Let me take the opportunity to introduce myself as “The Wheelfaring Writer.” I’ve chosen this new title because the irony of referring to my writings as “wayfaring” has dawned on me.
According to various online dictionaries, “wayfaring” means “traveling.” But not just any traveling. Traveling on foot. Uh . . . Problem . . .
I’ve never traveled anywhere on foot. It’s kind of an off-brand concept for me. I’m on wheels, even when my traveling companions are on foot. They are on foot for many of our adventures. So I kept part of the wayfaring-- not just to honor my parents’ preference for walking from tourist attraction to tourist attraction, but also because “wheelfaring” is a portmanteau. Thirdly, it almost rhymes with “wheelchair.” On top of that, when we put it before “writer,” we end up with an awesome alliterative phrase. All these qualities of the title make me a little giddy.
In addition to referring to a person who travels on foot, “wayfarer” shares meaning “nomad.” I’m definitely a nomad in the writing world. And I recently rejoined a writing camp I hadn’t kept up with for over a decade.
The poetry camp.
I took a poetry class in the fall and I’ve been writing poems ever since.
I feel like any sight, sound, sensation, emotion, and any combination of these can be turned into a poem. Plenty of times, I’ve heard other fiction writers say they find stories everywhere, too, but that’s not been my experience.
I enjoy plot, and conflict, and characters. Yet I’m drawn to the versatility of language itself as much as those other story elements. Language lures me in when it calls to mind sensory details that “give me the feels.”
To me, making unexpected linguistic connections is a major perk of writing and reading poetry. Poets can play with language to look at a subject through someone else’s eyes. They can also use figurative language to help readers relate to them, even if the reader comes from a vastly different background. Poems give us a means of grappling with situations when we struggle to put experiences into words another way.
Not all poems are multi-page riddles to be deciphered and explained on tests. Sometimes it’s obvious what a poem is about. In these cases, it’s the fresh way the subject is described that makes encountering the poem rewarding.
Other times, unpacking a riddle doesn’t feel like a chore. When I’m not sure what a poet meant, I feel free to find my own significance in the poem’s language. A poem can tell a different story to each reader. For that matter, a poem can tell a different story to the same reader the next time he or she reads it. And I don’t just mean in the way that when we reread, we notice details we didn’t before. I mean seeing in the poem a startlingly different story. To me, that’s a beautiful experience.
I know you’ve had experiences like this. I’d love you to share in the comments your favorite example of how a story or poem has evolved for you over time.
What’s on the horizon?
Since October, I’ve written close to forty poems. So far, I’ve been able to revise and submit eight of them to be considered for publication. One of these has been accepted. You can find a link to “Beware of Love” on the poetry page of this site. I’m still waiting to hear about the others. Meanwhile, I’ll keep revising and submitting poems, as well as working on my novel. I also hope to post here at least once a month. If you enjoy what you find on this blog, use the form at the bottom of each page to subscribe. That way, you’ll receive an email whenever I have something new to share about reading, writing, technology, travel, and life in the disability community.
Until then, happy wayfaring for you foot travelers, and happy “wheelfaring” for you wheel travelers out there!