"What do you plan to do with your one, wild, precious life?" -Mary Oliver

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How To Keep Your Memory In Good Writing Shape

This blog is about the art of writing poetry as much as fiction. I started writing poetry long before I tackled fiction. For me, it was a natural progression. Now it turns out that poetry is good for our brains, at least the memorization of it, and I'd like to share with you Ten Compelling Reasons To Memorize Poetry. I'm all for anything that will help me keep my memory and imagination in marathon shape, anything that will help me come up with that perfect word when I need it. For as Mr. Franklin advised, "The difference between a good word and the perfect word is like the difference between the lightning and the lightning bug."

The first poem I ever memorized began,

"Under the spreading chestnut tree,
the village smithy stands..."

Anyone not know that? Do you have a favorite from school? Sadly, when I got to high school, English class was all about diagramming sentences. I wish there would've been more emphasis on creative writing and memorizing poems.

On another note, I've received some awesome feedback from a most awesome editor/freelancer by the name of Ethan Vaughan.  He will soon be posting an interview with me on his blog and I'll be sure to kindly point you in that direction when it's up (though it's kind of a gut-wrenching reveal.) The guy is wise beyond his years and asked some deep, difficult questions. Interestingly enough, I found that in composing my answers (and it took several days) I learned something about my novel. I learned what was important to me, what I have to keep, and what I can let go. For me it was as valuable an exercise as mapping out the arc of the story to see if scenes follow each other logically to a satisfying conclusion.

Enough said for now. Time to memorize a poem.


9 comments:

Jemi Fraser said...

Sounds like it's going to be a fascinating interview!

We spent far too much time diagramming sentences too (tell me how THAT's useful in anyone's day job...). We did have to pick a poem to present in Grade 6 - I chose Casey at the Bat. Still LOVE that poem! :)

Frances Garrood said...

I can still remember great chunks of poems I had to learn at school. Sadly, learning poesty by heart seems to have gone out of the window now.

My favourite? I think it has to be The Lady of Shallot (not sure I've spelt that correctly - perhaps I'm thinking of the onion!).

Yvonne Osborne said...

Jemi,
That is a wonderful poem! I remember it well. And starting today we'll again hear the crack of the bat! Tigers play at 1pm. (Too bad I have to work.)

Frances,
I hope not. I hope teachers are still teaching poetry and the art of memorization. Poetry much be read out loud to get the feel of it. I don't know that poem. The Lady of....maybe it isn't shallot! Thanks.

Liza said...

How sad is this? I can't remember if I had to memorize poems. I do remember memorizing parts of the Declaration of Independence though...

Anthony Duce said...

I wonder if it is not too late to start memorizing for me. I never was much good at it, not good at remembering words. I can see the value though. My memory these days is great for those things stored away from the early years. It’s what happened yesterday that I struggle with. Good think I journal. Maybe if I went back each day and memorized what I wrote?
Congratulations on the interview…

Yvonne Osborne said...

Liza,
You did! Wow, that's amazing. Thanks so much for commenting.

Tony,
Thanks. I don't think it's ever too late to work the brain, never to late to memorize some stuff. You have a lot of material to work with.

jbchicoine said...

Ha! I used to memorize poetry...the only one that comes to mind right now was from The Child's Garden of Verses:
The friendly cow all read and white
I love with all my heart
She gives me cream with all her might
To eat with apple tart...

(and yes, I even remember the next verses, but that would really be showing off, lol)

Suzanne Casamento said...

Ooo! I'm excited to read the interview. And as for the poetry, you're right. I should start memorizing!

Yvonne Osborne said...

JB,
I love your little poem! I wish you'd show off some more. Thanks.

Suzanne,
Yes, you should!