As someone navigating the minefield of novel writing, I'm forever searching for the literary equivalent to those sponge animals. Something that starts out small enough for me to get my head around, then big enough after some soaking to convincingly fill a 100k-word cup. As it so often goes with searches, your quest for answers brings you full circle and the finding happens right where you started.
Which brings me back to poetry. That's where my passion for writing began, and that's what stirred the deeper creative chords in me last week when I encountered this poem, The Little Details, by Stephen Dunn. While the entire poem had me on an emotional wire, these words were particularly compelling:
My brother is talking about his ice-maker
because a man can't talk about his lymphoma
and chemo every minute of the day.
I read those twenty-two words and I see a novel. I see three acts, an inciting incident, conflict, character and change. I see heroes and turning points, plot twists, despair, redemption, hope. Poetry captures and condenses the heartbeat of a moment. It's like storytelling concentrate. So from now on, when you find yourself in search of something to write about, seek out a warm chair in the sun, crack open a book of poetry, and start adding water, one creative drip at a time.