Poetry and Other Things

Recently, I've been talking to several other people, artists of all sorts, about collaboration and wondering where all these ideas are coming from. Not that I'm giving the game away about the exact ideas on here - well not just yet, although when any of these potential projects get off the ground then I may well be blogging about the process. But it's the ideas, and the novelty of them that is engaging me right now. I don't necessarily mean originality here, although I do think that at least some of what's in the air for me is original. But I've been meditating about why I've suddenly been possessed by a number of creative ideas that seem to bear little relation to anything I've written for some time.
I think it's partly because I've been working with media studies students and their excitement about their own projects has proved inspirational. I had forgotten how wonderful it could be to engage with a piece of work simply for its own sake.
The best way of explaining it is maybe to relate something that happened to me in the past.
Once upon a time, I studied a long, ancient and mysterious poem, as part of a university course. And no, I'm not saying what it is, because I have a feeling that somewhere down the line, I'm going to want to go back to it! But it's the process that interests me. I laboured over this difficult piece of work for weeks, until I was bleary eyed and confused. And then suddenly, it was as if some strange correspondence between the words, their meaning, and the shape of the poem on the page slotted into place, and I understood it and its implications all at once. It made me dizzy, like looking at an infinite panorama or up into some great dome. And of course, it may simply have been fatigue! But that doesn't invalidate what in retrospect was one of the key experiences of my life.
Well, it faded. Other things took its place. Until recently when some of that excitement seems to have come back. I'm not sure why. Perhaps I've given myself permission to take myself seriously as a writer again. I don't mean that I'm going to write relentlessly joyless stuff - but I do mean that I'm going to try to write with a real sense of experimentation.