Evolution of Style

The way I write changes based on who I am writing to or about. In various replies to half a dozen people today, I’ve noticed that pretty strongly, and just thought I’d bring it up. Half out of hope that maybe it’s a unique thing, half out of hope that maybe it isn’t. I guess that makes it win-win or something.

I’m a poet, but my poetry evolves constantly. Who I read changes that. Who I meet changes that, who I talk to and what we talk about changes that. Temporarily. It always comes back to my own configuration eventually. But I am a style analyst. I have a feel for the rhythm of words, for the way they fit together. I’d like to say it’s borne entirely of practice. But it isn’t. I was born with a talent for writing. The practice came later, and I’ve been getting lazy about it. I didn’t have to scrape myself up from the bottom of the barrel to become good at writing. I didn’t drag myself up a cliff to make my words make sense. I didn’t throw myself on the spires of debt, razor’d and long and thin, inescapable of as freezing rain at four o’ clock in the afternoon as you walk home from work.

No. I didn’t do any of that. On some level I feel like it’s cheating. It probably is, but if it is it’s cheating I honestly can’t help. If you can’t help being a cheater, you have two choices. One, you can suck it up and just keep writing. Two, you can seek therapy and lay down the pen.

Since the latter of those options will happen over my dead body, I’m going to continue cheating. I figure as long as I make an effort to write something every day (no matter what it is) it isn’t exactly cheating.  But I’ve been lazy lately. It’s true. I haven’t been putting my work up on my blog. I haven’t been writing my sequential stories. I have been moping. Pushing myself to the back of my self and sitting there, staring at nothing. Gazing into the corner, comatose while upright.

Abruptly, I wake up. I look around and it’s been a week. It’s been more than a week, it feels. It feels like it’s been two weeks since I posted anything new. It feels like an eternity has gone by. I stand up and walk to the door. I turn the handle and step outside my little bubble, my airtight house where the air is stale and it smells like the promise of cigarettes and depressed wine.

I stretch out and go for a walk.

Along the way I meet a few friends. I talk to them for a time, in long paragraphs, overlong and wordy, filling up air more than anything else, while trying to contain meaning as well. More is not always better, but right now I don’t want to think about my friends, I just want to move on.

So I do, I move on, down the street, down the sidewalk. I feel a bit lonely. I feel bad about brushing off my friends like that. They were excited about something.

I reach a writing friend’s house, and knock. No one is home, so I open the door and let myself in, walk over to her diary, turn it over to the latest unread page, and have a gander a while. She comes back home, but she doesn’t see me. I haven’t written in her diary, so she can’t.

I leave three comments in the margins of her various new works, then tiptoe out of the house unseen and continue down the street. There’s a newer friend who lives here nearby. I remember the style I had from my last few comments and decide it won’t do, as I walk into his house and sit down at his table, smelling old cigarettes and depressed wine. The cigarettes would get to my asthma if I still had it. I don’t, so it doesn’t matter much. I strip naked in front of him, taking off my shirt and my pants, my undergarments and my shoes, and pull on things more suited to the style of his work. He’s sitting across the table and staring at me. He doesn’t see me until I write the first comment. He murmurs thanks.  I don’t think it’s completely necessary. I push down inane gratitude at being noticed and just nod. I don’t know if he sees it or not. I write two more comments and leave without a further word, looking over my shoulder to catch his reply and then stepping out the door.

Exhausted by this social exercise, I walk back down the street. I shrug off his style- short and to the point without being curt, real in a way that draws you in- and briefly, as I pass by my other friends’ houses, take on a variety of different styles, passing down from romantic to idealism  and finally settling at my own door. I stare at all the things I took with me on this walk. I stare at them for a long time. Then I take a step inside. Then I put them all on the coat rack, walk over to my desk. I pull out my laptop. I’m feeling inspired.

As I bring my fingers to the keys, I think about what it means to have a style. I think about what it means to bring others into your style. I think about realism in my writing. I compare my characters to the way my friends write poetry or romance. I take a deep breath. I pull it in through my mouth like a bad habit. I breathe it out clean. The air is clear again. No offense to my new friend, but I don’t much like cigarettes or depressed wine.

I stare at my keyboard and my dirty old laptop. I pause. I write.

4 thoughts on “Evolution of Style

  1. I enjoyed going along with you on your walk, and am happy about the conclusion you came to in the end, as in you sit down to write. I liked your train of thought, and something about the way you speak makes the little wheels in my mind turn….and something else made me wish i was there to give you a hug, and tease you until you crack a smile…..the image of you taking your clothes off was nice….nothing like a dose of nudity to call the muse out of hiding! lol…… The more I read of you, the more I like you and want to read more……you are intriguing and a little mystery to me, and no matter what your words always inspire me…..you could write about a fly in the trash can and I am sure I could get something from it, 🙂
    Hope things are slowly returning and breaking through for you….and I have a good feeling that your writing will be showing the fruits of what you are carrying around lately, and any wisdom or perspective you have gained by it…..
    I wish you much love and joy, Sam, and hope your evening is a sweet one……
    much love to you
    Celeste
    xoxoxo ❤

  2. Oh, and I hope you dont mind, I added you to my blog roll so I can keep up better, and to share the love and your creative genius with others…..you truly were born for this….. ;D
    C

    • How could I mind? I’m flattered! It’s sweet of you to put me on your blog roll, and your kind words are making me blush more than anything. I’m writing with a grin. If you were here I’m sure I’d smile. Lately my writing style has been a bit more somber than usual- but I think that’s just part of the healing process. I’ll probably gain my enthusiasm again- and no doubt part of the lapse is my hunger. ❤ But hunger can't last forever. That's what food is for.

      I'm glad I inspire you to think. That's the best present of all, to know that my work helps others, not just me. It gives me one more thing to live for other than the feeling of writing itself. ❤ Oh golly that sounded overdramatic! But thank you again. Reading your comments has made my day. ❤

      <3<3<3s,
      Eris

  3. chat date or meatspace date, babe? It feels like your healing but I’d stil love to sit with you and talk. or to not talk. Just to catcj=h up. maybe we’ll drink something leafy.
    love always,
    Bri

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