Tag Archives: #RichardHugo

Bring On the Challenges

If we have ever shared a cup of coffee or exchanged more than a few conversational sentences, you are aware I’m adverse to change. As in, the actual skin on my body and my immune system succumb to the notion of change. I want to embrace the concept of change as it is after all the only constant, but the reality is that shit is damn hard to digest. As of late, I’ve been experiencing a good amount of change and of course it has me drawing correlations to the work.

With a new living space and relearning my wants and needs from this life, it also has me challenging my own comfort zone in regards to writing. After a bout of frustration with the work and ranting to Shelley once again that I was sick of it all (this happens quarterly), she tasked me: no poetry for two weeks. No reading it and no writing it. Dabble in another genre.

I thought this might be easy enough, however day two I was reading it. I had already broken the rules, but I decided she didn’t have to know that part (until now). What her task did do was reintroduce me to the joys of writing. It forced me out of my head in regards to the work and who’s reading it and who’s not and if it has merit and all that bullshit we get bogged down by on occasion. It served as a lovely reminder of why we write, why we sit down with walking pneumonia and put our last bit of energy towards the page:  the work is a part of us. It’s not a choice we make. It’s a need we have. I’ve been having fun putzing around in essays and flash fiction, and I’m remembering the fun of it all and forgetting the nagging self that is pushing for more and better and smarter.

With that, I leave you with a snippet from Richard Hugo’s “Writing Off the Subject” which I often use to begin my Creative Writing classes:

“Never worry about the reader, what the reader can understand. When you are writing, glance over your shoulder, and you’ll find there is no reader. Just you and the page. Feel lonely? Good.”



Jeffrey Levine

poetry, publishing, and mentoring

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