Why I Write: National Day on Writing

20th of October is the National Day on Writing.

For me writing is a form of therapy…it helps me get all the stuff churning in my mind on paper which is extremely freeing.

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Write or Die

 

Created this jpg this morning as the thought has been running around in my head for a while now and its become my personal motto!

 

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(C) T. Altman 2017

What Inspires Me: Quote by Walt Whitman

This quote prefaced in Whitman’s  ‘Leaves of Grass” sings to me….

“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”

Being a writer…

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“Your writing starts with a vision – a dream.

A belief that you need to put down what you are seeing in your mind.

It drives you and inspires you…this vision.

It makes you want to feel something as you are passionate about the process.”

(C)  T. Altman 2017

What inspires me: Margarett Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale

I have always been inspired by stories of and by women.  I recently re-read “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood.

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I have to start off by saying this book was recommended to me by a friend and I am glad she did as its become one of my favorite all time books.

The scary thing is that our current political climate can potentially lead to this dystopian world where women’s rights and reproduction are controlled by men in power and with that in mind its quite a thought provoking read.

This book has had a deep impact on me and my personal connection to feminism and the resulting treatment of women and their bodies.

Hulu has created a tv series based on the books airing in March and I look forward to seeing this great novel on the small screen…until then:

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum” 

Don’t let the bastards grind you down!

Poetry Writing Style

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I was around 21 when I showed a friend some of the poetry I had written up to that point.  We were planning on attending a poetry reading group and I wanted some feedback on my work before going “public”with it.  It was a huge deal for me, as before this I had never shown anyone my poetry.

This friend was very focused and silent, whilst she looked through my notebook of handwritten poems…mostly in neat print which at times became cursive.  After what seemed like an eon, she looked up at me and said “you write like Sylvia Plath” to which I replied “Who?“, as I had no idea who Sylvia Plath was at the time.

Like I’ve mentioned before – I wasn’t exposed to the best English literature at the working class public schools I attended growing up.  For the most part and if I am speaking frankly, I don’t ever recall being taught anything about poetry or poets for that matter.  The poets I had been exposed to were the ones I found on my own.  These tended to be poets from the Romantic era  like Byron, Shelley, Keats and Poe, as I had developed an obsession with the Victorian period as a teen.

Soon after, I found myself borrowing my friends copy of her collection of Sylvia Plath’s work and realized that my poetry did resemble her style.  This was completely unintentional and worried me so much I stopped writing for a while.  I was so fearful about not emulating that it made me stop creating any work at all!

Then, I finally read “The Bell Jar”.  I completely resonated and understood where the protagonist was coming from.  Something inside clicked.   I released the expectation and worry I had placed upon myself.

I went back to writing poetry and I write the way I am compelled to.  Whether it be free or rhyme, flowing or constructed, personal or observational –  I don’t care what I sound like. As long as I am getting my feelings out and expressing myself as I feel compelled to, I feel good about it.

Syliva’s style was autobiographical and so is mine and we deal with the same subject matter of depression, disturbances and death.  The older I get the more comfortable I get with my poetry and as long as I personally feel something when I write it, I will keep at it.

If you would like to read some of my work, here are a few poems I have written in the last year:

Poetry by Tina Altman

 

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(Image: Sylvia Plath)

“Wear your heart on your skin in this life.”
Sylvia Plath

(c) T. Altman 2017