“The Soul of a Poem”
Today’s special guest is B.S. Meyers.
Benjamin Meyers, known by many as B.S. Meyers, began writing when he was fourteen years old. Today is his seventeenth birthday and in the past three years he has written thousands of words and worked on multiple writing projects. After a difficult decision to shelve a novel he felt wasn’t working, Ben is confidently working on a new project. He maintains a blog about writing called “The Universe Inside My Head“ and regularly connects with other writers on Twitter.
The Soul of A Poem
There are many different formats for poems, from Haikus to Limericks to free-verse. Some have rhyming patterns, some use repetition, others use imagery. But what is the single aspect that every poem ever written shares? I believe it is soul.
When someone writes a poem they usually write about a certain theme (love, death, war, etc.) and they use different literary techniques (alliteration, repetition, imagery, etc.), but what you may not realize when you write a poem is that you’re putting your soul on paper. The word choice, themes, symbols, moods and tones of poems are reflections of the author.
Maybe you write about love because you’ve just met the most amazing person in the world. The mood and tone will be happy and emotional and the word choice will create those feelings. Maybe you write about loss because you just broke up with the love of your life. The mood and tone will be dark and melancholy. In both cases imagery is used to turn emotions into words that, when read, are projected into the reader’s mind, making them feel your happiness or your pain. I believe every poem is a small piece of a person’s soul.
One person could use a garden to symbolize their life, another could use a car crash. Each symbol is unique to the author. We have all lived different lives, had experiences unique to us and felt emotions that we believed were unique to us. We’ve all loved and lost and we’ve all experienced what it is to be human. Every aspect of a poem is a window into the author’s mind and a picture of humanity. Our thoughts, the events in our lives, our emotions, our motives, our goals, our dreams… every one of those things can be found in a poem and every one of those things is part of what makes us human.
So the next time you read a poem don’t think about it two-dimensionally: The poem is about loss and it’s using a cold winter day as a symbol. Think of it three-dimensionally: The poem is about the loss of someone the author loved and the cold winter day is a symbol of how the author felt.
Here’s one of my poems. Why don’t you start thinking in three dimensions?
With the water's edge, mother nature is receding. The world, once covered in life, struck by man. Spiraling in to darkness, the trees are bleeding, and mourning their brothers, who couldn't have ran. Trees fall in the forest, leaving no sound, with no one to hear them, almost like they're dreaming. Their roots whither and the fires burn all around. They have no voices, but they will continue screaming! And at the end of all the world's time, the eldest tree will stand tall and gaze upon the barren land, leaves falling, blending with nature's rhyme. The eldest tree will plant a seed, and the world will go on. (c) 2011 by B.S. Meyers
“Benjamin Scott Meyers is a talented young man, and his talent could make many writers envious: not only he’s got a full-blown blog running, but he’s also been writing his first novel, The Greatest Story Never Told. You can read the pre-review about his work right here.
Nevertheless, Benjamin has also suffered of Perfectionism, and here he tells us how it affected his life. I’m very happy to share his story with our readers.
Without further ado, here’s what Benjamin have to say to us, and show that even big writers have trouble with writer’s block and perfection issues.”
When I began writing, it was more of a hobby than anything. I looked up to famous writers, such as J.K. Rowling and Douglas Adams, and I wanted to emulate them. I wanted my books to be perfect. I tried to create massive and elaborate plot lines that only the greats could create. I tried to develop characters like Harry Potter and Zaphod Beeblebrox, characters that were distinct and perfect.
The end result: I wrote myself into a hole. Douglas Adams wrote himself into a hole once. He wrote Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect into the vacuum of space with 30 seconds of oxygen in their lungs. He spent months trying to get out of that hole. He was finally able to come up with something so impossibly improbable that it saved The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and a 5 book trilogy was born.
I finally got metaphorical slap in the face. I had to come to the realization that I am not J.K. Rowling! I spent a month stuck in the same spot in my second novel with no idea where to go. I had to admit that I’m not J.K. Rowling, I’m not Douglas Adams and I never will be. There is still a bit of perfectionism that drives me though. What I got out of the whole experience besides that I needed to stop trying to emulate my writing heroes, is that I may never be them, but I can write just as well, my own way, and change lives. If I work hard enough, one day I will write the next Harry Potter or the next Hitchhiker’s. One day I will be the new J.K. Rowling.
I realized that I can never be my writing heroes, but I can be a new writing hero. Never try to emulate your favorite writer’s writing, try to emulate their effect, their outcome on the world.
Now I don’t try to be J.K. Rowling or Douglas Adams. Now I AM B.S. Meyers. I am myself and my writing is so much better because of it. Now I’m trying to emulate the picture of myself that I see in my head.