Thursday, 5 April 2012

The haystack

This is what usually happens - I write in notebooks. Every day. A lot. Don't ask me how many words. I'd rather write them than count them. There's usually one main book and one tiny pocket book that receive everything as and when.

Streams of consciousness, ramblings, personal rantings, ideas for new pieces, names of books to read, little sketches, observations, extra bits for bigger works in progress, ridiculous questions to myself that I never seem to answer, not in words, anyway, writing that I scribble in the middle of the night and struggle to make sense of in the morning. You get the drift. What they also contain, if you can bear to trawl through them, are fledgling pieces that ran out of the pen when I was lost in some wonderful semi-conscious flow, lost in the moment. Sometimes radiant, sometimes ridiculously bold, they hide in haystacks of words. And sometimes, I lose them.

Attempts to work in more organised or logical ways make for BIG trouble. And over the years, I've come to see that me and my muse like this disorganised way best. But the task of re-reading completed volumes is often left to one side for too long and it makes me sad that the sparks have faded by the time I return.

April brings Napowrimo and although I don't post a poem on my blog every day, I do use the month as an exercise in keeping more on task with where these little ideas are. The coloured pens and post-it notes come out and I collect a piece from each day in a separate simple notebook with only 30 pages, rewrite the bits that sing out, each on their daily page.

Each year, the April pages have generated some of my most interesting work, some of which has found success with readers, audiences and even judges. Thousands of people creating poetry around the world seems to work a little bit of magic. Last April was a particularly strong one.

This April seems to have begun without me, so I'm about to take a deep breath and begin to sift through a 5 day haystack and see what I can find.

The picture is from one of the glass panels etched by Hector Whistler at Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall