M. L E N O I R B O N D
p r o c e s s n o t e s
Overall, I’m a big fan of the advice that was essentially pounded into me during my undergrad and graduate studies in Creative Writing, which basically boiled down to: read, write, edit, repeat. Stephen King has famously said, “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write” and I think that’s about as straightforward and true as it gets.
For these particular poems, I was specifically using Marvin Bell’s famous Scroll process, where the emphasis is on just getting words on the page in an almost diary- or journal-like manner. Every day, ideally, you simply jot down the date and you write, without any particular agenda, rules, or restrictive guidelines. You can write ideas, conversations, abstract concepts, mantras, observations—whatever comes to mind—you just write. There’s no obsessing over a word count, form, structure, or putting things into any precise order—you just get the words down, in one long consecutive scroll, separated only by dates (and perhaps times of day). And then, later, you can move lines around, add specifics, refine the musicality, edit redundancies, etc. The Scroll offers a real sense of freedom and these poems started with that. Sometimes, my Scroll poems come out as poems from the get-go, but most often, they are later largely reworked.
One of these poems is directly influenced by my recent completion of a one-year certification in Holistic Healing/Herbalism. We spent time not just memorizing herbal actions and remedies, but also studying botany and human anatomy, as well as observing/documenting individual plants’ seasonal changes. Additionally, I’ve enjoyed studying traditional Celtic plant medicine and plant magick folklore since I was a teenager, and so, quite unintentionally, I often merge my writing with my love of botanical delights and organic gardening. I also spend a lot of time researching my various ancestries and the indigenous plants of the places where my people come from and what those plants have meant to those countries spiritually and medicinally.
The poem about the teacups is something I would rather leave a mystery so that its interpretation may be left completely up to the reader. It’s funny how many songs have been nearly ruined for fans once the individual’s interpretation is discovered to be far more meaningful than the literal intent behind the songwriter’s lyrics. I will say, however, the inspiration behind this poem is very layered, and I hope that what the reader takes away from it is diverse in sensory stimulations, as well as an emotional (and hopefully humorous) experience or connection.