Is that poem about me? or… My Inspiration.

January 4, 2010

I write a piece, I post it to my art page. Then I get the phone calls and e-mails and the facebook queries and the tweets and the comments on the actual page… “Hey…is that poem/story about me??”

To put it bluntly, the answer is… NO. (Well, mostly no, but more on this later!)

My inspiration for my poetry and stories usually does not come from just one person or incident, although one specific person/occurrence may be a trigger. I may write up a rough draft shortly after, but usually not. The actual publishing is almost always long after the triggering circumstance has occurred. The length of time it takes for me to publish it varies depending on the significance of the person, event, or influence. It is at the very least a period of weeks, usually months, sometimes even years.

Very rarely is a piece written about one specific person or event. At my advanced age (insert # here!) I have had some experiences, and this history is what I draw on to write my poetry and stories. Some people or events are of such great consequence that they do indeed get their own story or poem, however, these are the things that take years to write about.

I have found over time that if I attempt to write about a person or event shortly after it has affected my life, my words come out like alphabet soup. No rhyme or reason, just a slew of subconscious emotion passing from my head to my hand to the paper. At that moment, I am too close to what has happened to be able to write anything coherent. It is similar to the idea of not disciplining your child when you are angry, in order to deal with the situation calmly. If I am too emotional, words may come out that are unintended… or at the very least, common and simple due to lack of rational thought!

For example, haiku #1 was posted in October, however, the inspiration happened early last spring. Haiku #3 dates back 20 years, to the days of classroom critique by art teachers. “Love and Acceptance” is an idea that has been formulating for almost 10 years. An event (complete with person) that happened in mid-July of this year triggered my most recent poem. Yes, only triggered, because rejection in some form is something that occurs throughout one’s life. Had I tried to write about it before now, the poem would be clumsy and childish, using elementary adjectives with little or no forethought.

Some specific people and events remain untouched as yet. My heart is not ready to face the emotions that accompany them. My Nana passed away earlier this year. I miss her very much, and would love to write about her. Nana’s life is worthy of more than just a poem. However, it is too soon for me to address the issue. My heart twists a little to think about it right now. Other significant events (such as the 8 dark years of my life) loom in the distance. I am not brave enough to face the import those 8 years had on my character yet. So I wait.

It’s true some posts are in the here and now…such as my toast to 2009/2010, and my post regarding my love for peanut butter! However, almost all the stories, poems, and ramblings that deal with people, events, and emotions are not my current frame. The ideas that go with my creative writing need to sit and simmer in my subconscious for a while.

So if you are wondering if something specific that I’ve written is about you, the answer is no. But check back with me in a couple of months… I may have something to show you…



  1. I think you’ve got the right approach, allowing time after an experience. Sort of letting the inspiration marinate a bit. When I blogged, I would get tipsy and let the words flow. Then edit the next day, in the cold light of a hangover. Of course, my blogs were just rants and not very ‘deep’ or circumspect.

  2. Kind of reminds me of the Carly Simon song – the person making the enquiry is so vain- they probably think it is about them. Funny. People should just read what you write and take it for what it is – a story, poetry, reflections or whatever you want to write about. You shouldn’t have to add a disclaimer to everything you write to prevent the questions from arising.

    • I get a lot of enquiries, indeed!!

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