I’m not a big blog follower. Most days, getting my own poem written and posted is all the time I spend online. But somehow, a while back, I was lucky enough to discover a beautiful oasis in the online world, the lovely Leaf and Twig. The site’s tagline reads: Where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry. The site format is simple and perfect. Each day, one photo of the natural world, paired with a tiny descriptive poem. To me, each morning, it feels like the online equivalent of opening a tiny, perfect jewel-box or taking one delicious sip of of nectar.
So, here’s a treat for you. I asked the author of Leaf and Twig to respond to the same questions I answered on the Writing Process Blog Tour. Her thoughtful reply is below. Well, really, you get two treats—her answers below, and her site, which you should visit immediately for your daily dose of natural beauty.
Leaf And Twig: On The Writing Process
What am I working on?
Maintaining the daily postings on Leaf and Twig – which really is enough to keep me busy.
But I’ve also begun to try and group them thematically – and have begun playing around with self publishing. I have to say I’m not loving Blurb books interface very much…but I am learning a lot and reviewing my work and looking for connections is a good process. And for me just to be “in process” and not fixated on a tightly specific goal (best selling coffee table book) is the best way to work because then I’m open to the meandering path of inspiration.
Why do you write what you do?
Someone smart and clever said “art is prayer” and for me that is true, it is my devotion. So my writings are daily prayers (visual prayers a reader called them), gratitudes, and thanksgiving for all the beauty the world has to offer. And they are a practice – to stay connected, to slow down and notice, to remember that the quality of life resides in the now and often in the smallest of things. And they are an offering to anyone who needs a little respite, a little solace in our hurried and mad world.
How does your writing process work?
I love this – and it describes my process pretty accurately too:
Writer Elizabeth Gilbert tells a story about Ruth Stone’s writing style and inspiration, which she had shared with Gilbert:
As [Stone] was growing up in rural Virginia, she would be out, working in the fields and she would feel and hear a poem coming at her from over the landscape. It was like a thunderous train of air and it would come barrelling down at her over the landscape. And when she felt it coming…cause it would shake the earth under her feet, she knew she had only one thing to do at that point. That was to, in her words, “run like hell” to the house as she would be chased by this poem.
The whole deal was that she had to get to a piece of paper fast enough so that when it thundered through her, she could collect it and grab it on the page. Other times she wouldn’t be fast enough, so she would be running and running, and she wouldn’t get to the house, and the poem would barrel through her and she would miss it, and it would “continue on across the landscape looking for another poet”.
And then there were these times, there were moments where she would almost miss it. She is running to the house and is looking for the paper and the poem passes through her. She grabs a pencil just as it’s going through her and she would reach out with her other hand and she would catch it. She would catch the poem by its tail and she would pull it backwards into her body as she was transcribing on the page. In those instances, the poem would come up on the page perfect and intact, but backwards, from the last word to the first.
I always have my camera, pen and paper with me. I work as a gardener and often it is in the garden that I discover my images and the poems will “arrive”. But they never come together. The words develop from the images. I edit the images and then title them with a word to help me recall the image. Then I keep a little list of them in my pocket and often during the day while I’m gardening or often driving the words will come. The title almost always changes. I let them “simmer” and revise much the way one adds seasonings to finish the dish. I’m so nourished by the comments on the blog and often surprised at which ones resonate the most with folks.
Thanks to Leaf and Twig’s awesome author/photographer for sharing her writing process. Hope you feel inspired to do the same!