The affliction of creativity

Periodically I get words and phrases coming into my head of a vaguely poetic/lyrical nature, and occasionally one lingers long enough that I have to exorcise it onto the page. I reckon that, like the monkeys on the typewriters, if I do it enough times I'll eventually have something worth reading. Until such time, the poor saps who've clicked on this thread will have to suffer my latest:

My life is an open book, O Lord,
To you who are the author of my soul
Day by day I take the pen and write
My each word clear and noted in your sight

You are the author of my soul
Please take my hand in yours
Show me what, and how to write
That my life may echo yours

As you look upon my life, O God
Some pages in my book make me ashamed
I don’t want to, I fear to look
At words which show that I’ve caused others’ pain

Every day when I sit down to write
My heart’s words are your Holy Spirit’s song
Yet each day when words are put to page
Songs turn to murmurs, poetry to noise

You took up the pen yourself, O Lord
Eternal Word made once of mortal flesh
Your book stained with tears and marked with blood
Your perfect life lived once for others’ gain.


  • A most appealing thread title! Being entirely free of the 'affliction of creativity', I read the above OP with a quite uncritical mind, but with admiration for setting fingers to keyboard.

  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    I've been struggling to come with new material, so what does my brain do but take inspiration from a somewhat unpleasant character from a TV Drama.

    So we get

    Villanelle, Villanelle
    You're as crazy as Hell
    Berlin or Rome
    You send them home

    Not sure whether to let this develop
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    I've been struggling to come with new material, so what does my brain do but take inspiration from a somewhat unpleasant character from a TV Drama.

    So we get

    Villanelle, Villanelle
    You're as crazy as Hell
    Berlin or Rome
    You send them home

    Not sure whether to let this develop

    Eh, what's the worst that could happen? ;)
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    Mine is more an affliction of silly creativity, not poetical or spiritual, but more daft. Lately I've been releasing it in drawing portraits of politicians on old potatoes (potatoes with lots of long, pale, messy sprouts for hair make a good Boris) but I did write my own version of 'When I am an woman I shall wear purple' a couple of years ago. I had been thinking about how wearing purple with a red hat, and eating whatever one likes, isn't really frowned on these days, so I was trying to think what would be properly disapproved of. I can't remember if I've ever posted it here, so apologies if it's a repeat - I do occasionally dig it out in online discussions asking for poems, because I haven't written anything else since this one.

    When I'm an old woman I shall wear crocs
    Or pink sandals with red socks
    I shall pluck out my eyebrow hairs one by one
    Drawing on new ones with green Sharpie pen
    If you happen to stare or sneer at my style
    I shall fart
    And pretend it was you
    I'll point and hold my nose and say 'pooh!'
    I shall merrily flaunt a muffin top
    And go barefoot without washing my feet
    Or clipping my toenails
    Or shaving my toes
    I shall write all my letters in Comic Sans font
    Sprinkling apostrophe's in plural's for fun
    Running on my sentence's
    Irregardless of your preference's
    I shall randomly mix up there, their and they're
    Never using an Oxford comma
    And I'll aks for an expresso when I go to Starbucks
    Or maybe a cachuppino
    With less sprinkles and fewer milk
    And if you try to correct me
    Or even
    I shall fart again
    And say 'Oh dear, I shat myself'
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host
    Initially I was not sure
    What a thread such as this might be for
    "If your verse you would flog
    Put it up on your blog!"
    Was the Host-comment I had in store.

    Then I woke up this morning to see
    A blossoming of creativity
    With more poets sharing
    Their verse (oh, how daring!)
    So I said to myself, "Let it be."*

    -Trudy, Heavenly Host

    *For the benefit of those students who ask, "But Miss, what do the poem MEAN?" I offer a prose paraphrase: While a thread with one person sharing something they wrote might initially seem not to have much room for discussion, if others want to continue adding their own bits of random creativity, we Heavenly Hosts will keep it open for now and see how it goes.
  • As to purpose, I hoped that either others would have things to share or that I might receive a heavenly critique from the saintly inhabitants.
  • FirenzeFirenze Heaven Host
    Ah well, if it’s the criticism you’re wanting...

    Everything IMO works better with attention to scansion, metre and rhyme. The discipline of writing to a specific verse form clarifies the thought and stretches the conception. With any luck it will take you in directions you had not thought of, spark unsuspected connections, ideas will rise like fish to food.

    It’s bloody difficult of course, but that’s the point.
  • (I really enjoyed the poetry 8th-day thing we did a while back. I even bought the Steven Fry book, and read most of it. )
  • I took comfort from the many great hymnists of the past who managed excellent rhythm and scan for the first verse but by verse three were hammering any old tat into the chosen meter out of sheer desperation *eyes Christina Rossetti*. But yes, even trying to get lines with syllables following a 9 10 9 10 pattern was hard enough even with the rhythm all over the place.
  • I get odd images that have not found themselves into poems yet. The oldest is street lamp studded rain-filled sky. Another is brown baubles that hung from the bare claws of the plane trees.

    They reside in my brain but never seem to really attach themselves to specific incidents in a way that would make a poem.
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    Arethosemyfeet, my comment on your poem, since you are talking about scansion and such, is that you have a specific number of syllables in each line (I counted, to see if that is how you were doing it, and saw you were), but they don't scan the same, because the words that would get the emphasis in these phrases, with natural talking rhythm, are in different places. If you read the first line of each verse, the rhythm and emphasis is very different in each one. So although it visually looks like a hymn type poem, it's hard to know how to read aloud. I didn't get a sense of the rhythm. Is there a hymn tune you had in mind that you could sing it to?
  • No, your read of the issue with the rhythms is spot on - I think I will revisit it and try and get my head around the technicalities of iambic and trochaic and whatever else comes with considering meter more carefully.
  • FirenzeFirenze Heaven Host
    Try taking ‘is’ out of the first line, and ‘who are’ out of the second. Punchier, no?

    The syntax of poetry, I think, needs to be that bit more compressive than ordinary speech. No superfluous words. Rhyme intensifies the sense of movement. Think, if Donne had written -

    GOE, and catche a falling starre,
    Get with child a mandrake roote,
    Tell me, where all past yeares go
    Or who cleft the Divels hoof,

    The scansion’s the same but it doesn’t work, does it?

    Oh, and I agree about Rossetti (‘If I were a wise man/I would do my part’ irresistibly suggests ‘If I were a wise man/I would do my thing’)
  • AndrasAndras Shipmate
    I'll give my usual advice to budding writers: Join a writers’ group! There are some out there which function as mutual admiration societies, and from which you will learn nothing, but there are some truly excellent ones as well which will guide and nurture you. Heed what they say!

    And the discipline of producing work for others to read and comment on week in and week out is, I think, the best way to develop your creativity. Remember: Learning the rules of your craft won’t stop you being a genius!
  • MiffyMiffy Shipmate
    Fineline- I, too, have been inspired by the contents of my fruit and veg box! So far I’ve produced two cartoon potatoes for a themed online creativity challenge on faces. ‘Bald’ and ‘Beardy’ potato men take pride of place in my sketchbook. Whether I’ve enough oomph to stay organic until the 28th remains to be seen, though...
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