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Blog Tour: On writing and a writing community

June 5, 2014

Kindred spirit http://cherylpallant.com/ Cheryl Pallant invited me to reflect some on my writing and it seemed a fortutitous time to do that as I am struggling to figure out how I want to make my way in the world right now…and even if I am somewhat bitter about writing, it occurs to me that being forced to wrestle with these ideas to create a work, is, as usual, helpful. gah.

1) What am I working on?

I am trying to help the world become eco-zooic rather than ecocidal, by changing the psychelogos of modern people.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

A few years back, I was the guest chef for an evening at a large residence hall where I worked at the local Very Big U. I was cooking 7 gallons of African groundnut stew with the student Soup Knight crew for Friday Soup Night. The stew was funky and delicious, as it has peanuts, yams, tomatoes, peppers, apple juice, cumin, coriander, some hot pepper, onions and garlic. At the end of the meal, a student I had taught in several classes, said: “Mr. Blackwell, this stew is kind of like you. It has a bunch of stuff in it that doesn’t seem like it goes together, but once you get into it, it’s really interesting and…it really works.” I think and hope my writing is like me, and my cooking: eclectic, quirky, smart, deeply human, integrative, nourishing, intellectual, yet grounded, perhaps even visionary in its own humble way.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I used to think I was a writer or that I cared about writing, maybe a lot, and now I’m not so sure…I feel best in my garden or in the forest or making music or food with friends and family. If I want to share the story of that with people, to encourage them to do such things – and I do – I have found it much more useful to lend the strength of relationship, of faces, bodies, of movement, of the real music of the embodied voice, the sparkle of the affectionate eye, to that endeavor. I tire of working so hard to offer what poet Jack Gilbert called “lost vocabularies” to people. What change have these dry scattered bones of written words ever made?

Well, okay, to be sure, they have made some changes; I know other words have changed my life, many a time. But everything has already been written, we know what we need to know. So much noise, so little signal. Much sound and fury, signifying nothing. It’s a not a problem of information, but implementation. Can writing do that? Maybe…Years ago, when I was a lad, I sent a letter (remember them?) to my one of my writing heroes, Barry Lopez. I asked how one was to both live and write? It seemed that living an interesting life would take a lot of energy and time just in itself. He wrote back (remember that?) and said, “Yes. Live first, and you’ll know if you need to write.” I increasingly value the living…(and maybe hold out some secret hope for regenerative power of poetry!)

4) How does my writing process work?

I should just write everyday, but I don’t. I procrastinate for hours, it’s painful like dental work. I have too much “work in progress”- shit I don’t finish. Blech.

I’m inviting some writing friends to the Blog Tour:

http://en.gravatar.com/mountainstoryteller
http://en.gravatar.com/tdolson
http://floweringbrain.wordpress.com/

http://tonyequale.wordpress.com/

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From → My Story Cat

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  1. Change, Poetry & Healing | InBod

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