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Constructing the Novel

·987 words·5 mins·
poem-swap 2022
Jerry S
Jerry S
Table of Contents

Constructing the Novel (English)

Words are the footsteps of the mind
One footstep at a time to explore known and unknown lands

One word at a time to explore dreams and ideas
One feeling at a time to draw the shape of my heart

What’s left after the words have long been said?
What’s left after the feelings have long since faded?
A wish.

Micheltorena Heart Stairs. A nice photo to accompany the idea of progressing one footstep at a time.

Construyendo lo Novedoso (Spanish)

Below is a Spanish translation of the poem. It does its best to reflect the original, though in some places it does a better job of saying the same thing.

Las palabras son los pasos de la mente
Paso por paso para explorar tierras conocidas y desconocidas

Palabra y vocablo para vislumbrar los sueños y las ideas
Sentimiento y emoción para contornar los límites de mi corazón

¿Qué sobra en el silencio eterno de lo ya dicho?
¿Que sobra de las palpitaciones que estremecieron antaño?
Un deseo.

Inspiration Revealed

My muses inspire me when I write.

Your muses inspire you when you read.

Below I choose to disclose the inspirations and interpretations of my own poems.

Maybe our muses told us some of the same things. Read on below if you really want to find out.


When I was growing up I always considered myself to be a quiet person and in general others would think the same of me. Now, however, as I’ve gotten older and filled mind and body with more experience I tend to have more to say. Yet, I still feel as if I say less than others. Why? I have now concocted an answer of sorts. If there is no point to what I’m going to say I tend to have a natural inclination to not say it. I have grown out of this natural tendency and I hope it’s not too late because there is certainly a great deal to be said for being able to say things that don’t immediately have anything to do with what was said before.

When you meet up with someone it’s pretty easy to tell how far apart you physically stand from someone. Why? Well, the answer is obvious. The physical realm is easy to observe in this case and we can see how close or far apart someone is from someone else. Two people in a big park standing next to each other are likely to be interacting with each other, as friends or otherwise. If they begin to move away from each other, one can be pretty certain they are no longer interacting with each other in the same way as when they were closer.

That’s easy enough in the physical realm, but what about the realms of the mind and heart. They’re not readily visible and the poem is about how we “move” within them and locate where exactly we are and where others are as well. After all, if I say at a random time during a conversation, “oh, by the way, I dislike people that believe dogs are better than cats” and the other person belongs to the Canine religion, we’ve now begun to establish how far we might be from each other with regards to cats and dogs. Whether it’s important to either of us is a different topic.

When I was writing the poem I was also going through emotional turmoil and that prompted the feeling related portion. Imagine I’m approached by someone and asked “How would it feel to be abducted by aliens?”. We can all very well agree it would likely be awful unless these aliens defy all our cultural preconceptions and actually turn out to be friendly as hell. Until it actually happens the exact specifics of how awful it would be remain out of reach. This is not the best way to explain it. Maybe this next example is better.

If I’m asked by someone I’m seeing, “would you be hurt if I break up with you?” I would likely answer, “yes of course” in a calm way. I’m sure I would spiral as I begin to imagine breakup scenarios and I’d be doubting all my actions up to that point, but if the breakup never actually comes all that worry would have been for nothing.

Even if it did happen and we broke up, the worry would still have been for nothing because I understand myself well enough now that I know I’m not fully incapable of divining exactly how I’ll feel in some imaginary scenarios. Getting within the same ballpark is not impossible but I never really know.

And that brings me to the last few 4 lines. Hopefully long after a conversation has taken place, its participants can leave with an understanding of each other. If I walk into a pharmacy and am looking for a birthday card for my friend that likes dogs, I’ll buy a card with a dog on it based on that understanding. Though we are not together physically I know where they stand in relation to that idea because we have spoken about it.

As I made my way through the emotional turmoil and the feelings began to fade into the past what remained was a desire to do better next time.

One last comment on the title. How do we make a leap to something novel? We jump from what we know, all the existing things that have been expressed and combine them together in a jumbly way. Given some time we can poof a wonderful novelty out into the world.

I think it’s appropriate this be the first of many poems I hope to publish here. Though the poem itself is not long it captures the spirit I try to communicate with, that is the spirit of understanding and connection through conversation.