Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Found Poetry, stories, inspiration, ideas.

I was asked about inspiration, and also about how one should credit sources when one needs to... and I think this fits the bill.
Found Poetry. (a genre all of its own, and not one to be particularly proud of, but hey.)
Both these examples were fashioned from the words of others, subbed as such, accepted as such, and published as such. As found poetry. With the original writers clearly credited.
Two examples linked to this old blog post, HERE.
As far as how I have been inspired myself... examples are legion.
And THIS STORY character's job was inspired by a character in a Raymond Carver story. A vacuum cleaner salesman. Great job to give a character, great metaphors, collecting all those little bodily bits we leave behind us! Note that the voice, the setting, the other characters, the theme, the plot, the voices, dialogue, etc etc. are my own. I created an unhappily married couple, a wife with OCD. Cleaning all the time, and a horror of her husband's bodily detritus - the bits that end up down the side of chairs.
Published early on, in 2005, would I do anything different now? Yes! I'd be a bit more creative with the title. It was a deliberate nod to Carver- ha!!

Another example is the opening paragraph of 'Dodie's Gift'. The setting of a beach with blood on the sand inspired greatly by a setting in Jim Crace's novel, Being Dead. Then I charged off down my own creative path. With my own characters, voices, settings, plots, themes. His is a brilliant novel, tracking the decomposition of two bodies in a parallel narrative alongside the characters' backstory. Mine is short story about the rape of a simple shop assistant.

I get inspiration everywhere. Some writers are terrific and open me up creatively, and I am eternally grateful for that.
It’s not difficult. Inspiration is such a different thing to wholesale lifting, copying, whatever term we use.
Tania Hershman puts it all far more clearly than I have, HERE on her blog post for plagiarism day last week, where she discusses her gratitude for how two short story writers have helped her to open up her own work. She says the question she asks of other writers is this:
How can I be inspired by what this writer has done and employ that in the service of telling my story?

That was, I thought, a terrific post. Lucid, honest, and perfect for the purpose. Like her stories!


Tim Jones-Yelvington said...

I had a piece accepted for the first issue of "Artifice Magazine" that I created using "found sentences" from blogs in my Google Reader. I have been completely forthright about this throughout the submitting process, but at some point while copying and pasting and rearranging I completely lost track of what came from where, since there were so many different sources. I've been thinking I should try to go back and figure out where each sentence came from before publication (not until January 2010, so I got time), this was helpful, thanks.

...I should also see how the poet David Trinidad does it, he uses a lot of found text.

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Hi Tim

Sounds interesting, this project. Look forward to reading it. And good luck with the tracking!
I haven't heard of David Trinidad. Will go find him.'

Tania Hershman said...

Thanks so much for the link to my blog post, V. I have to say that talking about it made me a bit nervous about where I "take" inspiration from, but it does help to hear about what other writers do... The whole topic made me nervous, I guess!