I’m stuck. Haven’t written anything worth spit since before Christmas. I’ve got ideas, but when I write something down, I’m appalled at its banality. In the middle six months of last year I wrote 46 respectable poems. I’ve looked back at them time and time again, looking for faults, and even the worst is good to fair. They’re all worth keeping.
But at the moment- nothing. I usually come up with a first line that has promise. I spend a couple of days rolling it round my tongue, trying it out- and then I put it down on paper. That’s where the fun begins. Writing a poem is like solving a crossword- only you have to invent the clues and the answers at the same time. You have to shuffle words around, lines around. If you’re really lucky you come across rhymes you didn’t expect, a clever image that pops up out of nowhere. You’re in the zone. It’s almost as though the poem is writing you.
I’ve got an idea- I’m not telling you what it is- that might pop the balloon- but it won’t come out of hiding. It’s lurking there, in the shadows, and I can’t quite make out the shape.
Still, I’m not the only one with this problem. Alexander Pope ( a poet I respect rather than like) said ” I have been lying in wait for my imagination all week”- and he produced some quite respectable stuff in the end.
I’m going out to walk the dog, then I’m meeting my Swedish friend for lunch, and we shall talk about why England is such an odd place, and why the Swedes are better at dealing with snow, and how to take better photographs.