Soak up the sunshine. My only advice for the moment.
Poetry by Leanne Rebecca Ortbals
I’ve started writing in a diary. I’ve found I like the senseless entries, writing whatever comes to my mind, confessing secrets, knowing no one is ever going to read these words (hopefully). One of my favorite teachers back in college used to tell us to write for 15 minutes a day, no matter what it was. The whole point was to develop the discipline to write. I used to write lists of what I did that day or complain about my homework. But then I finished that class and the journal entries stopped.
About two months ago I started them again, maybe not every single day, but whenever I feel like it. This poem is inspired by what I wrote in my journal today during my lunch break, scribbles about it being February and how it’s the month of love. It provoked a particular memory, something profound that happened to me in a February past, and before I knew it, I’d written this poem.
What do you think of when you think of February?
It’s Saturday, it’s sunny, and I just ate an enormous vegan peanut butter cup from one of my favorite places in St. Louis (see my twitter or instagram for reference). What I’m getting at is that it’s a perfect time for a poetry break, especially when it’s inspired by a Twenty One Pilots song. “Slowtown” is off their Regional at Best album, which sadly, is hard to get a copy of. No matter; give a listen from good ol’ YouTube below.
Check out all my poetry titled after TOP songs in my archives and stop by again soon for more poetic musings inspired by music.
The funny thing about writing is that it’s impermanent. It’s just thoughts we cast on paper or in word processors, easily deleted or lost and impossible to recover in word for word accuracy. I wrote one version of “Trapdoor” last summer but today when I looked at it, I hated it, judging every line until before I knew it, I’d written an entirely new version. The only line that remains from the original is the first one.
This poem is inspired by “Trapdoor” by Twenty One Pilots and per usual, I implore you to listen to their music. It’s no secret they’re my favorite band. You can check out the archives of my other pieces titled after their songs in my TOP archives page and come back next Saturday for another post in the series!
Are there any bands that inspire your creativity?
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This one’s an oldie. I just watched Mirror Mirror, a silly take on Snow White starring Lily Collins and Julia Roberts, so it seemed like an appropriate throwback. It was published in Pastiche Magazine (a small online journal) last summer during my run as their featured poet for the month of July. It’s strange to look back at previous writings. It’s hard not to judge myself and also bittersweet to experience the emotions from a distance, especially poems that dive into dark scary places I never want to visit again. I think it’s important to look back though and see how far I’ve grown in so many aspects of my self and my work.
A question to my fellow writers:
Do you ever look back at old work and do you find it difficult to look at it objectively?
If you’ve never tried writing under the influence of a song, I highly recommend it. Turn the volume up, hit repeat, and lose your soul for a minute as you let the vibrancy of the melody steal your physical body. Don’t just listen, but absorb. Internalize the lyrics and drum your fingers with the beat as you let your imagination run. What do you see if you close your eyes? A memory?
Whatever you feel, just write it.
As per my usual Sunday series inspired by songs on my playlist, today’s poem is inspired by “The Great Escape,” by Boys Like Girls. I’ve been utterly obsessed with this song for about a month. Sure I heard it when it came out years ago, but rediscovering it has deepened my connection beyond the initial admiration of dancing along to a catchy song. Anyway, give a listen below and come back again next week for another round of celebrating the camaraderie of music and poetry.