Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Writing Lists

In Ray Bradbury’s book Zen in the Art of Writing he makes this statement.
“But along through those years I began to make lists of titles, to put down long lines of nouns. These lists were the provocations, finally, that caused my better stuff to surface.”

I make lists. Lists of words I hear or read, words I hear spoken in the mountains, first lines of songs and poems, and names of towns I travel through. It’s just a natural thing with me. Over the years I’ve made lists for camping trips, bird lists, flower lists and lists of books I’ve read. Filled notebooks with ideas and prompts for writing. The words obsessive, compulsive come to mind, but lists have kept me going as a writer, and have pulled me from times when I thought I couldn’t put another word on paper.

The reason I mention this subject is to introduce the poem I’m going to share and read for you today. It started from a list of scientific terms and branched out from there. What do magnets do? Why do we use mathematics and what is theory? Are any of these metaphors for relationships? How far can one person be from another? All questions that produced a list that walked me into the poem. The last two italic words can be changed to mother/daughter, brother/brother, or may speak of a religious relationship. All would fit, and can make the poem universal.

If you’re a writer, keep lists. They will help when you need inspiration.
Have a wonderful day.

Point of Return

There is a point on the face of the earth
where a person can’t get farther away
without being closer.

Out there, seas and mountains of our
own creation are positioned between
loved ones, and when each moves,
the magnets of indifference
push the other away.

It’s all science, formula,
quotient, similar poles,
until love refuses twisted logic
and in forgiveness


and whispers,



  1. I love this being read to. Is it difficult to put on your blog? Maybe you could email me the steps I'd like to try it and give to my friend who publisher poetry to market her poets.

  2. I like your idea of keeping lists. I have done that over the years, but I am so disorganized I keep starting new lists when I can't find my list.