ICYMI – Writing and Identity

This piece is reposted from my old blog, The Thing Itself.


My job is writing, but I don’t feel like a writer any more. In the past two years I’ve graduated from my BA, completed a Creative Writing masters and gained a job writing full time, yet I feel much less involved with writing than I did as an unproductive undergraduate – and I don’t know why that is.


I run a busy, well thought of poetry night. I know possibly hundreds of writers. Sometimes I’m not too exhausted to scribble two lines of what might one day be something into my iPhone notes when I come home from work. But I have (and I appreciate that there is no un-wanky way to say this) lost any connection I had to ‘literature’.

I used to feel like I lived inside it. I was living by the sea, in squalor and in a doomed, destructive relationship with another writer, who was charismatic and cruel and pretty much everything a girl raised on romantic poetry, who spent her teens thinking about Lestat and Byron, would home in on. I ground myself ever downwards amongst piles of decaying books and the smell of smoke.

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poemstuck//life roundup

What with all the stress of the last few months, I haven’t had the time or inclination to work on much new material. I’m happy to say that I’m mostly settled now, living in a nice house with a kind friend and working a job that I enjoy.

This morning I tried to work on a few drafts I have stored in my iPhone notes (the unromantic holding area for pretty much every poem I write) and found that my brain is completely dry. I can’t get into a rhythm, can’t find a way in to any of the images I’ve previously thought of… I have tons of rogue stanzas and no idea how to develop them into something larger.

Hopefully I just need a bit more time – I’ve only really been safe from homelessness about two weeks (I’m still legally homeless but to all realistic ends I live in a house) and being sort of neutral-to-happy is still something of a surprise. I keep feeling sad for no reason, possibly because I’m just used to it – left to my own devices, I settle into my bad mood before I remember that there’s no real reason for one at the minute.

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