As a freshman in college, I wrote one of my first poems in response to a painting that hung on the wall of an art gallery where I worked. It was an abstract painting of a woman’s body and I wrote my poem in an abstract style—mimicking the curves and nuances of the painting. I even titled the poem “Abstract Painting #6” after the name of the painting. I remember this because it was the first poem I ever published. Firsts tend to make an impression on me.
As a writer, I’ve trained myself to be observant of my surroundings. But I don’t always succeed—there are days when I’m so involved with my “other worlds” that I literally don’t notice what’s happening around me. Once, when I worked at a law firm, I went for an entire day before noticing that my colleagues had rearranged my office. (Something they thought was hysterically funny for some reason).
When I enter a new environment now, I try to notice my surroundings—I look for what’s unusual or unique. I look for those “firsts.” If I find something intriguing, I store it away for later use in a poem or story. Read more