Guest Post, Dixie Salazar: On Blogs and Blocks

Dixie SalazarRecently, I have had a block in regard to writing poetry. This really hasn’t happened to me before, at least not for this long. Something feels different, but I can’t quite put my finger (or pen) on what it is. When I started writing, I wrote a lot, like reams of really bad poems and then depended on my teacher to cull through it all and find the seeds that could germinate into real poems . Finally, he told me that I needed to do a little culling myself before turning them into to him. I just hadn’t trusted myself to know what was cull-able. When I got more confidence, I waited for the aha moment. That’s when I felt like a poem was coming that demanded to be written. Getting that idea was so exciting and the energy that emerged pushed the momentum of the poem forward, almost as if I couldn’t stop the poem from being born. These were fun, productive years.

But, gradually, I began to write more and more infrequently. There was still the initial rush that came from an idea that just jumped up and down and wouldn’t shut up, much like a two year old demanding attention. But as my poems matured (and maybe I did also) I found poetry less demanding of my attention and I could leave it alone for longer periods of time and trust that it would behave and still be there when I returned.

The years went by, and I would even wonder sometimes if my poems were leaving the nest for good, since I didn’t feel the urgency to write that I had before, and our relationship had certainly changed. We didn’t need each other in the same way that we had before. There was a phase where I wasn’t sure I even liked poetry anymore. It hadn’t really done a lot for me, in terms of tangible rewards. And the other poems that found their way to our house were not like the ones I had been taught to write as a younger poet. I was mystified by them sometimes and other times horrified by their shocking language and loose ways. Were they even poems? I wasn’t sure I knew anymore.

Which brings me back to where I started– five children sent out into the world, and living respectable lives, but none of them setting the world on fire. And I’m not sure where I go from here. As I write this, I’m sure of one thing. I will always love poetry, even if it doesn’t call me as often as it should, and even if it shows up pierced and tattooed, hungry and asking for a small loan. Maybe I need to branch out, think outside the poem—I might even write a blog.

Dixie Salazar

Dixie Salazar has published five books of poetry: HOTELFRESNO by Blue Moon Press in 1988, REINCARNATION OF THE COMMONPLACE (national poetry award winner) by Salmon Run Press in 1999, BLOOD MYSTERIES by University of Arizona in 2003 and FLAMENCO HIPS AND RED MUD FEET also by University of Arizona in 2010. LIMBO, her novel, was published by White Pine Press in 1995. Her newest collection, ALTAR FOR ESCAPED VOICES was published by Tebot Bach in February of 2013. She hasalso taught extensively in the California prisons and the Fresno County jail. Currently, she is involved as a homeless advocate and shows her art at the Silva/ Salazar studios at 654 Van Ness in Fresno, California.

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7 thoughts on “Guest Post, Dixie Salazar: On Blogs and Blocks

  • August 25, 2013 at 6:28 pm
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    Gosh Dixie, about an hour ago I was perusing your “Reincarnation of the Common Place” as I was rearranging my bookcase, adding some and letting some go. I love your poetry. Made me think of the years I’ve been making greeting cards and how I spent hours each week in the process. Weeks go by before I make one to send a friend. Like you I see some bric a brac or item while out and about and still get that rush of inspiration. Recently, like two weeks ago, I wrote someone that the only books I want to buy now are Poetry. I’m fortunate to have found a poet whom I stumbled upon and feel like I’ve known her all my life. She reminds me of you, whom I’ve known since awakening to the second half of my life. I hope you continue to blog Dixie.

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  • August 28, 2013 at 9:30 pm
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    Reading this post was depressing to read yet almost relatable. As a writer, especially one who loves to song-write and write poetry, I found it heartbreaking to see how you separated from writing poetry considering that you have done it for so long and found so much release through it. In a sense, it’s like you outgrow this form of therapy and are searching for a new way of expressing. There are moments in my writing where I find myself in a hiatus and sometimes they are short or sometimes they are long. I find myself running back to writing the most when I am hurt or emotional. I almost feel as if happy thoughts are difficult to write about. I hope you are able to find your peace again in writing or maybe even in something else. Thanks for sharing your honesty and I look forward to more from you.

    Jasmine Hormes

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    • August 28, 2013 at 10:53 pm
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      Oh dear…I didn’t intend it to be depressing. I was trying to get across the idea that one can have a relationship with poetry much like one with another person, with ups and downs, but you stick it out. And you both change, but the love is still there. I’m still writing, by the way. Thanks for your response.
      Dixie

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  • August 29, 2013 at 11:25 am
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    As someone who has to write on a deadline, I’m not afforded luxuries like time to deal with writer’s block. There are moments of inspiration when I write my critiques, when I’m truly proud of the work I’ve written, but then there are times I just have to vomit out something and hope it’s not complete garbage. Inspiration comes from many sources, and it comes and goes in waves. Perhaps it will return — you can’t count it out completely.

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    • September 2, 2013 at 9:22 am
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      I think every writer feels this way when there is a deadline. The result is usually better, though, than what the writer has experienced during the process.

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  • August 29, 2013 at 10:51 pm
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    I completely agree with you that even though your relationship with your writing may have changed, the love of writing will never go away. :) I started really writing in the 8th grade and I can see how things I thought were acceptable then, in terms of explaining a character or saying these certain words in dialog, don’t really work anymore. Unfortunately, that means I spend the majority of my time just changing things I’ve already written and never continuing on with the story. I need to work on not doing that.

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