“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
The old woman who lives next door is mad.
What’s driving her nuts
are the hungry squirrels
who live beyond her backyard gait.
They eat, and eat, and eat, the precious fruit
that grows on her trees.
They’re vexing her ease
and slowly stealing her reason.
I’ve observed her early unhinged mornings
a rattling rake
“Get out!” Get out!” as if they cared.
I have gaped through the fence and seen her eat
green and unripe
melons so rodents would starve.
In the end it was poison that did them in,
though they kicked and twitched
and put up a fight.
Her garden’s gone still and quiet.
Nowadays she’s seen on her back porch swing
on hot summer days
enjoying her yield
with a smirk on her face, spitting pits.
Calling all poets (and storytellers)… Don’t be shy!!
I’m not much of a DIY person, in fact, I freeze like a deer in headlights at the sight of power tools. Honestly, just the words electric and saw put together make my adrenaline start rushing. Directions for refinishing dressers and patterns for Roman Shades make me want to vomit from anxiety. And painting is something you always, always pay someone else to do. Home projects just aren’t my thing. I’m that “measure a hundred times and cut wrong” person you hear about in urban legends. But today, today was different. Today, I made my very own story board for the book I’m writing for about $20 (including pins)! I know it wasn’t refinishing a dresser, cutting wood, painting or making shades but I’m darn proud of myself. Sofa king proud you might say.
I have semi toyed with/committed to participating in NaNoWriMo but here I am, three days into November and I have nothing written…nothing! Such a slacker. I had a bit of a hairy weekend and that threw me all off my writing game for a couple of days but I’m back on track and, Hell, I’m going to commit right here and now. I will write a novel (albeit a poor novel) in thirty days and this board is going to help me do it! I seem to remember saying the same thing last year. I could really be productive if I could just get out of my own way…
author, E. E. Cummings, Emily Dickinson, first time author, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Lauren Nalls, new author, poetry, Richard Adams, Roald Dahl, Robert Frost, Shel Silverstein, writer, Writers Resources, Writing
My emotional intention for this blog at the moment, is clearly unclear. I aim to make my internal motivation plain before the end of this composition. I will most likely take a rambling path but hopefully will arrive at some insight as I have no real direction to the destination. This is a searching moment for me. Let me see if I can narrow things down a bit for both of us.
I want to write I need to write, I know that much. The external anatomy of my plan is to simply create space for myself to just write, write well, and write often. I need structure and accountability so I will label each day to remind myself of how many days into my journey I am. In the words of Lao-tzu “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and day one was my first.
I have always considered myself a writer, actually I have not ever considered myself anything but a writer, in my heart of hearts. This I know to be my highest authenticity. I have never before followed this path because I let disapproval as a child discourage me. I let solitary despair rob me of my own voice. Criticism caused me to leave my sense of self back on the road in the swirling dust somewhere and I am disappointed it has taken some 30+ years to find myself again (mid-life crisis much?) I’ve lived a life following expectation instead of standing up for my desire, and fire, and dreams. When I was told I should be something other than what I was, I believed it. Every. Damn. Time. So I went under cover and never made it out alive, until now. Somewhere along the line I gave up on everything that was “me” but I am here now to kick resignation in the teeth, shake the shackles off my wrists, and reassert my soul. I always imagined it would feel this amazing to live my truth!
I knew early on that I wasn’t a typical 10-year old young lady. I wasn’t interested in the same things other girls seemed to be interested in. It was difficult and divisive for me and I spent a lot of my time alone. I’ll never forget the time my mom signed me up for softball (*gasp*), I cried every time I had to leave the dugout (and so did my teammates.) The position I played was right field; you know, the one place that the coach hoped nothing would ever be hit to. I still remember a ball coming for me and I covered my head with my glove, turned my back, and crouched down with a shriek of terror. I knew I sucked at being good at things “normal” kids were good at. I had to pretend that playing Barbies and dress-up were thrilling to no end when all I really just wanted to do was dissect frogs in my room; to study them under the microscope I had begged Santa for years to bring me, or read a great novel, or write. I’m pretty sure my parents were worried about me.
I remember most of all as a girl I would write poetry and short stories in my room late at night; the typical under-the-covers-with-a-flashlight-so-I-wouldn’t-get-caught kind. I loved to read the works of Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, E.E. Cummings, Roald Dahl, Shel Silverstein, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Richard Adams, Paul Zindel, and many, many, many, more. My favorite work of all time is Mending Wall by Robert Frost. He doesn’t know it, but he taught me so much about imagery, euphony, cacophony, alliteration, symbolism and assonance. I can fully appreciate now, though I had no idea then, that this mouthful of unwieldy words developed a part of who I am through his work. I still strive for these qualities in my poetry.
Never feeling like I fit in, or was good enough, or talented, has shaped me and carried through into my adult years. I didn’t really find peers that I could discuss my love of literature, art, and poetry with as a child and this holds true for me today. I still find distance between myself and most contemporaries in my immediate life. As a kid, I shut down the things that made me truly happy because I didn’t want anyone to think I was odd. I am now challenging myself to let that all go and follow passion. To be complete. To celebrate weirdness. For these reasons I have reached out across state and country boundaries for the inspiration and the camaraderie of other authors, poets, and artists. I have created this space to begin to express my true talent and love and joy and desire. My voice is slowly coming out of hiding and showing itself. I’m tired of dying inside damn it! Like my work if you do, don’t like it if you don’t, but life is too short for me to wait any longer. My voice will never again be secret. Comments and constructive criticism are always appreciated and I am really enjoying reading your blogs; we inspire one another! I am so excited to connect with a community of people who share my favorite things. I think I will have Einstein’s quote tattooed onto my wrist. I guess we figured out why I am here eh? Peace.
The wound has since crusted over but I still remember it like it was yesterday. I was taking a college writing course and our assignment was to write a poem about current events in our lives. It was right before the holidays so I was immersed in baking, buying, and wrapping and that “inspired” me to dash off a stupid poem about the hustle and bustle of baking, buying, and wrapping (I know, meaningful right?) It wasn’t my best work. Heck, it might have even been my worst work. When I got my paper back there was no grade on it at all. At the top of the paper was simply one big, fat, phrase written in red ink and underlined several times for emphasis: “Who Cares?“ My heart fell when I read it; I was crushed. Up until that moment, the idealistic I-can-do-anything young writer in me had been thinking I might actually have some skillz. I certainly got smacked down a few hundred notches. I took it really hard. I was too embarrassed to even ask what my actual grade was and I left that day with my tail tucked securely between my legs like a cub cuffed by her patriarch. I went home to my cruddy one bedroom apartment to lick my wounds, raging about my mean and unjust crotchety professor. Between the curse words and the tears I started to think; what if he’s right? Would E.E. Cummings care about this drivel? Would Robert Frost or Emily Dickinson or Poe want to read it? Who would care? My answer was clear; virtually nobody-probably not even my own mother. This experience, while harsh, has stayed with me until this day whenever I write and although his delivery mostly sucked eggs, his message was unmistakable; look for my audience and write for them. Who will care about what I am saying? Say it to them. What will they care about? What should be included? What will they want to know? Who will they fall in love with? Who will they despise? And on…and on…and on… There was also an underlying but no less important note about quality. He was telling me in not so many words that I needed to keep my crappy un-thought-out puff pieces to myself and only release my best out into the world. My reputation would stand upon it. I will never forget this professor (although I have blotted his name from memory) for giving me this harsh criticism. From now on I will know my audience and they will know my character. I am eternally grateful for the two red, cold words he impressed upon me that day. Sometimes a blessing comes in a cold, spiky, disguise and I wish I could go back and give old Prickle Puss a big hug for shaking me awake.
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