Invasive: tending to intrude on a person’s thoughts or privacy

Much of my writing is based around an intrusive thought. There are always moments in my day where I see something that will remind me of someone or something that I want to push far back into my consciousness; something that I desperately do not want to remember. It could be brown and curly hair, a song on the radio, the smell of a burning cigarette; anything can send a grenade into the psyche that explodes into an intense memory that I have tried my best to erase. These little invasions lead to some great poetry, as, at least for me, it’s easier to write about trauma and the things in life that are less than happy than things that make my heart sing. Yes, some of these memories are positive, like the sounds that my ex-boyfriend made while he slept beside me, but they are always tinged with some form of sadness, or perhaps regret. They are no longer, they are but moments in the past that come back to haunt the present. Even if I am in a better state of mind when I was when the memory took place, part of me is always sentimental about the past, always wishing to go back. But, as I am here, in Geneseo, the only place to go is forward, into the future.

The invasion of thoughts stands as a foundation to a work. My process most often starts with a thought popping into my head, most of the time completely out of the blue. I have found myself on line at the grocery store, at a bank, driving a car, when out of nowhere I will need to stop whatever I am doing to write down an idea before it slips away, never to return. These thoughts are fleeting, however they are strong in nature, and require immediate attention, and then more and more attention until I feel satisfied enough to post them to a blog or put them in my google drive folder of poetry, to forget about it until I find it at a later date, and have to start revising again.

Basing poetry off of a memory has always been an interesting idea to me. Not only are you able to vividly describe a scene, but there is room to put the conclusions of the event, as well as the implications of what has occurred, and how it will effect the speaker. The speaker of each piece is given the opportunity to not only share something that has occurred, but to give it meaning beyond what is actually being said.

Invasions of the mind are inescapable. It is not only difficult to truly push these memories out, but it appears to be impossible as humans don’t even know the entire capabilities of our own brains. So, if you ask me, the best thing to do with these thoughts is to write them down, and see if they provide any clarity to the present day that could be useful in everyday life. Embrace the little invaders, and remember that no matter how unpleasant the memory, it is still your life, and is, in the end, under your own control, and no one else’s.

One Reply to “Invasive: tending to intrude on a person’s thoughts or privacy”

  1. You’ve hit on a fascinating paradox in the genesis and reading of much poetry: that we’re often engaging with the past and memory (it can be why we write) but we’re also working towards, even anticipating, a future, including a reader. For Wordsworth, this process was “recollection,” which I like to think of as re-collecting, gathering things again to put them to (new) use. I’m curious to see how knowing you’re invested in this two-way paradox, back and forward, might help you write poems that reflect on that very situation, draw it to the reader’s attention.

    I also notice here a language of kinesis and even violence, the metaphors of grenade and invasion and popping. It’s too soon to know the forms that’ll take in your poetic writing, but I’m curious to see how far you might be willing to push that, formally as well as in terms of images and lexicon: what might it look like if the poem were “popping” in some way on the page, based either on how the words sound or how they are scattered on the page? Who might be writing that kind of poetry? Hannah Weiner, perhaps (https://jacket2.org/sites/jacket2.org/files/imagecache/wide_main_column/Weiner-CJ-image.png) but also Sam Sax more recently and in different ways (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/147630/lisp).

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