Poet’s Pet Peeves

(Spoiler: alliteration = not one of them)

Jay Mountney posted about authorial pet peeves and tagged her friends. And because I promised to Do Better At Posting, well… it’s a good reason to ramble about stuff.

1. Energy & Inspiration, Rarely The Twain Meet. Two lovers forced to live apart, only meeting once in a rare moon where the power of their combined magic sprouts forth Words, Glorious Words, in a way that is effortless and exhilarating, your fingers flying across the keyboard, your thoughts flying swift and sure like a cast of hawks. Words happen at other times as well. But it’s never quite as magical as when Energy and Inspiration come together in that one pure moment of time.

2. Can’t Find The Words For This Feeling. When the moment captures you, ties you up, pierces your heart and leaves you aching – could be something you see, or hear, or just a feeling. Could be fleeting blink-and-you-miss it, or it can linger and stretch. Could be the old woman by the beach, or a cat crossing the road, the wetness of fog that glues your lungs together or yearning for something you can’t even put a name to and you know, you know, there’s a poem here, right here, but. But. No words come. Or what words come are wrong and insufficient and make mockery of the moment, make it something false and no, no, you can’t have that, you want to wrap up this moment precisely so, to keep and give at the same time, but you can’t, you just have to live it, to be, and hope that something remains anyway.

3. The Long Percolation. There’s a poem in your head. No, no, not a poem. A seed of a poem. An idea, a tiny egg, a filter packed tight of ground up poem beans, percolating in the poetry machine of your brain that gurgles and gargles and drips and drops like pneumatic coffee maker from year dot. There’s a lot of hissing and puffs of steam are coming out of your ears, you swear they are, and why is this taking so long? You want that poem right now! You can almost taste it, but no, it’s still percolating. Forever. Percolating. Argh.

4. I’ve Got This Phrase But It Ain’t Mine. When you have the perfect line in your head. Except that it’s not yours because it got stuck in your head from a poem, song, story… And it’s beautiful and you love it but god damn it won’t go away so every time you try to write something of your own it wants to insinuate itself onto the page. Go away you precious phrase child, I love you But You Ain’t Mine.

5. They’ve Done It Perfect, Might As Well Go Home. When you encounter a poem by someone else that is so perfect the feeling it evokes is beyond petty jealousy and straight into the realm of ‘the universe is now complete, I can add nothing, good day to you’. Like ‘why do I even bother, look at his perfection right here and weep’. Wallow. Take a deep breath. Remember that poetry is like love. There’s always room for more.

That’s enough whining for a day, don’t you think? Your turn now. What are your writing pet peeves?

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