I took what was said in my last workshop to heart, and I really tried to stop using all of my fire musings. Gone were the analogies of fire, including but not limited to: “crackling like teak wood in a blaze”, “engulfing infernos” and “bubbling blisters”. I even tried to stop using words that even equated to temperature, and instead used words like “atmosphere”. (Side note: I’m so crazed with the usage of heat/ temperature, that I snuck another use for temperature in that last poem, and i’m surprised nobody picked up on it. I tried to make words even sound like “temperature” with my line “temper at your forehead- pointing”… Whoops. 🙂 )
But I digress. The point is that I tried not to, and it produced some very unique work that I hadn’t seen in a long time from myself. I kind of did something similar to what we were asked to do last week for our weekly poem, in that I asked myself to look for the “negatives” in my thoughts.
I ended up breaking one of the rules of the prompts in looking to the opposite of heat, (something it explicitly told me not to do), which I found to be a cooling feeling instead of simply ice cold. I tried, for now, to stay away from any extremity. In doing so, I found that thinking of cooling sensations brought me back home, to the South Shore of Long Island, where waves provide a refreshing option to baking on the hot sand. I tried not to think of the unforgiving sun, and I thought of what it feels like to step in, and to navigate the rough waters and rip tides that every Long Islander learns to do. My work benefited immensely from this, so I decided to do it again, but I used flowers, and I thought of the wildflower garden I was able to grow from mere seed packets. I tried to focus on the calm coming from the muses of my poems, and if I were to signal any kind of feelings of being uncomfortable, I would write about the absence of the feeling of zen. It’s said that “cold is just the absence of heat”, and I tried to use that.
Upon reflection of my style change, I found that I wasn’t truly writing about fire and heat, but about intense emotions, stressful situations and about being burnt out by personal issues regarding myself and other people. My transition to using different ways to express these feelings helped me identify some of these factors in finding newer ways to express them. Maybe it’s as simple as grabbing a thesaurus and looking for a better word for some people, but for me it required an entirely new thematic pattern for my writing.
The point of me writing this is not to make a blog post about myself, but to outline the process of revision. For those of you who seem to be going through a phase like myself, I think it’s worth noting the process of processing the “negatives”, so that you can try to break out of it. It might bring you somewhere familiar, like me, or maybe you can travel to another setting. Making a point to step out of your comfort zone is scary, but so worth it!