Blogging & Writing · Books · Creative Writing

Erasure

I find it strange that considering I love to read so much (so, so much) I don’t blog about books that often. I think because I have a Goodreads account all my ratings, reviews, to-be-read list, have-read, etc., already have a place to go.

But I felt like talking about books.

Not in a typical way, because I’m not someone who does book wrap-ups (like one of my cool sisters) but in a way that is decidedly Sarah.

In the past few months, I’ve been forcing myself to read a book. (I’ve had it for years, just sitting there, taunting me.) It’s not going well, at all. I’m not enjoying it and can’t find a rhythm, which usually happens when you try hard enough. It’s a classic, which usually draw me in, but this just wasn’t great.

I bought this book second hand for not very much money (as you do), which means I don’t feel guilty at all by highlighting the pages.

You heard me right. Highlighting pages. Somewhere, a younger Sarah is gasping in horror.

I am a complete believer in finishing books. Except when there is clearly no hope. Sometimes that just happens; why trudge through a book that feels more like a chore than an enjoyment? I think most books deserve a chance, but with this classic I just know it’ll never happen. Not even when I’m seventy and have nothing else to do.

So I’ve decided to use it for blackout poetry.

Blackout poetry is where you erase words from a piece of text, leaving specific words behind to form your own poem. It’s a pretty cool idea. Some people do fancy art to make their own poem stand out while other people simply use a black marker. What I did on my first page was highlighting my specific words.

(Here’s a link to google images of blackout poetry just in case I haven’t explained very well.)

In a way it feels wrong to be marking up a classic like that. I’m literally taking beautifully thought out words and turning them into something else completely. But I also think it’s such an amazing idea; it’s a way of being creative that’s different to the usual techniques. It sparks a different sort of creativity because you’re forced to work within this frame, but at the same time you can turn a tragic story into a happy poem, a dull scene into a love poem. In some twisted way, you could say you collaborated with Jane Austen or Hemingway. Or not. I dunno. Probably not. I just felt cool saying that.

I have 640 pages to explore the depths of black out poetry. I’ll share attempt number one, because I don’t think I share enough of my other writing on here; not as much as I’d like to, anyway. I like it just because I took the leap and marked up a classic book. (It wasn’t a Jane Austen or Hemingway, just to clarify; I don’t think I could scribble over Jane. She’s the untouchable top dog.)

So attempt number one. It was page number one of the book, setting the scene of three gentleman drinking tea in the garden. To be honest, I did really enjoy the descriptions in chapter one, which is partly why I used a highlighter to highlight my specific words rather than blacking out the rest; I couldn’t quite bring myself to hide the other words. But I didn’t like the actual story line, so. Anyway, my poem is as follows:


Hours are delightful that I have been left to enjoy;

Eternity as this is perfect,

In brilliant colours.”


It’s short but I like it. I think I’ll enjoy doing this blackout poetry. It’s different to anything I’ve really done before; usually my writing is just done off the top of my head or with an initial one-line or one-word writing prompt. I’m looking forward to seeing where this takes me creatively. It’s a relatively short process (depending on how much you plan ahead) but it’s just different, which is what drew me in.

Well. It’s late. 11:20pm. I was exhausted at 8:30 but somewhere along the line I failed to go to bed, so now here we are, still awake, feeling pretty tired. Have a good one, campers.

Sarah xx

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