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Creating a Poet's Journal : (Part II) Page 2 of 3

Creating a Poet's Journal Part 2

continued from page 1

"What do you write about?" "Where do your ideas come from?" "What is the source of your poetic inspiration?" Always, I am asked these questions. Not, "How do you survive on ten cents a word?" or "Is it possible to work two jobs and still have the energy to write all night like a burning genius?" Everyone seems to want to know the source of inspiration; the best subjects for a poem or a short story; the way I structure my life as a writer.

The answer to all of these questions — and none of them — may be found in a poet's journal. Poets are notoriously slippery creatures, not prone to giving straight answers about anything. By sharing my poet's journal with you, and helping you to create your own, I hope to assist in your journey as a poet, and answer a few of the most common questions I'm asked by beginning writers. In this article, I'll explore these questions and raise some new avenues of inquiry as we continue our exploration of this fantastic tool. For more ideas to help you begin a poet's journal, please refer to part 1 of this article.

I write promiscuously — that is to say, I write about anything and everything that captures my attention. I write about my obsessions and petty jealousies; my fantasies and my dreams, and I write about the grind — the nitpicking details of daily life. As for where my ideas come from, I truly couldn't say. Sometimes, I'll overhear a conversation and get an idea for a story or a poem that way. Something I see in the newspaper will strike a chord with my Muse, and spark an idea for a novel.

My daily life provides some inspiration for my writing; as do my dreams at night…but sometimes, ideas just seem to fall out of the sky. Characters arrive fully formed and start telling me their tales. I'll see a vision of a whole other reality, a completely different life than the one I'm living, and it's all so real and alive that I can't help but write it down. I would love to think that all of my ideas come from my divinely inspired mind; my poet's soul, but I can't be that conceited. When the writing is hottest, ideas seem to flow through me from some outside source on their way to the page. I step out of the way of my muse, pen in hand, and write like mad to find out what will happen next. What comes out is often surprising, delightful, with a dark singular beauty all its own. So it is safe to say that some of my ideas come from me, and others come from a mysterious outside source and move through me on their way to the page.

The question of what inspires me, however, is a slightly different one. I find sources of inspiration everywhere, and keep track of some of my favorite places to rendezvous with my muses in my poet's journal. Laundromats, bus stations, coffee-shops, galleries, and second hand book stores are a few of my haunts. I often get ideas for poems in the most inconvenient places — if I'm driving, taking a bath, walking the dog, or in the shower, inspiration is sure to strike — even if poetry is the last thing on my mind. But inconvenient inspiration is better than no inspiration at all! Keep your journal close by at all times so you can record these unruly ideas ASAP.

I am endlessly inspired and humbled by nature; the beauty and wisdom; the magic of it. I can glance out my window at the beautiful view of the mountains, or go for a walk at nearby Haviland Lake when I'm in need of inspiration. Where do you feel most inspired? Write a list of all the places you routinely encounter your muses, and visit them often. Seek out new places and points of rendezvous wherever you travel; take a pictures of them, make sketches, or describe them in your journal. Looking back at these entries from time to time will help keep them fresh in your mind, and can serve as an important source for inspiration when you're feeling stuck.

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