Write2Day–Writing from the Dark Place


Shadows in the late afternoon.

Image via Wikipedia

As the winter solstice approaches–here in the Northern Hemisphere, our thoughts turn to long, dark nights and, often, gloomy days. Winter is a time for introspection in many spiritual traditions, and the body itself calls us to go within.

Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, calls attention to the various aspects of the human personality, contrasting that part of us we show to the world (even the world of bloggers, perhaps) with that aspect that we’ve so conveniently shoved into the unconscious: our shadow side. As we mature, an important developmental task is to integrate these two parts of us, to face those things that we would just as soon forget about, to work toward balance and to learn to tap into the darker energy, harness it and allow it to touch our creative selves. It is in the unconscious that our creativity thrives and it behooves us to unleash that energy by naming it.

Beauty and light are, no doubt, important attributes of poetry and poetic prose. But think about photography. If a scene is over-exposed, flooded with light, lacking shadow, it is uni-dimensional, flat, boring. It is the contrast that calls attention to the light.

Some of our best known, loved poets grappled with depression, addiction and similar disorders. Think of Sylvia Plath, Ann Sexton and Jane Kenyon to name of few of them. This doesn’t mean that, to write good poetry, we need to wallow in angst. Rather, it means that we need to be willing to open our eyes and SEE what is before us in all its complexity. The majesty of a soaring hawk contrasts with its predation of a tiny wren. Both are part of a hawk’s reality.

For today’s prompt, I invite you to go dark. Deal with a topic you would rather ignore, whether in society, in a particular cultural setting, or within yourself. Do not ask yourself, as you write, “What will ‘they’ think of me?” Don’t try to write to please or be accepted. Go ahead. Dive into to the dark, murky waters of the unconscious and allow that shadow side to emerge.

To join: write your poem, copy and paste to Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post, read other participants and have fun…sorry this is late. My automatic scheduling skills are deficient.

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16 thoughts on “Write2Day–Writing from the Dark Place

  1. Bodhirose says:

    Here’s one little sliver of my dark side–there are many lurking under my sweet surface!
    http://bodhirose.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/social-anxiety/

  2. [...] My entry for Write2Day–Writing from the Dark Place:  http://liv2write2day.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/write2day-writing-from-the-dark-place/ [...]

  3. Oooh. This is tempting… I hope I have time to wallow in this one.

  4. I’m posting an older poem, too. This week is a bit overwhelming and time is closing in on me. I do have an idea milling around in my head, though, for a new poem in response to this.

  5. Shared one called Hanging by a Thread. I have touched that “darker” side a few times during the past couple of years, a side I didn’t know existed until losing my job after 18 years. I felt like I lost my identity and was in a state of “mourning.” If nothing else, it has added a different dimension to my writing. Thanks for inviting us to share this side of ourselves. Without the ‘dark,’ how could we celebrate, appreciate, and revel in the ‘light!’

  6. ManicDdaily says:

    Thinking further about this–I know about depression (ha!) The D inbetween Manic and Daily–but it’s much easier to publish really dark poems in book form somehow than on a blog. People really do take blogged poems as very personal statements, when, of course, there may be a highly dramatic element, or they may have incubated a long time. You know how it is.

    I find these issues of blogging and openness particularly difficult as I am a practicing attorney! Should take the Fifth way more than I do. K.

    • I agree when you are in a public career such as yours, discretion is important when choosing what to post. I’ve written some really dark poems that are purely fiction and get all kinds of sympathetic responses. Perhaps disclaimers are called for. :0)

  7. siggiofmaine says:

    It will take me a bit, but I’ll be here…have been thinking that I should be more cheerful this time of year…but have something wandering around the gray matter that is darkish. Your timing is wonderful.
    Peace,
    Siggi in Downeast Maien

  8. ManicDdaily says:

    Hi Victoria! I’ve posted so many dark poems lately that I’ve put in an older poem, and one that deals with shadowed places, but may be for its characters more than me as writer. I don’t know. Hope you are well! K.

  9. jmgoyder says:

    I’m tempted to take up your suggestion but having just come out of a rather dark place I don’t want to go back there for awhile!

  10. tinkwelborn says:

    Okay, I’ll jump in. Mine’s on Death/Dying.
    ”The Darkest Hour” http://wp.me/p102ON-aV

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