29 May 2009

The value of exercise

I am nearly there with the poem I'm submitting for this month's Guardian Poetry Workshop. I have worked on the exercise steadily since last week. I had something I was "OK" with.... Something I could have lived with. It didn't thrill me. But I kept going.

Then on Monday I had to come up with a "literary exercise" for my writers workshop. I might have explained this before, but maybe not. Every two weeks, I meet with some other writers. We read and give feedback on each others' work. But we also are meant to do a "literary exercise" -- to write, in any form, on any subject we want, a brief piece to read aloud at the start of the meeting. On Monday, of course, I realized I hadn't done one yet, and sat down with my notebook looking for clues. I tried one thing -- nope. Then another thing -- nope. And then I found some notes that I'd made for the GPW poem.... Bits that hadn't made it to the piece I was working on.

And I thought: why not? Maybe I can do something with them now.

Well, it was a breakthrough.

This is not the first time that an exercise has surprised me. But once again I am astounded at how just playing can ... work. Within seconds I felt I was onto something good. I've been tweaking the resulting poem ever since. This one does excite me. I'm going to submit it this weekend. If it doesn't make the results piece, I'll post the poem here.

But cross your fingers for me -- maybe it will make the cut.


  1. great! glad to hear you had good luck with that!!!

  2. Thanks Patti! I'll have May's stats up on Monday....