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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Poetry Screeches to a Halt

Mine, that is.

A year ago, someone told me about '30 Poems in 30 Days' happening throughout September at (Writer's Resource Center). I participated joyfully. I'm still grateful to John Hewitt, who started it all, for the poems I produced and the friends I made. That was the beginning of a most prolific year of writing, often in response to other online prompts I found – notably another Poem A Day challenge during the month of April, this time instigated by Robert Lee Brewer of Poetic Asides. My Haiku on Friday profile became popular, and I was recently asked to create something similar on LiveJournal: Friday Haiku, which I then handed over to someone else to host. One of my favourite games is x365, in which bloggers write about people who've made an impact on them, one a day for a year, in the same number of words as their age – so I, for instance am writing 68-word portraits. My one regret about all this poetic activity was that I had trouble keeping up with my favourite poets on MySpace, many of whom are prolific themselves.

Finally the wheel turned and we were back to September. John started another 30 Poems in 30 Days, which I began enthusiastically. The prompts were just as good, some people I met last time turned up again, interesting new people joined …. but by Day 6 I had run out of puff. On that day, in fact, I posted a poem that was a few months old instead of writing a new one, then made my farewells from the project. And I haven't written a poem since. Even my 68x365 blog has been languishing, though I do intend to resume and will have to do some catching up. The only things I've still been able to write are the haiku. (And some people say haiku aren't poems anyhow, but a genre of their own.)

I thought I must be experiencing burn-out. I don't say I'm not, but I realise there's another factor. I've observed that, for friends of mine who have more than one vocation, things tend to go in phases. I know people who are both artists and writers. They'll paint madly for three or four months, then suddenly that will stop and they'll find themselves scribbling furiously for the next six. My own dual vocations are quite different: poet and therapist. During this year of being consumed by poetry, the therapist has taken a back seat. But not any more.

At the weekend Andrew and I did a course in Thought Field Therapy. We've been acquainted with this modality for some years now. Our teacher, Carol, was one of the first people in Australia to learn it. Soon after she became a practitioner, she told us about this exciting thing she'd done, we tried it out and then couldn't stop recommending it to people. That was maybe eight years ago, and at some point she went to America and trained as a teacher. At first we didn't think of learning it ourselves. We already had a number of excellent modalities, and when TFT was indicated, for ourselves or others, we had Carol and other friends whom she trained.

Now we've all moved a little further away from Murwillumbah, in different directions, and one practitioner has more-or-less retired. Suddenly the training called to us, and so we did it – and loved it. I had fully expected to love Theta Healing, which we also learned quite recently, and indeed I do love it. I had not expected to fall in love with TFT in the same way, but to my delighted surprise I did. By the end of the weekend I realised: oh, that's why the poetry dried up – I'm in a healer phase now.

I don't expect the poetry will stop altogether, just as I didn't entirely stop giving people treatments during the writing phase; but the focus is different for the next while, however long that may turn out to be. I'm so excited, I can hardly wait to get into it! I'm getting new business cards printed; I'm creating brochures, and new signs for the market stall.

And aha! Now I can indulge in the pleasure of poetry by reading rather than writing it. All those lovely blogs to devour – whoopee!


  1. I'm in a bit of a dry phase as well at the moment... for no real reason that I can think of... maybe it's just that general life has been so busy recently. I do find poetry to run in phases though. I think I think in poetry when I'm writing a lot of it, so it flows easier. When I'm not, it's hard to get it going again. Usually I find reading poetry sets it off again.

    I have been stopping by every now and then by the way, I'm just doing all my Internet stuff in a cafe at the moment, so I mostly don't have time to leave comments! My Internet is being a pain (and still not up!) but hopefully I'll be back soon... theoretically we should be up and running on Thursday, but since nothing has gone smoothly yet, I'm not counting my chickens!

  2. I think the move and settling in and the necessary readjustments might account for your 'dry spell'!

    Not necessarily a bad thing that life sometimes overwhelms the writing. Ultimately it keeps the writing alive. (We need some life to put into our art!)

  3. You're right, although I'd prefer it if I could be more balanced about it!

    I'm online again now, so my normal presence will slowly resume!

  4. makes sense. a break in cycle is something of a relief, time to store up experiences to distill at higher density.