From my skin

I would like to get out of my skin skin yours out of mine It’s so tight tight so it is You see the narrow edges edges narrow, they see yoU-
Printed on my soul

: soulprinted I have no shortage, I do not have dreams

dreams I have not yours

Your shortage no have I
It’s just that – that just it

My skin is too tight


I would like to get out of my skin

skin my of out get to like would I

like a bucket that overflows

overflows that bucket a like

small rays

rays small
space space

more air

air more

informed informed

Really, I will not miss anything anything miss not will you, reallY

Really, I do not have dreams dreams have not you I reallY I would like to do it – it do to – like would you

for an instant -instant an for
I want to burst through my skin skin through your burst

Today brought the most annoying prompt EVER! It was called breaking the rules, and that a lot harder than it sounds. Every mathematician knows that true randomness is really hard to provide.  Before you know it, there’s a pattern. Breaking the rules was a discovery rich exercise.

I’ve been breaking a number of rules ever since I wrote my first poem – in English. I’m Dutch you see, and if there’s one thing I didn’t believe in it was writing poetry in a foreign language you don’t master completely.

NaPoWriMo has invited much breaking of my rules, in different was, just by providing prompts and inviting me to step out of my comfort zone. So I thought breaking the rules might be ‘too easy’.  Turned out it wasn’t at all.

You don’t even know what rules you have, until you try to break them – which is probably why the inspirator for the prompt, Alice Notley, started doing it. Or at least one of her reasons.

Some of my rules I discovered

  1. The poem has to make sense to me, one way or another. Silly, scary, serious, sexy… there’s much that’s okay. But total nonsense? Nooooo…….
  2. No different lay-out for the sake of being different, it has to serve a purpose. There’s a part of me that believes that playing too much with the lay-out is either a burden on the reader, or a way to veil a lack of writing skills, or both.
  3. The reader has to be able to understand what I’ve created, one way or another. Otherwise: what’s the use?
  4. I may not be boring. Chuckle, that closed a lot of roads down.
  5. I have to like what I put online, one way or another. I’ve tried to break this one, but I admit working on this poem until I liked it enough. Ironically, the criteria to decide on that were that I broke The Rules enough (the prompt), I broke My Own Rules enough (otherwise I’d still have felt off prompt), and I dislike this one enough to have broken rule #5 (which in the end means I’m sticking to a rule -> the prompt. Arghhh!!!! I’ve broken my brain enough now, I’ll stop here..

One thing I realised straight away is that these are MY hangups, and other people will have their own individual sets of rules and taboos. I would love to get more insights in those (yours). We each create or own barriers. All of us get stuck on writing in our own ways. I think that’s fascinating 🙂

Not even a real painting yet

19 thoughts on “From my skin

    1. Angela van Son Post author

      It was really interesting to notice that the poem actually changed by changing the form. Even for me, the writer. I really appreciate your feedback, thank you!

  1. Smitha V

    Its difficult breaking rules when one’s told to. But you’ve done exceptionally well Angela and I just learnt how to break them from you😊

  2. Pingback: Day Twenty-One

    1. Angela van Son Post author

      I was quite surprised! And grateful. And uncomfortable 🙂 It makes me even happier to have received your responses, it makes it easier to believe that it’s not a lucky mistake (my inner critic would be having a ball!)

      1. Smitha V

        Its definitely not. Sometimes I do wonder how the featured participants are chosen and then I think maybe I dont understand because its too high for me😊. But in your case I totally agree. My comment on your poem came before theirs and I took the credit😀 that I do understand😊 how they choose.

  3. Angela van Son Post author

    And then this poem got featured on… which added another layer. I think my comment on their page can best be added here, because they are part of the same process:

    “Yesterday I worked really hard on what for me was the hardest prompt so far. When I opened my e-mail when I was awake way too early but couldn’t sleep anymore, I found a pingback from something called Day 21. Still drowsy, I wondered who that could be, and why they had linked up to my poem. It came as quite a surprise when I realised my hardest-prompt-poem had made it to being featured!

    It’s been an interesting ending of quite a process. I was happy to be featured (such an honour) but also felt some dread in sharing that on my social media. Not out of modesty, but out of embarrassment… So I’ve learned something. Yesterday I was doubting if I was breaking the rules/my rules enough. Today, that feeling of embarrassment showed me that I HAVE broken my rules ‘enough’. I was afraid to be seen as pretentious, pompous, a poseur, etc.

    Even writing this feels stupid, because I know some of you honestly love the poem and I feel as if I’m letting you down, am being a bummer, or something like that – I can’t find the right words. – As if there’s something wrong with being insecure about your own work, or maybe not even liking it that much.

    I’m sharing this because the writing process was really interesting, and a bit confronting. Little did I know that a day later another interesting (and certainly confronting) process would follow 🙂

    I’m grateful for the experience! All us experience discomfort: when we write, when we hit ‘publish’, when we receive comments, or don’t receive comments… It’s all part of that wonderful game called poetry. We’re growing with every discomfort that we conquer.

    I love that we support each other, and help each other feel more comfortable with what we offer to the world. #NaPoWriMo is kind of magical. We make it magical together, but it starts, every day, with the tone of voice of this website (so lovely positive, and creating interest in people’s work) and the prompts provided. Backed up with interesting links.

    I think it’s safe to say that #NaPoWriMo changes lives. So thank you (I’m sure I’ve read your real namesomewhere but I forgot, sorry!) for all the work you do. I know it’s not the last day yet, but for me this is the perfect day to express my huge gratitude.”

  4. Pingback: NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 21 | awritersfountain

  5. Pingback: NaPoWriMo / GloPoWriMo 2018 – Day 20 – “The Confidence To Rebel Against Yourself” by David Ellis | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s