All forms of expressive writing aim to create a tension in the reader, an emotional and/or intellectual impact that begs to be attended to and evaluated. Deciding who your narrator is and exploring their unmet desires is what will entrance your audience. A poem is, after all, an aesthetic way of delivering a message, so shouldn’t your narrator be just as evocative as the message itself? Whether you decide that your narrator is… well, you, or someone else, here are five sources of inspiration and counsel to help you with narrative voice.
Like many others, I have talents that are very pronounced and weaknesses that are equally apparent. This hasn’t made rejection for me any easier or any less painful: when I sat down at our most recent employee meeting it felt like sitting down at the Last Supper. Jesus, our store manager, was at the forefront and I sat at the very end, the Judas brewing in the corner, unwilling to follow a direction that feels like I’m fighting against the current. To add some weight to the metaphor, none of my other coworkers looked nor spoke directly to me. Who could blame them? If I couldn’t be a cook, I was useless in their eyes. And without any use, who are you to a group of people, anyways?
The town bell’s creed
Some gated, faded pages
That never got to me
Coarse terrain, drunken sages
Sir, hand me your arm
Give me the common rule
I’ll study them I swear
But ain’t a sacred fucking fool
Never knew I was such bad news
These gears, they spin within
I only did what I had to do
So just pardon me my “mortal sin”
You’ve woken up today and see a very fancily written “Once upon a time” at the top left of an otherwise entirely blank piece of paper. It’s been there for a year, and you call this “decent progress” on your novella about…what was it again, you ask? Let me help you: “Once upon a time, there was an artist who failed to wage the necessary war against their lazy and relaxed tendencies that consistently holds them back in most, if not all, of their pursuits.”
You’re going to start being creative. Daily. Here are three ways to make it through the artistic trenches and come out on top.
This week’s writing prompt concerns the “realm of hungry ghosts.”
Gabor Mate, an addiction specialist who uses alternative spiritual frameworks in his practice, uses the term “realm of hungry ghosts” in his discussion of codependent realities and how a person develops addictive tendencies. Conceived in Buddhist spirituality, the realm itself is one among the several that we pass through in a lifetime and is described as hellish. Dr. Mate describes the addict as someone stuck being a
“hungry ghost,” like the one you see in the picture above, monsters with long, scrawny necks and huge bellies that will never be satisfied. Stuck looking to the outside to feed or satisfy them, addicts will use sex, praise from others, temporary highs from drugs or alcohol, consumerist endeavors, and all the like to try and satiate the insatiable.