Strange things that have happened this week.

A.K.A

Unsolicited advice to aspiring poets.

1 Do you use the word ‘yonder’ in daily conversation? Even once? No? Then don’t use it in your poems. Which takes us to point #2

2. Don’t try and find a word that rhymes with it. You’ll only come up with ‘wonder’, unless you want to use ‘blunder’, ‘thunder’, ‘torn asunder’. I thought not.

3. Don’t rhyme if you have to cut, colour, spit and polish the idea in the line to fit the rhyming word in.

4. Show, don’t tell. Please
‘Still rocks.’
‘Electric electricity’ (!!). Yes
‘Silent vacuum’

5. Use “deafening silence” only if the silence is deafening. Don’t use it for a quiet night. Or a pleasant enough poem.

6. Shards, angst, the depths of your shattered soul — all very nice. But if you are still writing this when you are 23 and are not sitting in a padded cell or, at the very least, getting therapy, then stop. Grow up. There’s a reason it’s called adolescent angst.

7. Use a semi-colon. It speaks volumes. Also of your work.

8. Keep it simple. Even the complicated stuff.

9. Read Jeet Thayil.

10. Read, edit, read, edit, read, edit. Take at least a week to make it right. You may love your first draft but slowly you will come to realise that there is much more that can be done, some more that can be taken away.

And in the ‘weird things keep happening to me’ department.

Is anyone else getting email that is from “buddisttrains”? What the hell is that? I’ve got something from them twice this week.

Suddenly, there’s almost no money in my bank.

I can’t find a piece that I had done on Thayil for Daily News and Analysis. He has been my favourite living Indian poet for a while now.

Update
Is it just me? Or is that word verification thingamejig throwing up real words that are misspelt these days? In the last four days I have – poleez, jinzeng, tranter (not a real word but sounds like one) and djigkle.  Yes, I think about these things. 

 

9 thoughts on “Strange things that have happened this week.

  1. deepa ravi

    Ok now i'm very curious to know what really prompted this post? I dread to think how bad that poem must've been!!! Not read Thayil – but you've sort of inspired me to go read him. I think I will. So will your next post be on what inspired this one?? Please 🙂

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  2. The Restless Quill

    Judy, this is the weird thing about the internet. Information hits most of us at about the same time. I came across Platonic Love a few days ago and fell promptly in lust with it. I googled him and found only two other pieces by him, both equally wonderful. And proves my pointer-list right.

    Deepa: You evil wicked woman. I'll try and post something similar to what inspired that post because posting the exact post would be very very mean. I am not averse to being that but these days I've had karma biting me back a bit too often 🙂

    Me: Hello Little One. You should try rhyme some time. It's very very difficult to pull off well. Which is why I choose the easy route — stay away 🙂

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