I’ve been thinking about architecture lately. Maybe it’s because I read my poem, “Ex-house” recently at the launch of The Banister (Niagara Poetry Anthology). It’s a poem that uses architectural metaphors to explore the breakdown of a relationship. For instance, the poem’s first line begins with “I am exploring architecture”. This line sets the tone and image for what follows so that lines like: “I am carving to see daylight” take on symbolic meaning within the context of the poem’s dominant image and theme.
But I’m thinking of (or exploring) architecture differently here — not in the ways we tear down existing structures, and wander painfully through the ruins of past relationships or events — but in the ways that we structure our lives, especially our writing lives.
As writers, we are constantly building fictional worlds, or attempting to assemble in meaningful ways the truths of our actual, lived worlds. As builders of these imagined or actual worlds, how do we assemble our structures? What kinds of practices do we use to scaffold the work so that our poems, stories, novels don’t fall apart? What are the elements that keep our selves and our work glued together so that the frame doesn’t lean, the bricks adhere to the mortar, and eventually, our building will stand independently?
We each have our own way of dealing with these kinds of questions, and this includes the way we structure our writing time. How do we organize our lives so that writing becomes a routine, daily practice? Are we 5am writers? Or part of the late-night writing club? And what effect do these writing practices, these writing scaffolds have on our lives, our personal relationships, our families?
I’ve been asking myself these questions as I’ve been struggling to juggle work, family, a new relationship, running a poetry organization, oh, and maintaining my own writing practice and focus. And at least for me, the answer so far has been architecture. If I build a reliable, functional, and well-organized structure with excellent foundations, then I know the other parts of my building will stand. And part of this building relies on the various communities of writers I am so privileged to be a part of, and that have been such a support.
So, although my poem has been published, I guess I’m still exploring architecture, albeit in new ways. What metaphors will you explore in your work and writing practice?