Sunday, July 05, 2015

About Places

No poetry today, just some not-so-coherent musings. There has been not much from me lately. I have been tied down with work, knocked out by the flu for a couple of weeks, and am working hard on some poems for a national poetry competition, which unfortunately, I am unable to submit as the deadline was just a few days ago. Oh well!

This piece has been sitting in the hard drive for some years, until I dusted it out recently and rewrite a few lines. There are some more squatters in my PC's hard drive. :)

almost Mondrian
image by dsnake1, done with PSP9

About Places

A post by blogger Gautami Tripathy some years back stirred my lazy grey cells. She wrote :

How does place figure in your writing? Do you feel comfortable in the place you live, or do you feel at odds with your atmosphere? Do you convey that in your writing? What stories does your location have to tell?

I have not really given much thought to this question before, because when I feel like writing, I will just write. I know, sounds cliched, but that's what it is

So I guess the 5Ws, the who, what, where, when and why are the questions I have to answer when I begin to write something, be it a short story or a poem. These are parts of the jigsaw puzzle that has to be fixed, the ingredients that are needed for a meal. And "place", the "where", is just part of the equation, although I think a very important part.

So yes, "place" do figure highly in my writings. The entries I sent to a national poetry writing competition some years back were all about a single place. A place I spent part of my youth, where I found my love, a place labelled dangerous, but a warm-hearted place, if you lived long enough there. I have written about places with names. Places with no names. The places where I had lived. Other cities. Sometimes, I build a poem around a place. Sometimes a person, and even a time.

Writing, and especially poetry, is about observation. You sit in a cafe with a coffee, you are packed with the crowds in the train, and there is nothing much to do but observe. The people around you, the places you frequent, you live in. The buildings, the streets, parks, trees, and eateries.

You will write about this because these are the things you know. The park bench you sat with your loved one, the street which wore your sneakers thin on your daily walk to work, the dark hill which you charged up with your platoon mates. The pub where you fought with Captain Morgan. Love and war and apathy makes you see a place differently.

So what are the places that inspire you? A wasteland, a war trench, a tranquil beach? A set of GPS coordinates? A planet in another galaxy?

A place, like a person, has character too. We fear a dark alley, and the dangers that may lurk within. A meadow with green blades of grass invigorates us. The booming waves on a breakwater sing to us of freedom. A wild flower growing out of a crack in concrete reminds you of resilience..

In its own quiet way, place is always around. Not just in my writings, but also in my physical environment. because it is just too important to ignore.

June 2015

The reason one writes isn't the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say.

-- F. Scott Fitzgerald

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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Blogger magiceye said...

Well said!
Places gain importance because of associations in our minds...

07 July, 2015 09:54  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

that's true , magiceye. there are many places that we will not forget. :)

07 July, 2015 20:22  
Blogger R.K. Garon said...

Wonderful essay... I had to dig around to catch up to you. I guess I'll have to subscribe :-)

08 July, 2015 03:26  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thank you, my friend!
this blog is still using the classic template, i had tried migrating to the new template but some stuff seemed to be missing after that, which gave me a fright, and i revert back to the old one. i am still thinking of changing this blog to the new template though. maybe one fine day. my other blog i write too is on the new template and has a followers widget. :)

08 July, 2015 20:51  
Blogger Kim Nelson said...

So glad you are feeling better. Two weeks down with the flu is a long time. Blessings!

09 July, 2015 02:21  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Thanks, Kim! :)

it was like a week of wasted time. this time around, it was a very bad attack.

09 July, 2015 19:18  
Blogger Mary said...

Interesting theorizing here.
So glad you are feeling better.

20 July, 2015 10:47  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thank you, Mary.
just my weird thoughts. :)

20 July, 2015 19:46  

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