Patrick Friesen on the Writer’ Blog Tour
What am I working on?
I’ve always got something going on with my writing. At this point I’ve written three plays over the past few years, and I’ll be workshopping two of them with Theatre Projects Manitoba this fall. This will involve some editing. I also have a poetry book coming out with Mother Tongue Publishing in a year; I’m putting finishing editing touches on that. And I’m working on a group of poems that may go somewhere, or not. I have some specific craft issues I’m working on within these poems.
How does my work differ from other work in its genre?
Right off, I have worked out a voice over a fairly long lifetime of writing, a voice which is different from any other. Voice does come out of craft, experience and personality, so any poet who is not caught up in trying to replicate what is current/fashionable will develop a unique voice. I think probably my work, generally, works with a longer line, with loping rhythms, more than most other current poetry. But, then, I sometimes work with a shorter line. So, who knows?
Why do I write what I write?
I write the way I write because of who I am, out of a particular family/community background, and out of a certain educational experience. I would put an emphasis on “who I am” because that is only partly an amalgam of family and education; I am, like everyone else, a unique individual, born out of nowhere that I know. So, I write what I write out of that nexus. There is often a strong religious/spiritual aspect to my work. This could be attributed to my upbringing, but I suspect each of us comes into existence as a full undivided flesh/spirit unit, and we spend a lifetime working out the balance of that, the meaning of it.
How does my writing process work?
The process is always about necessity. It’s not a hobby, it’s not a career in the usual sense of that word. It’s not even a profession as far as I’m concerned. It’s probably very outdated to say that I think it’s a call. Each poet works out a process that works for him or her. For me, ideas tend to emerge out of an engagement with words. I try not to impose an idea on a poem. I find a particular phrase, sometimes a word, rattling about, and I begin with that. Sometimes it’s the physical image that engages me, sometimes the sound of the word or phrase. Let the words take me where they take me. Of course, once certain thoughts come into some kind of focus, I work to develop them, not in expositional terms, but imagistically and rhythmically. If I’m working on some project, where I have a batch of poems in existence, and I need to build on them with some direction, then some kind of structure begins to play an important part. Usually this structure is something that has come out of the writing, not something imposed on it. I almost always have music playing while I write; I choose the music according to what I’m writing. I suspect what I’m doing is focusing on one sense, and that allows me to write. Once I’m into the momentum of the writing, I no longer hear the music. It’s a kind of motion from the physical world into another world that I have no name for.
I should add that my answers to these questions are not set in stone. For me writing, and life in general, is about motion, so things shift and change all the time.
The next author of the Writers’ Blog Tour is Maurice Mierau. Mierau has been a fundamentally important presence in the Manitoba literary world for decades. His activities range from his own books of poetry to his highly intelligent, and insightful, critical articles and reviews. He has worked as an editor for years as well. Currently he edits The Winnipeg Review, an on-line review of Canadian fiction. His second book of poems, Fear Not, won the ReLit Award for poetry in 2009. His next book, Detachment: An Adoption Memoir, will appear in the fall of 2014 with Freehand Books. Check out his web site: www.mauricemierau.com
Some other stops on the Writers’ Blog Tour