Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A POET NOT A NOVELIST

Those who know me well are aware that I write in many different genres--short stories, novels, poetry, memoir and personal essay. I've had some nice publishing successes with personal essays and short stories and my poetry collection is being designed as we speak. Still, I have always had the feeling I should be writing novels. First because that's what I read the most. Second because it seems to be the most viable publishing option in commercial terms. But what about my heart and soul? What kind of creative work lies there?

I am writing a book length memoir and I will continue with it because it's an important story for me to write. But after that I need to seek my creative center and when I cut through the fog--which in real life was thick as whipped cream this morning- I do not find novels in the slivers of cleared space.

What I find inside the soft rosy tissue of my creative soul is poetry. Poems sing to me, both reading them and writing them. If I'm away from writing poetry for too long my heart seems to wither a tiny bit until I feed it what it longs for. I am also drawn toward mixed media art and creating art journals. I love when I can find creative ways to intertwine my poems with my art. That is at the core of who I am and that is what I need to do as a writer.

It's difficult to explain to people who write novels that I need to focus on my poetry and art. Not everyone understands the soul of a poet, and sometimes I don't understand it myself. And so I need to write more poems so I can understand my own creative soul better.

I am a poet and artist, not a novelist. And the median ground I find in writing flash fiction lets me follow the lines of a story while still using poetic language. And I love the act of writing short, letting it sit a few days, going back to revise and then having a finished piece to submit. And I can take these short pieces and put them together in a chapbook or even a longer collection.

I need to follow my heart through the fog of confusion and cut through the resistance to doing what lies in my soul. Clarity comes in the lines of poems and the swirls of paint on canvas. Let me be clear in my creative soul.