Thoughts on Creative Writing and Highway Hymn
Creative writing is quite personal. In other words, I write because I enjoy it.
At the same time, when I move a poem or essay toward sharing, sometimes called "publication," the creative process enters into dialogue. Many other factors are brought to bear.
On some level then, the "poem" if I am writing a poem becomes an object. That's my process. I become just another reader, a creating reader of course. T.S. Eliot, the poet-critic, called this the objective correlative in his essay, Tradition and the Individual Talent. This being said, I only want to write about the personal side of the creative process here.
Creating is discovery. I begin, when writing poetry (though this could apply to any art process, I propose), in writing about myself. In other words, a feeling appears and demands reckoning. Whether sparked in reaction to something outside or welling up from within, I often begin with a feeling.
Often, this feeling lacks words. Hence, writing. Hence, discovery. This discovery too could be about "what really happened," or at least a better view by this blind man of the elephant in the room. Or further, it might be an idea given some room.
Here at PM Press, I co-wrote a poem with my good friend and fellow poet, Marcus Colasurdo. It is coming out now in the PM Pamphlet Series, No. 16. Two years to write, 1 hour to read. However, we hope it inspires rereading, as any decent 22-page poem should.
The poem began as a discussion about poems that we wished existed. This went on for some time. Then we dared to write it. If I recall right, the writing began around summer 2016. We found it via revision and more conversations and day hikes and dinners during 2017. It's been a great conversation, Marcus! As I said, this blog is more about the personal side of creativity.
I (think) I just finished a poem, to be called Highway Hymn. I was driving as part of my work. A jet flew low over the highway. I felt jarred into feeling. Started composing out loud, hands on the wheel. Why not? I had an hour drive ahead. I turned on my iPhone and recorded it, with only a teeny swerve inside the lane. This was Feb. 15, 2018. Since, I've trimmed it.
Hopefully, it is improved. See below. Thanks for reading, if you got this far. I am grateful. Cheers!
As a jumbo jet low over the thruway crossed
more luminous than all but the harvest moon,
I had places to go and work to perform
as if an arrow was pulling me through
the chaos of this ancient orb
below the largest giver we know.
Yet again, above, a smaller jet
soared over in painted colors,
metallic remake of a bird, and I felt
we are transformers, rushing
as if from some prehistoric tongue
of a faded, first speaker to puff
a dazzle of replica on replica
to know ourselves only through
all unstoppable phenomena.