What is Your Territory as a Writer?

This week, I needed to come up with an interview question for another poet. I read her poems over several times and kept returning to the idea of what we give up for love/security as a recurring theme in the work. So, I asked her what she viewed as her territory as a writer.

And then I asked myself the same question. It is a question I asked myself in graduate school, one that was suggested as something to revisit every once in a while as I went off on the road that is a writer’s life. At that time, my territory was all about how I defined home as I worked on my thesis that explored the spaces in which I had lived. Space is something I’m still passionate about, how it’s used, how it shapes the people in it, what happens when there is too much of it. But is it still my main writing territory?

I hadn’t thought about this for a while — too busy mucking around in details of other people’s work to do much stepping back from my own. But I think a new territory is beginning to emerge as I keep up with my 100 poems in 100 days effort. Themes are clearly gelling: love in its various forms (romantic and non-romantic), the roles that define us or oppress us, how relationships become stale, and, perhaps most of all, longing. Since I’m only on poem number 59 as of today, there is still quite a bit of thematic possibility to be discovered and teased into form. There may be several overlapping territories to look at and wander around in. I may still surprise myself. This all may still loop back to space, but a different kind of space. An emotional space.

What about you? How do you define your territory? How often do you revisit that question and what surprises you when you do? Does it change? Time to chime in again.

DO A KIND THING

It’s Thanksgiving week, so be kind to yourself. Share your food. Be happy. Do an anti-Black Friday act by visiting Heifer International’s Share the Spirit – Pass on the Gift page here.

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