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Rupture the mundane

I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, but having the perfect thing to write about isn’t actually enough; that’s only half the battle. I think one of the main challenges is how we turn that concept into a concrete piece of writing.

There’s that famous idea that a piece of writing, particularly I think a poem, has to be more than one thing leant up against each other; so it can’t just be about a central thought or concept or discovery, there has to be at least one other thing.

What that ‘other thing’ is can be up for grabs; so it might be a very strict form that’s going to force the writing to go into places it might not otherwise have wanted to; it might be a second idea you’re trying to conflate with the first; or it might be that language from another semantic field, another realm, another sphere, is going to collide with your initial thought to create something dynamic and new on the page.

That other great cliché of a writing workshop is to ‘make it new’; it’s a handy phrase but one that’s a little light on instructions of how to actually achieve this.

My related exercise will hopefully be a good starting point. It seems to me the point of any art, beyond something merely aesthetic, is to offer a temporary rupture to the mundane difficulty of being alive, to make us look at something in a different way, to make us consider something afresh, and thus perhaps lead us towards a new way of conceptualising our own existence.

That might seem a high task to set yourself on a blustery afternoon at your kitchen table, but I think it’s good to aim high.

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