I have a quote pinned to my wall which says ‘Writing is not a job nor a hobby. It’s an addiction without a cure’. (Gill Adams). This is, appropriately, part of a rejection postcard from the BBC Writers Room. So I write. Poems, plays, novels, blogs. The odd lyric. Maybe a story. Writing can be a response to a commission, but often I just write. Sometimes I submit for publication, sometimes I publish myself, sometimes I just share the work. The main thing is to write.
As a playwright who is also a poet, I have found a role in community theatre, writing promenade pieces with sketch, poetry, story and song intertwined. Building a story with an arc, consisting of lots of short pieces and plenty of opportunity for audience participation can be very fulfilling. Knowing that the community aspect of the project builds relationships, builds skills and self-esteem, and increases well-being is an added bonus.
My inspiration can come from other writers, from a niggling rhythm or a desire to express a feeling, make or explore an argument, record an experience or a memory. The form can vary. I’m happy to be guided by the muse. The theatre company I co-run aims to entertain, provoke and inspire. If all my writing could do that, I’d be happy. Poetry can feel more personal than other forms of writing, more self-revealing, and that is, I think, one of the strengths of the form. It can be hard work, struggling for the right word or phrase, cutting out favoured lines – ‘killing your babies’ as someone put it. But it can also flow with ease and emerge close to its final shape. You never know until you put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. I do both.
How regular a writer am I? I write a blog on a fairly regular basis which can sometimes consist of, or include, a poem or can be prose. It keeps the juices flowing. I write poetry and for theatre more spasmodically, not least since the theatre company demands a lot of admin time. Creativity can’t be submerged though. Poems emerge!
My work is available from Dempsey and Windle (Paths and Digressions 2021) and from my own website – I have a novel out as well as older collections of poetry. More insight into my theatrical work can be found on the Damn Cheek website.
Tony Earnshaw's Paths and Digressions is available here
This is a blog written by Dempsey & Windle poets about their inspiration for writing poetry