Learning more about Poetry and myself

So… I entered a poetry competition. It was quite a distinguised competition in Australia with poets among the elite variety generally taking out the titles. This is not why I entered (obviously).

I entered, simply for the sake of taking the risk to enter. To increase my self confidence and to try and overcome my fears of me, not being good enough in my own eyes, little alone yours. 

I didn’t expect to get anywhere in the competition, but let’s be honest… I can’t deny a daydream or two where my poem was considered for the runners up status. 😜

However, I received notification that out of the 700+ entries, mine was not considered. Which is completely okay. Part of me wanting to enter was to overcome the idea that someone, who I don’t know, who also has a great knowledge or good enough knowledge of poetry to judge a poetry comp, would be reading something I wrote. Now I know this seems very immature or very ‘high school’ of me, but I have been a bit slow off the mark with pursuing this dream (at least trying to build my skills) and unfortunately did leave it all behind in my teen years to chase other dreams; so for me it was a big deal.

The finalists poems will be available next month, which I cannot wait to read. I know from reading last years finalists that they will have used words that are not even in my vocabulary which is something I am also trying to build upon… By the way, any tips on how to do this?

I worked on this poem ⬇️ more than any other and it is probably the longest poem I have written to date. I really tried (within my emerging skills) to convey the emotion behind the story it tells. Please feel free to leave your feedback or comments on what you think, I’d love to hear from you and engage in discussion to improve my writing and poetry skills.

Cheers

Bec 🤘

‘Waterfall’ – R.J.Richards ©

Splash!The fall was a shock, but not as

Shocking as the temperature of

The water. I didn’t realise

This river would be so cold.

 

I breach the surface; shaken.

The calm waters wrap me in a solitary

Melancholia as I become enslaved to its current.

To drift alongside these banks;

Without you.

 

I don’t know where I am going; or

How long this journey will take.

I begin to weep, adding to the rivers

Depths which carry me further into

This unknown flood of despair.

 

I don’t know how long I have been

Floating like this: days, weeks, months, years.

Time doesn’t seem to exist without you.

I feel hopelessness.

 

A gentle bubbling noise momentarily

Distracts from my depressive trance.

The sound fades; my drift continues, though faster.

I start to feel anxious; asking,

How I am meant to be without you.

 

The water starts to get rough now.

There are rocks on the bottom, with

Which I collide as the River picks up speed.

Sloshing my body from side to side, up and down;

As if it is simply a stick adrift in its turbulence.

I almost drown.

 

I can’t escape the noise now.

I’m wondering where you are; where

Your strong hand is to pull me from this madness.

Thunderous rage; the River is angry now.

Pulling all it entices into its rapids with such strength,

I am forced to keep my head afloat.

 

I try grabbing on to anything I can grasp;

Rocks, branches, floating debris.

All of this only bruises me in my attempts.

I am not ready to let go of you yet.

I hold faithfully to a log for as long as it lets me

Before the water takes possession and sweeps me under.

 

I am angry now. I am fighting the River;

Fighting for you; fighting for my life.

Swallowing water; feeling it flood

The anguish, burning in my heart.

I look up to see the Rivers end looming.

I know the only way is down. I must fall.

 

I start swimming against the rush;

Losing you with each stroke.

I know it’s time to leave this grief;

Reunite with the calm waters below.

My only choice is to accept that you are gone.

 

The edge is coming nearer. I try once more to

Hold on to the rocks of our dreams; my fingers slip.

The gushing water carries me over the edge,

Defeated; I say a silent sweet goodbye.

 

Splash!

The fall was a shock, but not as

Shocking as the realisation of life without you.

I lay floating in the tranquil azure; contemplating,

Looking up to where I fell from your graces.

Reminiscing of floating on a River of tears and fighting rapids;

I still can’t believe that you are no longer

Here to share this dear sweet life.

 

I swim to the side of the pool and sing you a

Final resolve. I take one last look to the sky and

See a most magnificent waterfall;

And I know now, that I will be able to be;

Without you.

© R.J.Richards 

wordsbyrjrichards.wordpress.com

Writing practice

I recent came across a TEDx talk by Sarah Kay as previously mentioned and she talks of usng lists to work out your experiences etc to write about. One list she uses is ’10 things I know to be true’.

I have been wanting to challenge myself on my writing, get to a deeper level, so I did this this list which was an interesting activity. For one thing, I learned that I have some unattended to / unhealed grief from my childhood as I am sure everybody does, but it was something I hadn’t given much thought to until I was writing it on the page.

I’m not going to share my list on here as I feel it is too private but I will be trying to use some of these experiences to form some poetry or prose to help make sense of it which may be shared on here or my instagram account.

I would encourage you to try making a similar list to see what comes out, it may suprise you! 

How are your writing projects coming along?
Bec x

  

A lesson I am trying to learn

Your scornful words are hard to swallow.

Ingesting your vowels and
synonyms leaves a belly ache that I
know can only end with disgrace on the throne.

You swear to heighten your point
but you fail to see these are not the right spices to add to your soup. 
Repeating the same recipe over, and over, and over again does not make you a chef. 

It merely proves you are too scared to challenge yourself, to make mistakes and learn something new. 

Words describe life, they lift ones experience of life but they are not life itself. 

So until you let go of all the predictability and written recipes and make something from scratch

You will never know if the rawness that exists in your chest will taste any good, or if it will feel any good once its let loose in the world. 

You can bake it with arms, legs, a heartbeat and a soul. 

It can run right off the page and come at you full speed without warning which is the exact beauty of emotion.

It can make you feel all those things you avoid feeling, it can give you peace. It can make you see yourself for who you truly are. 

So don’t lullaby words together simply to reward your ego with faint smiles from your peers. 

String words together like a carefully hand crafted necklace that lays emblazoned on your chest showing off the love in your heart and light in your soul. 

Do not keep making the same recipe over and over again because it will loose its taste over time. 

 Instead strip your skin bare, draw blood from your veins, pickle your flesh and create something that does not lead you to flasehoods. 

Unbind yourself from fear and scorn and expose your rawness, 

For in it there lies true beauty, 

For there lies the true you.   

~

Rebecca J. Richards

Learning more about writing..

They say to write what you know. 
But what if what you know is nothing at all. 
What if what you know is a dull

Ache inside that you ignore at sunrise. 

What if you can’t label this ache

as anything more than a child with

stray tears rolling down her cheek. 

What if this crying child is lost and

doesn’t know her way back to herself. 

What if what this crying child knows

is that she really is alone in this world 

yet, caught in a paradox to please others 

in an attempt to prove she isn’t. 

What if all of this hurt and pain and grief she feels 

measures insignificant to the likes of others.

What if she knows her biggest dilemma is assuming 

the courage to live, stretched out in her own skin. 

What if what she knows is nothing after all. 

As what she knows is that she doesn’t know how to be herself;

How to voice what she wants;

How to demand her own existence.

Is this what she is meant to write about?  

R.J.Richards

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I want to improve my writing and my poetry.

I have been feeling that my posts have been more negative lately and somewhat spiteful, reflective of the space I have been in. And its not healthy or natural. From a writer/poet I follow on ig (@prudiegirl) I came across this ted talk by Sarah Kay (I’ve watched it a few times now) and it could not have come at a better time. I feel like I’m stuck in a rut and to be honest, it’s getting boring. For me anyway, so I can only imagine what the poor people reading my shitty poems must be feeling. I like to feel challeged when I am writing as I think I am always learning if I am challenged. Lately I feel like I have been writing on repeat, which is something Sarah Kay talks about. I need to learn new skills. I need to recieve more feedback or critiquing on my work other than “nice job 👍” or “👏👏👏👏😍”. I really do appreciate any comment I get as it’s nice to know people are actually reading (perhaps) what I’ve written as opposed to it just being a big like-fest, but I really need some guidance or constructive criticism to be able to adapt my skill set and create new art. I’m learning that instagram poetry is not the place for this really, also people repost without crediting which is a worry, but I enjoy posting my work there and reading so many amazing poems by very talented writers. It’s a little addictive. 

I am a member of scribophile and aim to be more active in the new year to be able to post work there. So for now I will just have to ride the rut and hopefully get into a new road of creativity very soon.

How is your muse going? Have you got any tips for me? Or would you like to leave some feedback? I’d love to hear from you!

Cheers

Bec 🙂
Ps. Can’t wait to start using this bad boy in another month or so when land life resumes!

  

An exercise of poetry

I have seen many poets on instagram use the technique ‘blackout poetry’ to create beautiful and original poems, so I thought I would give it ago.

They utilise a page from a book or a magazine article and select words to create their prose. Some follow the order of the original wording used on the page like I did in my attempt and others create their own path.

I found this exercise a little challenging, as I had to think about the words on offer on the page and try to find the ones that fitted best with the feeling behind the poem that was starting to form; as opposed to writing free-flow from the heart, which feels more natural and meaningful.

However; I liked the end result and also, being challenged to think about the poem I was creating. Perhaps this poem has more purpose and meaning behind it because of the extra attention paid to the words used? Or perhaps it has less because they were not my words to begin with? What are your thoughts?

Some fantastic poets who use this style can be found on instagram #blackoutpoetry

Enjoy.

Becc[A]

“Things I don’t understand

The winter

A map

A sense of where I am.

I’ve tried to fathom

Mysterious creatures

The depths of my soul

My breath.

Against my wants

I found him deeply flawed

Yet he was free

With confident knowing

In the asking question”.

R.J.Richards. 2015. @wordseachday

605

So I wrote six hundred and five words last night. 605.

It’s not quite three pages… But then again, it is more than two.

I find attempting to write a set number of words each day, for me, just paves the way for failure. I cannot guarentee that I will make a set word count as some suggest. So I didn’t make 750 words but then I got past 500, so that is something.

I don’t have the luxury of musing out three pages of free flowing thought in the morning to make way for the real creative stuff througout the day as although my mornings do start early they are absorbed with the energy of a bouncing (literally) toddler and not all nights are available due to the lack of mental capacity I seem to have on any given evening. However, I do steal time here and there and I am writing everyday, even if this is a short poem or a few ideas for my book. 

I started my 605 words with the following sentence… 

“The effects of the alcohol were wearing off, I was starting to feel like this was a mistake.” 

A pretty fair game sentence, nothing that hasn’t been written in some shape or form before however; I am curious for a bit of fun… what thoughts, emotions, ideas this evokes in your creative parts and what you would follow this sentence with?

Feel free to comment if you like.

Becc[A]

  

So… I want to be a writer.

There. I said it.

Writing is something I enjoy doing and it is something that feeds my soul and fills me up with hope, joy and positivity.

But I don’t just want to write for me. I want to write for others too.

I have been facing a bit of dilemma of late firstly, in acknowledging that this truly is something I would like to do and also allowing myself the time to spend it on this activity.

The problem I have been facing in owning up to my own inner designs is that every bit of advice shared by published authors I have read, is mostly negative. Things like: you can write but you probably won’t be any good at it or; you can write but you probably won’t get published or; you can write and get published but people will probably think that it’s rubbish… Hence my dismay in admitting my dream to myself.

On the flip side, I have joined an online writing community (though I am yet to fully participate, due to my little dilemma) and have been connecting with some blogs on writing which mostly provide encouraging feedback and tips on how to commence and complete the writing process.

Another thing I have struggled with is that in my reading about writing, people seem to promote the idea that there are a set of rules that must be followed. I have been so bombarded with ideas about publishing and agents and editors and critics and beta readers that I have been frozen into silence and was left too scared to write any words, may they be damned for blasphemy.  But drama aside, I think I am now ready to really start and to not hold back anymore.

I have been writing… a little bit. And have seemed to have read, edited and re-read the three possible chapters of my daydreams of a book I have been working on. But there is always poetry flowing through my veins. I need to get better at prioritising the time to write and try to do this every day, even if it is only one sentence or a short poem or perhaps reinvigorating a relationship with this blog.

Really, I don’t expect to start writing the next Harry Potter and earn mega bucks and never have to work again, though lets be honest who wouldn’t love that reality?

This is something that I will aim to do each day and work towards an end goal which is a novel. To be truthful, the process of writing is for me and the end result is hopefully for others, if it even comes to this, but ultimately my aim is for more selfish reasons; no apologies anymore.

Part of the reason in posting this on here is to make myself more accountable… to myself.

So no more fear.

No more doubt.

What are your big dreams? What’s holding you back from living them?

I found this post by Kirtsen Lamb very encouraging.