As stated before, this section of the blog is especially dedicated to depicting the lifestyle of fellow creatives, such as writers, poets, and artists. Because the lives of those who create are so vast and varied, it's difficult to describe a golden rule when it comes to creating. Perhaps the most unifying quality of all creatives, however, is the need to get something down on paper—to have an idea and an ability to demonstrate this idea to others. With this in mind, anyone can be an artist: a mother with three kids, a middle schooler, you name it. While it is true that “good” art takes more dedication and craft, it's a bit comforting to remember that, sometimes, all you need for a good poem or story is a fun idea and some time on your hands.
With this in mind, I’ll share a bit about myself and my own creative process. I've submitted poetry to Penumbra for a few years now, and more often than not, I would begin the process of writing these poems solely because I knew there was a call for them. Of course, there are many poets who write frequently—even daily—who have no need for a prompt or push from outside forces, but for me, a call is actually pretty helpful! I find that, with a little fire under my seat, I have the motivation to create something from ideas that have been stewing in my head for quite a while now. Being able to submit my poetry and knowing it will be at least looked at gives me the courage and drive to write something worthwhile and try especially hard at articulating a specific experience in a memorable and (hopefully) stylish way.
Many of my poems attempt to tackle heavier topics that continue to pop up in my daily life: mental health, lack of identity, etc. Do I ever really figure out my conundrums? No (pft), but through the writing process I do feel as if I've created an ongoing conversation I can come back to whenever I need. The words I write down act as springboards for new ideas and connections I can someday make in the future, because luckily, I actually don't need to make the perfect poem.
For me, and perhaps for many other artists, writing poetry is an attempt at wrangling the slippery scales of abstract ideas while also reasserting (and perhaps finding comfort in) the fact that I know nothing for certain. Words will never perfectly contain what I’m thinking, but if they really could then why would I bother writing over and over? Where's the fun in that? Luckily, I have a multitude of ways to craft ideas into stories into heartfelt pangs in my chest, so I don't plan on running out of muses any time soon.
It's pretty likely we’ve all heard some time or another (plenty too often) to ‘write what you know’ when it comes to writing, and while the phrase may be obvious or unhelpful at times, in truth, I do find myself looking into my own life for inspiration most of the time. So many times I'm reminded of little interactions, faint wisps of emotion, random memories that mesh into new thoughts and create a different experience, suddenly and without warning. Oftentimes I'll jot down key words for a new poem, and, when I have the proper amount of time it's due, then I’ll begin the process of crafting a new creation.
In all, every creator will have a different process in which they share their unique ideas. There will never really be a one-size-fits-all for this kind of thing, despite there being common practices and the like. Nevertheless, I plan on writing in new ways to approach the topics that continue to infiltrate my mind. Working at Penumbra allows me to read and see so much diversity and variety in art, which in turn helps expand my own ideas! Every new poem is another chance at tackling down concepts and tearing apart expectations—regardless of whether it's from jotting in the Notes app or being pushed by a prompt. And as long as I'm up for it, I don't foresee myself giving up that endeavor in the near future!
This page is edited by the entire Penumbra Online Blog Team collectively.