Empire of Panels

I often follow my obsessions. I’ll get into a mood where all I want to do is play video games, and then I’ll abandon it for weeks, maybe months. If it’s a particularly good game I may finish it and keep thinking about it, the music, the characters. Other times I want to watch film after film.

Consuming other media is a respite from writing and editing, yes, but it’s also an integral part of it. Right now my mind craves a good comic or graphic novel. They teach me about velocity in story-telling, what to include, what to leave out. There are so many intentional choices made about framing and pacing, about timing. I unintentionally but gratefully apply it to my work. “If this poem were a comic,” I ask myself, “which ‘panels’ would I cut? What would I focus on?”

There are moments I worry I’m not reading enough poetry, or ignoring too often my own work. But of course, all this consuming is part of creation. The comics, the games, the movies, all teachers in their own way. The mind, like the heart (as Emily Dickinson would say), wants what it wants or else it does not care. I know eventually it’ll care for what I care about, and all the lessons I learned from other artists, writers, directors will be there to inform me in their irreplaceable ways.

Photo by Erik Mclean on Pexels.com

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