Sunday, February 27, 2005


So…I did it, I did it, I did it!

I sent two poems to an online poetry journal. First time ever other than college publications. Ack now. Nothing profound but fear and anxiety. But I did it! I want to doubt that they or one will be accepted, and they probably won't be accepted, I fully understand that, but ...I want at least one to be accepted, and I did it!!

Still in the squee, god I can’t believe I did it! stage, so please bear with me. I am sure it will pass shortly, and then I will be in the oh my god, what did I do? stage. I have no idea what the formal stages are, and I guess I will find out in the coming days. But I did it.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Brave words

I have been thinking about the brave poet. How they choose to offer it to us, how hard that must be sometimes. I wrote a poem the other day. With just a change of one word, I captured exactly what I want to say. But I am not brave enough to keep that word. That word releases meanings I didn’t even know were there and surprised me fully when I used that word. And it was just a little word too. The power of the word realized.

So here I sit at 6:47 (yes, that is the time) in the morning and ponder my bravery. When a poem speaks to more than just the words on my page. Because by acknowledging that word, that notion, I, well ...I am still sitting here.

The story has moved along this week. I am approaching a blank place, that hasn’t been developed yet. I see it coming. It is big in its hollowness. Luckily, I will see the woman who gave me the idea for this story next week and I can pick her brain. She doesn’t know she was the one who offered this idea to me. She was just talking about her hometown and the characters that live there. Small town life!! Never boring apparently. So maybe I can use our conversation to fill in this hole, the approaching hole. If she only knew! I don’t know if I am brave enough to tell her. We shall see.


Then a wind blew;
And he who had forgot he moved
Lonely amid the green and silver morning weather,
Suddenly grew
Aware of clouds and trees
Gleaming and white and shafted, shaken together
And blown to music by the ruffling breeze.

Like flush of wings
The moment passed: he stood
Dazzled with blossom in the swaying wood;
Then he remembered how, through all swift things,
This mortal scene stands built of memories,—
Shaped by the wise
Who gazed in breathing wonderment,
And left us their brave eyes
To light the ways they went.

Siegfried Sassoon

I liked this one very much. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Good 45 minutes today. Sitting in the dark writing. One scene that I have been concerned about came to me. Yeah. I wrote it with pen (yes I know, an anomaly) in hand and will type up tonight.


To reason most absurd

The other day I reread a story I wrote last year. I was struck by the similarity of some of the themes that I seem to be pursuing in the story I am writing now. I have been wondering if this is something that writers do, pursue the same themes over and over again. Perhaps as a way to figure stuff out, deal with stuff sub/unconsciously. I don't know, but I was surprised. I guess that life knocks you on the head as it goes on; so learning to wield and adjust takes time.

I really do have someone get conked on the head in my story. And actually there are two more characters that will die by paint can conking!! I think I am having too much fun planning this out. There is an undercurrent of the absurd in life I truly believe that if written in a novel, would be implausible. There is a meme going around LJ right now that has you list 10 things you have done. Some of these are so outrageous but true. I am tempted to cut and paste them all for future events in future stories. Good stuff. But the truth of the absurd is what makes life, stories, interesting. I think also that the ordinary nature of my main character, he is just a guy, allows for this absurdity to come to fruition. I don't know what normal is. That would be boring anyway. Maybe. Still working on deciding that one.

So mostly now, I am not stalled, but slowed, a more apt description while I cut and slash. I want to condense the words. I want to tighten them. This has been what I have been doing most recently. Because by tightening, the story flows and that will allow me to really tell it. I have also been trying to decide what will come next. The act has happened. Now the dealing. I haven't decided yet what form that will take. I want to be true to the character, I really do want him to do what he would. But as I am getting to know him (it does feel like that) I want him to allow me to tell this story. His world is getting more complex, he never asked for it, and as his world widens, so does the landscape of the story. Literally. I started with him isolated and alone on his farm, now he is reaching out. Decisions he has made, and now the consequences, unintended and intended. That is where the fun lays.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The finding and the telling

WB Yeats

The Pity of Love

A pity beyond all telling
Is hid in the heart of love:
The folk who are buying and selling,
The clouds on their journey above,
The cold wet winds ever blowing,
And the shadowy hazel grove
Where mouse-grey waters are flowing,
Threaten the head that I love.

I didn't know this poem when I used the phrase beyond the telling. Wow moment here now.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Because Shakespeare said says it best.


I am thinking of sending a poem out. I am still so new to all of this that I am not sure if it is complete yet, or appropriate, or if I should have the gall. Yes, gall, cheeky me. I wrote this poem in a flash one afternoon but it clicked. This clickiness is what makes me think I should. But neuroses aside, bravery and gall and canon and filled bookshelves teeming with reasons I should not, I still am considering. I don’t want this to become one of those writer’s blogs who fill pages and pages with dread filled worries and trials. And despite the name of this blog, dread is not woe. I write because I like to, want to, find myself in the pages of notes I make. On the one hand, publication is a time stamp of acceptance, but I am not sure I need that. But maybe. Gall.

Our living room is the library. We call it that, because we have put almost all of our books there. Adequate furniture but filled with many books and their shelves. They warm the room, insulate the room, and add colour to the “living” room. Lots of dead guys (and girls) whose words warm our lives. So every time I walk in there, browse, dust, choose, gape, and straighten, I am faced with that. Same reason I used to work in libraries. The warmth of the gift. Choosing friends in which to spend time. Ever since I was a child, books, absorbing the warmth of my hands have warmed me. Challenged me. Comforted me. Taught me. Teased and tickled.

But the difference I realize now is the amount of effort that is necessary. Recently read advice: read 50 poems for every one you write. It really is a matter of supremely hard work. And that is where I am now. Recognizing the length and breadth of this endeavor, but still considering it. So editing is becoming my friend. Slash and burn and edit and repeat. Perhaps a new recipe for my writing. I like cooking! But that is another room! There are books there too! There is no escape!!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Ted Kooser, Poet Laureate, recitations and remembrances

Eyes wide open during quilting of words: images from last night.

I saw Ted Kooser read poetry last night, I listened and I felt. He talked about “the bee song of the book” and discussed characters he met in his poetry who “looked like someone who had to be reckoned with”. He talked of times where “shuffling magazines grow still” when he heard he had cancer. One of his poems called Lobocraspis griseifusa he wrote because no poet (no poet) could pass up the image of a moth that lives on tears!!! This moth can live on tears! He talked about that which is beyond the edges of his poems.

But the best thing he said when asked about the purpose of poetry (as if it needs a purpose, a lawyer was asking the question) was that

poetry can lift life.

That is so profound to me. And truthful. He takes the ordinary and makes it poetry. It already is, IMO, but he uses words to sculpt the extraordinary from these mere things. Bowls of buttons “an ocean upon which generations of women set forth”. He talked about his mother’s death, the reader, the ordinary reader. He talked about those who write poetry that the ordinary reader could not understand. He talked about a writer finding an audience, finding the right audience. He talked about spreading the joy of poetry to all, his mission as laureate. He will have a newspaper column that will be starting in a few weeks where he will print a poem and discuss it.

There really is poetry for everyone. You just need to try out different poets and see what fits, like a comfy housecoat that wraps you in its warmth. My image anyway. I want my poetry to touch me, to enlighten me to an image that changes how I view the world. I apparently have high expectations for poetry. Stuff that changes my world. And when I find a poet that does this to me and for me, it is a gift beyond the telling. A phrase maybe, something that touches. That is all we got I say!! Connection and the art of the word. The word as tool to touch each other’s spirits and souls. And when our lives are lifted this way, we are more human and more alive. Like I say, I have great expectations for my poetry. Last night, my life was lifted a little. That is a tremendous gift.

Friday, February 04, 2005

UPS delivery muse absolved


From Cambridge Dictionary – Definition absolve [Show phonetics] verb [T] FORMAL
(especially in religion or law) to free someone from guilt, blame or responsibility for something:
The report absolved her from/of all blame for the accident.
The priest absolved him (of all his sins).

absolution [Show phonetics]noun [U] FORMAL
official forgiveness, especially in the Christian religion, for something bad that someone has done or thought:
She was granted/given absolution.

From (because they are so full of gall too) absolve verb absolved, absolving
1. To release them or pronounce them free from a promise, duty, blame, etc.
Thesaurus: forgive, acquit, pardon, clear, vindicate, exempt, exonerate, excuse, redeem, release, set free, liberate, let off; Antonym: convict.
Form: absolve someone from something (usually)
Form: absolve someone of something
2. Said of a priest: to forgive someone formally for the sins they have committed.
Etymology: 16c: from Latin absolvere to loosen.
When I chose this word, I was not completely aware of the guilt facet. I chose it more for the liberating tone rather than the shame filled guilty aspect.

Interesting selection it seems. But that is what I might be trying to do here. Behind every shame is a moment of liberation. A moment of flinging to the wind and a carefree toss to the future. I like wind metaphors. And I really do need to look to the future some days. Cleansing breezes that bring change and novel views.

I have been imagining my main character. He has brownish golden curly hair, loose curls, not long, but long enough to have curls, with hints of red when the light shines just so. Not particularly tall, not particularly good looking but resolute. His resoluteness doesn’t really show on his face (with a strong jaw, or chin) because he is resolute enough not to have to brag about it. He is not particularly shamed or embarrassed by his not so presentable past; it is just what it is. He is decisive when he needs to be but mostly laid back enough not to worry about it. He doesn’t wear hats of any sort, partly due to curl reasons, but most do to the confining nature of hats. His wardrobe is small, worn and comfortable. He sees no reason to “put on the dog”. He is fit, but not a working out sort. His fitness comes from his lifestyle rather than making his lifestyle fitness. Lean but not thin, enough musculature to do his job. He tends to be quiet but clearly makes his thoughts known to those that need to hear. He wastes time with fools but wishes he didn’t. He doesn’t like that about himself. He finds the quiet of animals compelling and attractive, and often prefers their company to people. He likes to hear the quiet sounds loudly, and will sit and wait for them for hours. People think he is loitering but he is just waiting. He waits well.

I am amazed at how clearly I feel this character. What this reveals about me is for you all to decide. I can’t tell. What other people think of me is none of my business. I have always liked that quote. The other characters are coming along too; their back-story seems to arrive first to me, and then features. UPSian musing deliveries and then I get to open my surprise inside. Don’t know why that happens either. Does their story form them I wonder? Probably.

So now I am off to bake a cake. More mixing and recipe-ing words. Chocolatey goodness and motivation. That always works.