Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Confession Tuesday: A meme

*Altered to focus on the meme.

If this cheating and you don’t like me using CT this way feel free to let me know but I want to know more about you so I’m asking my CT partners and anyone else who is willing to complete this meme. Share it with others if you like.

Reading & Writing

1. What are you currently reading and what’s on your to-be-read pile?

2. What type of writing influences your work most: fiction, poetry, or non-fiction?

3. What 3 characteristics, elements or themes are prevalent in your work?

4. As a writer and reader, does gender matter? Please consider responding in more depth at Poetry Collections by Women.

Well, it’s Confession Tuesday and again, I’m writing off the cuff. Had ideas and issues I thought about sharing, but I’m a procrastinator. To Carolee, when you get your shit together, teach me how.

I joined Confession Tuesday because I wanted to get to know the women I’ve been reading better and not because I wanted to fess up about my flaws. Besides, in my mind, if I’m willing to tell, then it’s something I’m more or less okay with you knowing so how is that confessing?

I am always wanting to bend the rules (and often do).


A decade later, and there's no shortage of the misunderstood poets. The confession: After ten years I am less tolerant of whiny wannabe poets.

While I despise censorship, I find myself self-censoring more now than I did when I was younger ( I have to for my own sake because I really don't like myself when I go there). I thought you're suppose to mellow with age. So what's wrong with me?

Deb wrote that she's not that nice. Ditto. It's not that I believe either of us are not nice people rather for me, I have realized I have almost zero tolerance for what I think is bullshit. I really dislike phony people, braggers, narcissists and whiny adults. Especially the last. Sometimes I want to smack them and say, "Grow the frack up! Get over yourself. Who hasn't been wounded, disappointed, abused?"


...deb said...

I do want to do this. But it might take me a little time to complete.

It's a crazier-than-most week.

(I'm all for breaking rules. But I'm also weak for voyeuristic moments :-) )

susan said...

Deb,You're worth the wait. Holla when you can.

Anonymous said...

Hey, do you want us to answer here or at your other site, that I'm just now finding. I really am slow. I thought i already spent a lot of time blogging, but i guess not enough. :)

Bending the rules is my life's motto. i think it's a sign of a morally developed person. You do what's right because you've thought about it, not because you're an automaton.

susan said...

Hi Christine,
If it's not confusing, I'd really like your answers here and if you have a particularly long reply to #4, to post it at PCBW. Thanks.
Just responded at your site.

pia said...

Oh Susan these are all such good questions--and can't say enough good things about breaking rules and voyeuristic moments--don't think a writer can write without listening to conversations--blogs might serve that purpose also

First i think, if we're good enough writers, we present the personas we want to--I don't spill all though I appear to. I let different personas out at different times

Female writers yes--but my favorite book is In Cold Blood which may or may not be fiction and may or may not be written in part or most by Harper Lee

when I'm under pressure or need to relax I love mysteries--true or not

Your third question requires much thought

pia said...

I meant your second question--about the three elements

susan said...

Hi All,

You know I'm knew to blogging. When you answer a meme, are you suppose to respond on your own blog and leave a link? It's instances like this when I really want a good old fashioned message board! lol

Glad to hear from you pia.

susan said...

Thanks for answering here. Though I would have certainly hopped to your place. :-)

Anonymous said...

What constitutes a whiny wannabe poet?

I read a NYT article written by a poet, saying that all poets are essentially narcissistic. Not that I agree, just throwing it out there.

Anonymous said...

I think people can do what they want. If it's a meme, then there's all sorts of crazy linking going on, to draw people to the persons blog. I really don't like that, cuz then you feel obligated to "tag". I'd rather post my comments here, if you really want my opinions!

1. What are you currently reading and what’s on your to-be-read pile?
Reading: Bed, a short story collection by Tao Lin, and Crossing Tecumseh Street, By Earl S. Braggs, Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light, By Namkhai Norbu
To read:
Son de Almendra, by Mayra Montero, Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff

2. What type of writing influences your work most: fiction, poetry, or non-fiction? Depends on what I'm writing, and what I'm reading. I think everything influences me-blogging, reading, living in general. I write poems, short stories, and essays.

3. What 3 characteristics, elements or themes are prevalent in your work?
-Spirituality and philosophy, especially human consciousness and temporality.
-animals and imaginary scenes
-life experiences, painful or joyous memories, childhood

4. As a writer and reader, does gender matter?

I tend to read more books by female authors, but one of my favorite novelists is Haruki Murakami. If I go to find a book by a new author (new to me), I will 99% of the time gravitate toward a female author. It's a sisterhood kind of thing, ya know?

But I'm reading Earl S. Braggs work, and I love his intimate, confessional style. He's in touch with his feminine side.

I think we all have masculine and feminine aspects to our psyches, and it's important not to shun or disregard either aspect. The animus and the anima. Most creative people are fully engaged with all elements of life. Why put people in a box?

Goodnight, Mom said...

Hi Susan,

Enjoying reading these but here you go!

1. What are you currently reading and what’s on your to-be-read pile?

Am currently between books. Just finished one of Phillipa Gregory's books. That said, on my list is The Kite Runner immediately, if not sooner. For the next couple of weeks, though, I'm reading statistical reports...fun!

2. What type of writing influences your work most: fiction, poetry, or non-fiction?

Well, I would guess non-fiction because of what I write about but honestly, I really only read fiction. I just love that escapism!

3. What 3 characteristics, elements or themes are prevalent in your work?

Family, life observations and laughter would probably describe my writing.

4. As a writer and reader, does gender matter?

Interesting question. My reading is pretty split 50/50 with regard to gender. Book wise, I just finished Phillipa Gregory but I also really like Nick Hornby. My blog reading is also split male and female. So, to answer your question, I don't really know!

January said...

Susan, I promise to come back and answer when I have a little more time.

susan said...

Hi Christine,
Before blogs, many poets hung out at online message board communities. These are great communities but where 's there a large group of folks, there is inevitably some disagreements and hurt feelings.

In short a whiny poet is a poet who insists that if a reader isn't lavishing the poet with praise it's because the reader lacks the ability to appreciate the work. It's the reader who is flawed not the work or the poet.

The whiny poet insists he is misunderstood. He doesn't accept any feedback he disagrees with and this poet disagrees with most feedback. The whiny poet expects the reader to blow sunshine up his butt consistently and of course you must mean it.

I think there is some truth to poets being narcissistic. But for me it is a matter of degree. Seasoned, established poets don't expect their audience to lavish them with praise. A seasoned poet, knows the value of critique and workshop and knows for him/herself what to take and what to file away because just because the feedback doesn't seem relevant in the moment doesn't mean it won't be later.

A whiny poet is often a poet who thinks every time he farts out a poem it's good.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your definition, Susan. I like specifics. I can see how the whiny poet and the narcissist have a lot in common.

Here's a good quote that the whiny poets can use:

"It's good because I wrote it. It's better because I wrote it again."
Richard Hugo

That pesky ego can get in the way!

susan said...

1.What are you currently reading and what’s on your to-be-read pile?

I’m currently reading The House On Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, picking up Life’s Wor k by Donald Hall this weekend and likely to add Hush by Jacqueline Woodson. On my tbr is Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

2. What type of writing influences your work most: fiction, poetry, or non-fiction?

I read more fiction and poetry than non-fiction though I do read non-fiction online and in print. The greatest influence on my writing is work written by women. Since creating Color Online and joining Shelfari, my reading has increased significantly. I read daily.

3.What 3 characteristics, elements or themes are prevalent in your work?

In my poetry, I think my attention to sound is evident. Common themes include relationships, not necessarily romantic, loss, mourning and intimacy. I typically write shorter poems since the earliest influences on my writing were Nikki Giovanni and Sonia Sanchez, poets who write short forms well. Gwendolyn Brooks said poetry was life distilled, and in my earliest days of writing I took this literally. I do enjoy more forms now, but I tend to write in a way that is most familiar. Oddly, in prose I’m typically long-winded. In poetry, I’m learning to expand.

I'm going to work on #4 and answer at PCBW.

Anonymous said...

i love everyone's honesty here -- and i'm going to do the meme, but first the thing i found most interesting about the original post was what you said about not wanting to fess up your own flaws b/c if it's something you're OK with people knowing, is that confessing? this is a good good question and i'm glad you've mentioned it.

even in the truest "origin" confession (the religious kind -- of which i am not a follower), the confessions are "known" by the confessor b4 they're spoken out loud. it's the saying them, sharing them that is powerful. it's the process. i'm not sure we do that "process" enough with ourselves and with others.

of course, it's not for the purpose of being judged or even assuming these are "flaws." it's for the purpose of owning and seeing all of ourselves. and each other.

p.s. i love rule benders and i especially like your confession about not liking whiny poets. (although in my brain i take out the word "wannabe" b/c i'm not sure i have a very strict definition of "poet"). the whiny part comes in for me when people, like you said, blame readers and editors for the perceived quality of their work.

susan said...

Hi Carolee, I see myself as a wannabe. I'd like to think as one who majored in English, I've developed a thick skin and therefore am not whiny. LOL

susan said...

C'mon, share. Surely we write enough to have thoughts about our writing.

Kelli said...

Hi Susan,

I answered the meme on my blog (www.ofkells.blogspot.com)

Good questions. I still don't know the answer to #4.