I was an English major. I have my medals for completing one-too-many courses on Shakespeare and I can write a mean thesis statement. Finally, those lessons have come in handy and my eye for edits is more of an obsessive tick than a skill. Now I can and have used my degree properly (HA to everyone). I didn’t study the English language to write copy for magazines, however. The passion for words went further than that convoluted grammar or anything. It was my creative writing classes that I couldn’t believe gave me college credit. Those were fun. Readings for homework? Yes, please. Writing my own stories, poems, essays with almost no rules? Absolutely.
Within those classes, there were even fewer rules, and I found my love for prose poetry. It’s a style of writing described as a form of writing that looks like prose but acts like poetry. Basically – writing with no rules. To me, it’s as simple as writing thoughts.
Prose poetry is that faltering step just before the music falls into a rhythm. It’s the place where anything is possible, as long as you feel it, experience it – breathing in the words just as easy as the writer spilled them onto the page. It’s the release from the counting of syllables and trying to be too dramatic and pushing all of the buttons and running out of air – but it doesn’t matter because the thoughts still follow. The reader keeps reading. Because it’s not normal and maybe there’s no punctuation and maybe that’s the point because in poetry and in prose there are rules. Lessons. You can be wrong. Red marks through the pages. The words don’t run free. But here, in these convoluted paragraphs, there’s just meaning. Where the words drum a rhythm until an explosion of trumpeting takes center stage.
It can pull out emotions you didn’t know you could feel. You didn’t know you could read – when the page just keeps flowing and the words are a wave that crashes over your head and you’re caught up in the blinding foam and tumbling, tumbling, in the sand and the sea.
it can be quiet. It can make you feel the patter of rain on a screened-in porch roof in the middle of a summer night. The silence of a still morning – waking up to the sun, without an alarm, when the world is soft. warm.
I don’t like rules and neither does prose poetry. In my thirty years, I’ve figured out that most rules only apply to some, and those that break them, usually are revered later. So we break the rules like Shakespeare (cough) and let the pen guide us and spill out our souls without commas unless we want them, or line breaks – unless we feel them – or they make a difference in what we’re trying to say.
Writing articles for travel websites don’t break the rules that often. Journalism still has to stride in line – even as it crumbles under the weight of “fake” news. When I have a free moment, when my writing switches from a keyboard to a notebook, the prose flows out in ribbons and all the rules are broken – and it feels better that way.