I came across this in The Writing Circle by Corinne Demas:
Here the great blue heron lifted off into the sky, pumping its huge wings until the air received it, let it glide. It was her bird, her muse. It did not appear in all her poems, but it was often what got them going. It got one going now. The images swarmed in her mind mixed with words, some evaporating before she could get a fix on them, others growing firmer, larger. For no reason whatsoever the word avuncular came to the foreground. “Avuncular,” she said aloud, and she smiled. It wasn’t a word that would take her anyplace. She let it go, and the word that took its place in her mind was still, with its double meaning. Triple meaning, actually, though she had no use for it as a noun. It was a word worth playing with; she needed to sit down with a pen in hand.
Of course this character turns out to be philandering, self-absorbed and lacking in any moral compass; by the end of the book, [SPOILER] she has destroyed everyone around her. It reminded me of the crazy poet mother in White Oleander. I wonder if there are more crazy, destructive poet-personalities in modern literature than crazy novelists, painters, and potters? Do they just stand out for me because I’m sensitized?
I do love this description of the creative process though. Especially how she rejects the first word that floats to the surface. I frankly don’t know what I’d do with “avuncular” either.*
I’ve never used a single word as the seed of a poem. It takes at least a phrase; the sound of the syntax is what piques my interest.
*Writing a poem with the word “avuncular”
Doesn’t sound like all that much fun-cular