Hello again, I’m back with (more) attempts at writing poetry and an update about starting Hilary Term (i.e. Term 2) at Oxford.
Since I’ve been gone, I’ve been writing away for our weekly essays about everything including the lives of saints in Old English up until the modernist experiments of T.S. Eliot. I’ve taken up ballroom dancing in my free time, because I’ve always wanted to learn how to dance. On top of everything else, I’m also still dealing with my anxiety attacks and perfectionism which can sometimes get in the way of me doing my best work. But anyhow, to quote a Hindi song, I live by the phrase “jo bhi ho kal phir aayega” (roughly meaning he’ll be there again tomorrow no matter what); mental health difficulties can be debilitating but you have to keep swimming. Luckily, I’ve got closer to some of the friends I made in first term and discovered that there are people who are willing to support me through tough times. I find much of my solace and sense of purpose through devotional songs of every faith. After all whether you talk of gospel music, spirituals, Muslim sufi songs or eastern folk songs, they all share a sense of joy that transcends whatever suffering or difficulties you might be facing in your life. So much of spirituality is borne out of suffering, and I like to think that is because hardship brings out the best in human beings.
My writing, of course, also needs to go through some challenging hoops before it is the best it can be. I read back my last poem today (Falling in Love) and I felt like there were some evocative parts, but it just didn’t fit together well – it felt like I had picked up sentences from different poems and attempted to join them together. It seemed clichéd and contrived despite the sincerity with which I wrote it.
Thinking about that coincided with an e-mail I received about the John Newdigate prize, 450 pounds to be awarded to a poem of sufficient merit on the topic “water-forms.” It sounded like a great incentive for me to get started on improving my poetry. I always jump at the opportunity of taking up the projects that pop into my head (there’s no shortage of them in a place as happening as Oxford), but the tricky part will be actually sticking to them.
The idea for this particular project is to write a poem every day about water-forms until the end of Week 5 (around the 21st Feb). Then I plan to take my ideas and bring them together in a final draft poem, which I will submit for the competition. I’m hoping that this will be the most well-considered poem I have written till date.
So, really what I wanted to post about today were the first few steps of my little/big (depending on how you look at it!) poetic endeavour. I’m using a scrapbook to record my thoughts and ideas throughout the few weeks that I’ll be developing them.
Please let me know if you have any ideas for where else I could go with this project / your thoughts!
Thanks for reading and readjoicing with me.