I have found that I like to write in first person...it is intimate ..it is immediate
...it draws you into the story like nothing else.
I started writing after the age of 50. I will be 60 in December. Not long. But it seems like my whole life.
I started with a little poetry group and soon found poetry as a way of purging all the gunk that had my pistons stuck. They were confessional but poorly crafted. Craft. I never knew that writing had craft until I began taking workshops and joined a few writing groups. Boy, is that a hard lesson for a new writer to learn. There are rules. And you must learn the rules in order to be skilled enough to break the rules, otherwise your work reads like so much dribble...that only your good friends and family adoring says is wonderful.
But I have also learned that you must write that way to get to good writing. Because writers write.
The first writing workshop I attended, the must immediate question asked by almost the entire group was..How will I know that I am a writer? Write.
Poetry taught me how to condense language and to think in images. An image is powerful, enabling you to tuck it into the reader's mind where it takes a leap. A good poem to me is when it happens inside the reader's mind,when they connect with something universal. No tears in the writer no tears in the reader..as they say. But it can't just be confessional or an emotional dumping..it must take a leap..turn into something more.
At another writing workshop I tried my hand at short, short, story...beginning, middle, and end...kind of writing. A story that must also take a leap of some kind at the end. Oh boy, this is hard, I said. And it is.
It took this old lady a long time to see what is good writing. Only then was I able to get anywhere near to writing something that was passable. Not sure I have yet. I have had stories published in small presses and poems published in various venues and I've won third place for a poem in an anthology and an honorable mention for a postcard poem's submission. Not bad. But that has no influence on why I write. When I write I go somewhere known only to me..a place of pleasure...sort of a masturbation of the soul. This kind of masturbation will not make me go blind, quite the contrary, it opens my eyes.
I have learned to listen for found language.....things like bits of conversation overheard at a restaurant.
At the last workshop I attended in Door County, at the end of the week, we had a one on one with the teacher. Tell me, he asked, what have you learned this week that you didn't know before?
I learned about story. Look for the story in everything. It doesn't have to be something that actually happened. Search for the universal in the story.
So when I write a Magpie or Microfiction Monday, or a Wednesday Poem
and people think I am writing about myself.....I guess that it is a good thing. I have moved them.
And that is what a good story or poem does.
Thanks readers...I guess I am doing something right...or is it write?