Inspiration from (not-words)

One source of source of inspiration for writing I’ve found,  surprisingly, is Twitter. Sometimes people will write or share very short, very abstract, outlandish jokes, to stick out other posts, and those end up being incredible in syntax, they must carry enough power and weight to grab your attention. People began compiling them before they’re lost in the mix: dumb snippets like “tell me the name of god you fungal piece of..” that are obviously jokes, but still carry weight. But Twitter people will often share snippets they find anywhere. I remember, someone had shared a photo of a church sign that read like “I want to be so full of Christ that even mosquitoes will say ‘there is power in the blood.’” A bunch of ads, or billboards are also potent, they have to give the same impact, with the same short space. Each word carries multitudes.

                I find a lot of inspiration from surrealist and abstract paintings- the texture of brushstrokes, blending colors, the implications of shapes and contrast inspire me, I try to capture that same “texture” in words, I guess you’d call it. Cubist paintings especially have a wild shape, I want to try and make my writing feel the same.

                One source that always inspires me, but I can never really capture well is the geometry of mindsets, the relations between people and perception. I always try to imagine thoughts and feelings and impulses as physical things. How do they interact? What symbol represents this type of mindset, what is gratitude shaped like, as an object? What motion/texture does it have?  I haven’t run out of this as inspiration yet, so it must not be completely bankrupt.

2 Replies to “Inspiration from (not-words)”

  1. If one of the things that inspires you is geometry, there is this incredibly interesting non woo-woo geometry book that I am currently reading.

    Honestly, this one of the coolest things that I have ever had the chance to engage with. Check it out. Next is a lecture that I HIGHLY recommend listening to. It is about Dante Alighieri and how cosmology was an integral part of his, and many other medieval poet’s works.

    I think Twitter is an absolutely valid source of inspiration as it definitely forces a compression of content into very few words. Here is a book that was recently published directly in relationship to social media!

  2. The project to match cubism and words begins in some ways with William Carlos Williams, in Spring & All, which is definitely worth reading if you’ve not already. I wonder if writers who work with experimental visual art in this vein – Barbara Guest comes to mind – might also be of wider interest. And I’ve recommended Inger Christensen elsewhere on this blog, for her Fibonacci poems – I think her work might match that “geometry of mindsets” phrase and idea (it’s a really lovely phrase and concept).

    That you write of poems having texture in terms of idea is not at all abstract, though it is conceptual – the different being, I think, that the former can seem uncertain/vague whereas the latter has a solidity even when its existential. I mention this because it resonates with work I’ve seen from you in the past, and where you might be headed: letting language itself have a kind of three-dimensional, material quality. This is the project of writers in the tradition of the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E school, and reading poetry and essays by those writers will be well worth your time, I think. Let me know if you’d like some specific recommendations…the list is extensive, so we can chat further to narrow it down! Lyn Hejinian’s essays in The Language of Inquiry would be a great place to start, as well perhaps as Barrett Watten’s Progress/Under Erasure.

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