Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Between the Lines

I don't know where other people go when they write, but I'm going to start asking around. We tend to talk too much about the logistics of writing. The when and where and music-on-or-no-music, the struggle of the discipline itself. But there's a bigger "where." I'm exhausted from going there today. I was revising 4 different poems and was especially stuck on one of them. I'm in my 15th draft of it, and just can't get it quite there. As much ambivalence as I feel about writing (I hate the grinding work of it; I love having a completed piece of writing that I really like; I hate that no matter what I'm doing, I think about how I would write it), there are moments of being really deep inside it that are literally breathtaking. I sit at the screen and start this shallow breathing that occasionally leads me to hyperventilate. It happened the other day and scared the shit out of me. I thought it was a stroke or some other thing I definitely did not want to be alone with. One Ativan and 30 minutes later I was OK. Anyway, the shallow-breathing thing usually is more like a "don't breathe too deeply or you'll scare away the words that are forming right on the cusp between the brain-dark and the accessible." I don't realize I'm doing it. Today was like that. I was inside the poem, almost like stepping over the bottom rung of it to look at it from the inside. Trying to see the innards that just weren't cooperating. My eyes were burning from the staring at it. I don't know a good metaphor for this, because the first ones that came to mind were either being deep inside a cave, or being deep below the surface of the ocean. A deep sea diver. Neither appeals to me. But it's when I've gone there that I feel most like a person who is truly connecting with her art/craft/essence/deepest self, etc. etc. These past 3 months have been sickeningly difficult at times. I've been so depressed that I've had chunks of time where I could not move from my bed. Not a nameless clinical depression; a situational one. I've thrown myself at productivity just so I can say this situation didn't destroy me. I need more moments like the ones inside the poem. I need redemption.


  • At 12:08 PM, Blogger radagast said…

    Your writing feels redemptive, to me. I sometimes wish my writing process/space were more wrenching. I'm sure I would write better poems.

  • At 12:12 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Mine is usually not wrenching at all, except for the back pain from sitting for too long. Just once in awhile I go into some good zone, although I hate the term "going into the zone." You don't need to have a wrenching writing process...your poems are wrenching enough (in a good way) for your readers.


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