Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Style without limit.

Since writing the last post I've been doing a lot of thinking about my voice and I've decided that I don't need to figure that out just yet. I should let the voice develop as I go along and figure myself out. I'm sure it will come together. My reader will probably know my "voice" before I do.

In the midst of all this thinking of my voice I got to thinking about my style in general - which lead to thoughts of style, generally - which lead to my latest writing endeavor:

Style Without Limit.

I figured the concept was worth an endeavor. Let's see where this goes!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Beyond the byline.

I was listening to that new Soulja Boy Tell 'Em joint this morning (Hop up out the beeeeed, turn my swag awwwwwn, took a look in a mirror, said what's UP. Yeaaaa...) and as I turned my swag on I thought about how most people that pay any attention to hip hop or pop music will expect a certain kind of sound (his style of music, content, lack of adept lyricism etc.) when they hear a song associated with the name "Soulja Boy Tell 'Em." He could definitely grow and change as an artist and thus his sound would change - but as of now, the Soulja Boy Tell 'Em sound has been established and much of his success is due to consumers merely EXPECTING that sound when they hear his name attached to a particular song.

I thought about it and it hit me - as far as my writing is concerned, I really don't have a "sound!"

I've looked through through the things I've written through the years and it seems to me that I don't really have a particular sound, or rather, a voice. I'm missing that particular "something" that makes me stand out amongst the bevy of bloggers/writers on- and offline. I've been doing a lot of thinking about this, and looking through my work, because I have been SO UNINSPIRED lately. Boo.

It's not about a lack of things to write about. I can come up with a bunch of things to write about - and as a matter of fact, last Tuesday I attended a free article writing class at the Gotham Writers Workshop where I had to do just that. Our instructor basically had us do an idea development exercise, which we started by coming up with a long list of very general topics that we were passionate enough to write about. I was actually surprised at the number of things that came to mind as "topics I'm passionate enough to write about" - any one of them could be the focal point for an entire blog or website or publication. The exercise continued on with us developing a particular article idea from one of our more general ideas - a great exercise which left me thrilled about writing...

And the next day - nothing. I sat with a (virtual) piece of paper in front of me and came up with nothing to write about. Boo.

Since then, I've been exploring my issues and I realize that the problem is not with ideas but that I don't have a particular "thing" I'd like to be about when it comes to my writing. I don't know what makes me stand out - I don't have anything in particular to offer that's different or special than your average writer on the come-up. I have yet to come across a successful artist that didn't have that "thing" they're known for. And I believe that if I'm to be taken seriously as a writer, I need to establish my voice. What do I think I should be delivering to my readers? What should people expect when they see my name in the byline?

I guess the process of growth as an artist means developing that voice. Right about now, it has me sort of stuck.

Writing this was just my way of trying to unstick myself. If I write something here tomorrow, it means that it worked.

Monday, April 6, 2009


In my last position - one which didn't even last two weeks - I was required to pack a lot of information into one sentence. That was essentially all there was to the job. I took the position knowing it would be a challenge to do this repeatedly (especially given the amount of information we had to work with!) and for the brief time I was there, I did NOT do well at all. While I do think it could have been something I eventually learned to do well, I also hated doing it. No love lost on being let go. And considering how much I hated doing that work, I'm puzzled - one of my favorite forms of poetry requires me (the poet) to do exactly what they wanted me to do at that job: pack a lot of information in a very, very limited space.

But whatever. Haikus are fun. I enjoy the challenge of trying to say a lot in 5 syllables, and then 7 syllables and then 5 syllables. And I know I don't have to stick to this formula - but I ENJOY trying to say all I want to say while sticking to the formula. It takes discipline and focus. It challenges my creative juices.

Here are two I recently wrote:

1. Kiss.

Mottled lips part.
Exhale darkened excitement.
Inhale in pink tongues.

(You can also find this posted by me here).

2. Untitled.

The universe speaks.
Thrust yourself toward your fears.
To conquer, confront.

I've been creatively out of commission for a little while now. I think it's high time I got things going. These were just warmups.