What this lesson will (hopefully) get you to do is consider the words we, as writers, choose. Or, perhaps, maybe it’s this: think about what your default is, the crutches we all have—in word choice, but also genre, form, content, perspective and POV.
I use the sky and weather as an entry point to discuss word choice, plot points, the importance of world-building, while also touching upon other inspirations (like art) to help us build our writing vocabulary.
So, when we describe anything, we’re speaking figuratively, because we can’t literally, or actually, describe what any of us are experiencing.
What I want you thinking about is all the little things that make you who you are, on any given day, and how we lean into our words when we write. It’s hard to come up with new ways to say something, and the sky—and/or the weather—is a great place to start.
I think of all those books I read, all those songs I listened to, when I was younger (hell, even now), that helped me understand there was something larger than myself out there in the world, something to look forward to, something to discover, something like solace, something like transcendence. If I can help bring any of those feelings, to anyone, through writing, then I will continue to attempt to do so, for as long as I am able.
You can read the whole interview here. Grateful to the editors of FWR, and for Sara Rauch for her time.
But, here’s the thing: we won’t call them aliens any longer, implying—because we don’t understand—that they don’t belong here, that they haven’t worked hard to maintain, because, yes, the cuttlefish have found a way, haven’t they? And not knowing can be beautiful, a mystery we don’t need to understand to appreciate, the rhythm of the black waves crashing on the shore, the moon hanging low and yellow, toes digging divots into the wet sand, smiling—finally feeling like yourself, who you’ve always been and always wanted to be.
The horse is running at full-speed, the arch of its back unmistakable, hooves raised high, ears perked, mane blowing, slicing through warm wind, scrubland, high desert, jungle. You’re twenty, no thirty, no sixteen; you’re single, no married, no dating: the horse responds to your touch with spasms of its remarkable muscle, by blowing its lips, letting out an imposing roar. It responds to you, the two of you together, this dance along the horizon, the edge of a lake where a marbled sky overhead promises rain, where thunderous green storms promise relief.
Back on earth, shock and awe: planted, the seeds germinate; there’s no discernable difference in their make-up. So they’re given away as gifts by the President, planted on college campuses, in city centers, affixed with plaques to mark their terrible cosmic journey.
I’ve long wanted to be published in Hobart, so this is a dream. I’m grateful to the editors there for publishing this poem.