The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words

The Shoelace

I can remember being an awkward high school teenager and sitting in my room listening to the rain pound against the porch outside and writing about it.  Nothing structured, just the words that were flowing through my brain.  In Bend, it didn’t rain much and so when it did, the smell and the sounds were almost overwhelming.  It was a huge subject matter for me as a kid because it felt familiar to me, and it seemed to envelope the feelings and emotions inside of me.

It wasn’t that I was a super depressed teen, sitting in my room thinking of darkness and doom, but I was going through a lot of changes and connected to the rain.  Now that I live in a place where it rains all the time the sensation of it doesn’t really inspire me like it did.  Although, a certain type of rain, the kind of misty coastal rain does.  It makes me feel like I am a character in an old movie and that the life that I lead has a lot more meaning to it.  Again, it’s not that I’m depressed or sad, it’s just that sometimes the best stress relief for me is to create in my mind.  I then sometimes put it into a song, or a poem.

I remember hearing the poem by Charles Bukowski called “The Shoelace” and thinking about how inspiration can come from the tiniest things, the mundane things, that we do from day to day.  He talks about such things as a broken shoelace that can drive you to the edge.  I would never think of a broken shoelace in the same way again.

So what is my point?  Try to find your inspiration, and the beauty or sadness that speaks to you.  Try to look for things that may not seem like a big thing, but when told in a certain way are.  Inspiration can come from anything and it is unique from person to person.  That is what can make a story, or a song come alive and speak so vividly that it makes the reader/listener feel like they are part of the story.  Think of the times when you felt connected and part of the story, those are the times where the author became not some distant person, but a friend.

–  Kenny Norris

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