Last week I volunteered to be part of an author’s blog hop, a project that gives writers an opportunity to reflect on their writing pursuit. Today, I am following Stacy Lawson (who I met in the Artist Trust EDGE class) in the blog hop who answered these same 3 questions:
1.) What are you working on?
I just finished a poetry anthology called Flit: A Gay Man’s Poetry Mashup of Classic Literature. I submitted it to my publisher, Coffeetown Press, three weeks ago and I am waiting to hear back. I sent them the first sixteen poems back in April and they liked them a lot and told me to keep working on it. It is now a collection of forty poems. Hopefully they will accept the book and it will come out late 2014 or early 2015.
The title, Flit, is a reference to gay slang taken from Catcher in the Rye which is part of the anthology. Some of the other books I mashup include Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Moby Dick, Little Women, Dracula, The Great Gatsby all the way up to more contemporary works like Alice Walker’s 1982 book The Color Purple. The poem’s topics range from gay marriage, gay adoption, Harvey Milk, bears, the leather scene, transexuals, Log Cabin Republicans, and lots and lots of gay sex.
2.) Why do I write what I do?
I write the things I enjoy or find ironic. Things just pop out of me sometimes. Or I start with one idea and it shifts into something I didn’t expect. I like to make people think. Surprise them. Occasionally teach them. I am teaching and surprising myself in that process.
Flit is an example of this. It was fun taking an old classic book and turning it into a new gay poem. The words are all from the original author, but I tweaked them and the reader is left with “how did that happen?” They have to process the new poem and it’s meaning, while embracing that it came from another body of work.
3.) How does my process work?
I get an idea and I just try to get it on paper as fast as possible. There are about a dozen ideas floating in my head all the time. Getting them out of my head and making them happen is tricky. I have to be ready for a particular idea.
Initially I don’t worry if the idea or the writing is good or correct …just get a first draft completed as quickly as possible. Almost like a stream of conscientiousness. Just be free and fast and fearless.
Once there is a draft, then I began molding it. So much of my writing is letting the piece of work tell me what it wants to be. Listening to my gut feeling. I love to experiment and twist something into something else unexpected. I let myself be unafraid of anything when I write.
With each draft, I let the work simmer. Everything slows down. I will put something away for day and then come back to it and it looks different. I can see what I need to do. I try not to fret too much over the writing. It’s better when I enjoy the process rather than let it beat me up.
I used to pick at things: never let them be finished. I’ve gotten over that.