When I ask myself why I write I give myself a number of answers. Not all of them are pleasing or satisfactory but they always occur to me so I shall list them. I write:
Because I’m better at writing than at anything else. (Discouraged in maths and music I turned to the measures and harmonies of language.)
Because my poems are all that I can give to the world. (The world has plenty of poems already.)
Because when I feel alone I see writing as a way of connecting with people, making them laugh, cry, empathize. (My writing may be rejected.)
Because I’m seeking immortality: when my life is done my poems live on. (But nothing lasts forever.)
Because I’m a reader and reading and writing go together. (Sometimes.)
Because I want to make worthwhile discoveries about myself and others. (Possible only if I write with
the clear-eyed honesty that distinguishes the thoughts and feelings I really have from those I would like to have or think I should have.)
Because by nature I’m more of an observer of life than a participant in it. (If, in my company, you fall and are injured I’ll think of how I’ll describe the incident before I think of how to raise you and staunch the flow of your blood. I’m afraid this is the famous sliver of ice in the heart of the writer.)
This last reason may also go some way towards explaining not just my writing but my writer’s block, something I’ve been experiencing since becoming carer to my partner who has an advanced cancer.
My block may, of course, be simply due to tiredness and limited energy-levels, but might it not also be that life has taken over from art and observation, and that the sliver of ice has melted? I can’t be sure.
Nor can I be sure that this state of my creativity is permanent. One day, perhaps, I may find myself writing the kind of poems which are emotion recollected in tranquility, or exploring life through fictional characters again, like my Headless Man or Ježibaba. Who knows?
Janet Loverseed’s poems, Dancing with a Headless Man and Ježibaba are in her collection,
Ježibaba, which was published by Dempsey & Windle in 2020
This is a blog written by Dempsey & Windle poets about their inspiration for writing poetry