. The details, the sequence or arrangement doesn’t matter at this point, I just need to get the setting and the feel; how I want the readers to be impacted after reading the poem.

#2 The words. All the words

Then I’ll write as many words and phrases as possible to describe the feeling in both languages English and Malay. I’ll also think about the possible metaphors or similes that I can use. This is the step where ‘brainstorming’ happen. The paper will look like a mind map with clouds of words everywhere rather than lines after lines of sentences

#3 The puzzle

I don’t know how everyone else is doing this but my composing step starts when I put the story and all the words altogether like playing a puzzle. This is the most fun part of the process, it’s like fashion designing and mix-matching the words to get the best outfits, in this case, the poem.

Resources

My English is not so perfect so I used Grammarly to check my grammar (there’s a premium version of Grammarly and I just use the free one) I go to Rhymer.com to find words that rhyme, I think Rhymer.com is the top secret here. I discover many new words from there and my vocabulary improves each time I completed a poem.

Apart from that, I also rely on Thesaurus a lot and simply, the Google. You have no idea how extensive the research just to compose a single line. I believe it’s the same thing when someone is writing a book. Not just doing research, but a writer will also try different jobs and stay at different places just to experience different characters for their books!

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