I write poetry; I write poetry reviews. I’ve committed acts of fiction but decided long ago that writing poetry was more fun, more satisfying than writing a 20-or-30-page story. I have no desire to write a novel. I can’t imagine extending a story for 400 pages. Those characters totally out of my control! But that’s the point, I guess, and how good novels are written. Characters whisper in your ear and tell you what to say next, and you sometimes have no control over it.
Writing poetry can be like that. Sometimes the poem appears on the page without you’re being aware of it. Unfortunately, this does not happen enough!
Why why why? I could say I’m compelled to do it and that would nearly true. I could also say I couldn’t imagine not writing and that’d be partially true, too. I existed for most of my life not writing poetry. Oh, there was always some project I worked on: learning to cane chairs comes to mind. Foraging for rose hips and making rose hips jam. My short career as a crossstitcher, as a seamstress, as an artist. My need to make soap. Once I macraméd a huge sun face out of jute twine. The spiders got the best of that. I macraméd candle-holders for glass insulator cups. Those were pretty cool until I lit one of the candles and the whole thing started afire. Maybe writing is safer.
I write because I like to. I love playing with words and sounds and rhythm. I love the way words echo off each other. Echo. Off. Each. Other. And to find that the words I’ve written might mean something or might resonate with someone else or might pull up memories like ghosts, like sparks rising from flame, is a great thing. Sometimes my words play well together, and sometimes, like unruly children, they do not. They don’t listen. Refuse to do what they’re told. Behave abominably. I love it all!!
I most often write in a notebook and then go to the computer. I write with a fountain pen. I love the way they scritch on good paper, they way ink sometimes bleeds on cheap paper. I like the way a pen sets down on paper, all the white space in the world in front and behind. I love that the pen pushes into all that white and words trail off behind. Computers do that and so do typewriters, though I never mastered the right touch for a Smith Corona. When I go from page to computer, I edit as I transcribe. I need to learn to save drafts and not delete things, but I rarely miss what I’ve exed out.
I wish I wrote every day. At least I think about writing every day! Every day, I try.
I also like the way watercolors spread like ink on Arches cold-pressed. Love those deckled edges!
Karla Huston is the poet laureate of Wisconsin (2017-2018) and the author of A Theory of Lipstick (Main Street Rag: 2013) as well as 8 chapbooks of poetry including Grief Bone, (Five-Oaks Press: 2017). Her poems, reviews and interviews have been published widely, including the 2012 Pushcart Best of the Small Presses anthology. She teaches poetry at The Mill: A Place for Writers in Appleton, WI. Grief Bone is available on CreateSpace and Amazon.
Linda K. Sienkiewicz is the author of the award-winning novel In the Context of Love, a story about one woman’s need to tell the truth without shame.
2016 Sarton Women’s Fiction Finalist
2016 Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist
2016 Readers’ Favorite Finalist
2016 USA Book News Best Book Finalist
2015 Great Midwest Book Fest Honorable Mention.
“…at once a love story, a cautionary tale, and an inspirational journey.” ~ Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of National Book Award Finalist, American Salvage, and critically acclaimed Once Upon a River,and Mothers, Tell Your Daughters