This post is not meant to be read but experienced. I would ask that you sit tight for the first couple paragraphs before checking out. The main attraction is just around the bend. I hope that you engage it with an open mind.
When I started this blog in mid-August, I envisioned a cultured following – one that could grow with me and question the often disregarded, starting novel conversations and learning about the world we know and love in a new and exciting way. Since this time in which I have nurtured but two posts, I have amassed a 1,000-plus following on WordPress, become acquainted with my city’s mayor, and been invited to speak on the Start-Up Stage for the next Ted Talk conference in 2017. While I knew that great things would come to fruition through The Anthill Moment™, I never expected it to take a turn this quickly. I am truly grateful. As a result, I have been asked to share my writing approach with my audience.
For this post, I will keep my presentation relatively short. I thought that it would be fun to share how I have honed the craft of poetry to work for me personally. Poetry, after all, is simply learning to write beautifully, allowing your audience to experience and feel a piece of you in an intricate way. It’s a subtle shift in perspective.
When I sit in front of my computer screen, several things happen. First off, I’m not staring at the screen unless I have a vision and an urge to produce. It’s organic and far from forced. If I have nothing to say, then why in the Lord’s name would I say it? Conviction and feeling: the origin of all that humankind pursues. In the land of the free, necessity and the will to survive are now secondhand. This could be a good or a bad thing. Depends on who you ask.
If I am writing in prose, I engage in the flow of consciousness, continuously typing as thoughts sift from my brain to the Word document – seamlessly. After the bulk of my vision is printed, I review the piece from top to bottom. I exchange one word for another. I ask myself if one thought could be expressed in a more effective or expeditious manner. Once concrete ideas are exhausted, I leave the piece to sit, returning at a later time. Michelangelo said it best:
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
In the same way, I chisel my poem – constantly. I return again and again, molding and formatting her features as I see fit. When it seems as though no more clay can be added or removed, I let my work sit and distill. I return from time to time, with less intention than before, like revisiting an old friend to see if I can briefly inform him on my life since we last met. If there is nothing new in my life worth sharing, it is then clear that he has been well-informed. My wishes are fulfilled and we can now part ways. He will depart, a stone fixture with an eternal voice.
That is one aspect of my writing process. There is a second enhancer which I often utilize. I’d like to introduce you to something called method writing. At first, I thought it was my own creation, a new spin on “method acting”, but it turns out that this has been a budding artistic approach for some time now. Since I have not coined a new term, I will give you the textbook definition… Method writing essentially places the author within the author’s story, a first-person view that fills the shoes of the actual character or eyes in play. The author makes an intensive effort to place himself in the environment that he intends to portray in-text so that he can effectually express the content in vivid detail. It is not so much a documentation of your surroundings (as Thoreau would have it) but rather, it is about experiencing and living out the perspective, feeling the ambience come to life as you should have it come to life in your story.
The poem below is a result of this method writing process. Once I had the skeleton of the piece at hand, I placed myself in the environment and let it naturally enhance my content, like adding meat to bones and creating new life. However, my Moonlight Sonata was never born of playful imagination or experiences of the outside world to begin with. The way that Beethoven’s actual Moonlight Sonata made me feel – that moonlight provoked my literature. This piece of music was so profound and powerful for me that I could envision myself inside its scene, a mental transport and sweet reprieve. And so I lived with this masterpiece for weeks on end, listening to Moonlight Sonata on repeat as my imagination ran amuck. After chiseling the bone dry, this is what came of it. I did not conduct the “orchestra”. It conducted me – and beautifully, I must say.
This poem is yet another expression of an anthill moment. If you have not read my first post, I define the anthill moment here: the-anthill-moment
I encourage you to listen to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata as you read mine. Let it take you to another world. Literature must evolve, just as music genres do… just as film has. Technology is changing the way we do life. And so, let us redefine the art of reading and take the escapism experience to a new level. Let us begin the virtual reality movement of literature. Enter my story and see as I see. Author’s intent has never been more clear as we pair the emotions evoked by music with the thoughts expressed by prose, creating a world all its own. Find a quiet room and leave this world behind for a couple of precious minutes. Prepare to take your journey through the beating sun.
I am still waiting for that anthill moment
Grisly bulks of heat are carried in my palms
Which, perspiring, it will be difficult to handle the slippery hot metal of that red lawn chair
Currently, shallow and wet breaths fill my vessel
Cold drops of dew wet the walls of my sarcophagus lung – I look about the hilly arena
The green grass is a drying pool of radiation – sun smoke is hovering just inches above the uneven ground
Above the uninviting; above that tantalizing and vibrant green which shines through
Strenuous days give way to further-hewn summers, I am still shaking my head
Broiling heat rays rain down through the thick air as I trudge on through the overgrown grass
My hands are worn and rigid, drench-filled, sweat trickles from my pores
At the curvature between my thumb and index, I focus on the giant drops of water
I wring my hand in front of the blurry horizon, slinging pale droplets of sweat from my tight fingers
Two seconds pass before more drops follow through
My hair is caked at the tip of a glistening forehead
Sweat pours down the curl of my nose and I lick my sunburnt lips
I taste the bitter grains of salt and salivate for something ice cold
These weak and trembling legs hobble from side to side, feeling as if five pounds each
Itchy ivy leaves graze the sweat-stained surface of my knobbly knees
Extensively choppy and homogenous yellows surround me
My eyelids are sweat-stuck and fastened at an angle, a mirage of lights surround
To ask that I stumble once again – The mirages concur
How weary am I! – Time escapes me
But days always give way to nights
Primary always gives way to secondary
My feet lead my legs, my legs lead my body
The shoes fastened to my feet begin to grind against small mounds of granulated dirt
Each step yields the slightest note of chalk bits being crushed directly beneath me
I look up and see that I am now treading on much more open ground
Approaching a vast opening, an amethyst visage of even ground presents itself
Purple hues soften blinding yellow reflections to the extent – I am in a sonata not my own
Violet tones tint the dark blue sky – my eyelids loosen as I flicker them open and closed in fluid motion
Melon-colored blossoms surround the open field, complemented by the dark green shrubbery through which they weave
A spearmint-laden breeze wraps its cool arms around me – it filters through the cold sweat on the underside of my drying sleeves
A final drop of sweat falls free of my body, finding rest upon an anthill in repose
Just beyond the tree line, a sliver of emerald light falls from the silver-groomed moon and burrows itself in the grass ten yards before me
Constrained beams of light groom the green grass in silver shades
Each blade represents one portion of that pearl-frosted rock in the sky
I stand still and my body briefly shivers – I lack the knowledge of hindsight here
My weary lungs fill up with a cool and comforting air – this soft pillow hovers at the brim, a revitalizing internal rain
Christened by thoughts that urge me just to be
The music of scattered crickets, the occasional crackle of low-hanging branches
Midway up a shorter, quieter tree, a disheveled robin’s nest lies at the crest of two conjoining branches
I could reach it if I tried
But contentedness has already quenched a thirst I did not know I had
My periphery slants all distant star glow into blurry fractions
Every dimly-lit pocket of scenery is vivid and inviting
A place to explore without intention
A place to describe without meaning
Tonight, I cannot make a sound, for I play no instrument in this melody
Deep awe reigns in lieu of justified misery, now passing – my aching finds sweet refuge in this violet sky
Time escapes me
I take one step, and then another, each succeeding step more fulfilling than the last
Dirt crunches as grass gives way beneath my shoes
I slowly lay my body down, it knows no bounds
A large pocket of silky grass bedding wraps its cool arms along the outline of my soft figure
Strings of grass brush my arm hairs and lean against the contours of my neck; it comforts me to feel these things
A faint breeze is present, groups of branches crackle, the crickets sing
Cicadas hum, I close my eyes, I sink into it all
And this night will never end.
No, if you’re wondering, I did not actually lay down in the grass and “sink into it all”. I had khakis on. My goodness.
I do not have 1000-plus followers, I am not acquainted with the mayor, and I am not scheduled to appear at the 2017 Ted Talk Convention (if that even exists) yet…