Thursday, December 02, 2010

Pillow Book 5: Breakfast Kraut

What cereals would be called if they had sauerkraut in them:

1.  Krautios
2.  Kraut Loops
3.  Kraut Jacks
4.  Kraut Pops
5.  Kraut Krispies
6.  Kraut Crunch
7.  Cap'n Kraut
8.  Frosted Mini Kraut
9.  Frosted Kraut
10.  Shreaded Kraut
11.  Kraut Nuts
12.  Honey Bunches of Kraut
13.  Special K

Pillow Book 4: Lexicon of Rattle

Words from poems in the most recent edition of Rattle, a poetry magazine:

1.  dog
2.  bird
3.  bone
4.  smoke
5.  heart
6.  shit (more than once); (also: cat poop); (also:  pee)
7.  living
8.  gophers
9.  fish (way more than once)
10.  bear
11.  roots
12.  veins
13.  world (more than once); (also:  earth)
14.  breast feeding
15.  sleep
16.  dead man
17.  beauties of ruin
18.  love
19.  goats
20.  Theseus walking threadless into a maze
21.  fork
22.  rabbit carcasses (also:  cadaver dog)
23.  artichokes
24.  father
25.  mouth
26.  hands
27.  shoes (more than once)
28.  brick
29.  sun
30.  children
31.  woman
32.  surrender
33.  house (more than once) (also:  home)
34.  time
35.  egg
36.  sex
37.  cigars
38.  hell
39.  honey
40.  heat
41.  teacher
42.  poem (more than once)
43.  bodies (also:  body)  (more than once)
44.  sky
45.  hair (more than once)
46.  girls (also:  boy or boys)
47.  deranged
48.  hatmakers
49.  limbs
50.  door
51.  darkness
52.  beating
53.  return
54.  eyes
55.  song (also:  music)
56.  deaf
57.  tomorrow
58.  bathroom
59.  table
60.  squirrels (more than once)
61.  stroke
62.  morning
63.  umbrella
64.  gloves
65.  sand
66.  ice
67.  snow
68.  me  (way more than once); (also:  I)
69.  give
70.  dream
71.  future
72.  eyelid
73.  veil
74.  terrified
75.  dust
76.  deer
77.  afterlife
78.  tea
79.  blackberries
80.  cats
81.  hammer
82.  rocks
83.  cabinent
84.  envelope
85.  phone (more than once

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Pillow Book 3: Warm Things

1.  summer stones and shells
2.  compliments (real ones)
3.  puppies and babies
4.  an unexpected kindness (as when the young woman offers the emaciated Buddha the rice porridge or when the theater troupe offers wild strawberries and milk to the beleaguered Knight in Bergman's The Seventh Seal)
5.  shoulder blades, when touched with my cold hand
6.  cooing of mourning doves
7.  color of a hoodoo or mesa
8.  a William Stafford poem
9.  berries just off the bush
10.  coffee, too long ago poured

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pillow Book 2: Gross Things

1.  hair in food
2.  when somebody spits mucus inside buildings (once I found it on the steps in University Hall)
3.  when the dog throws up
4.  when somebody spills a whole dairy drink inside the elevator or smears boogers on the doors of the elevator (yes, I saw this in East Hall.  Recently.)
5.  when somebody talks on the phone when they're using the bathroom (sometimes I hear them doing this in public bathrooms).  when somebody doesn't wash their hands after using the bathroom.
6.  when somebody doesn't flush the toilet
7.  food fights
8.  anything with Crisco shortening in it
9.  the sound our dog (Buddha) makes when he licks himself
10.  storebought bread with all the preservatives in it (like Wonder Bread, etc.).  Also those storebought English muffins which never go bad because they are full of preservatives.
11.  When leftovers go bad in the refrigerator. 
12.  Using spit to clean things

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pillow Book 1: Things to Look Forward to

Here's a good one for everybody who loves lists.  I've wanted to do a Pillow Book for some time.  Sei Shonagon's Pillow Book is described as "a collection of lists, gossip, poetry, observations, complaints and anyting else she found of interest during her years in court."  I have a copy of Shonagon's book floating around my house somewhere.  I need to find it.  I remember what I liked most were her lists.  Another name for this kind of book is a Zuihitsu.  I've ordered a Zuihitsu called Hōjōki


I like lists (particularly poetic lists) but find them a little difficult to do, so I think it will be a good excercize for me.  I want to generate at least five things each time.  I can also go back and add things as I think of them.  My first topic:

THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO

1.  Allen in the truck, waiting to take me home from work
2.  The first snow
3.  Settling into a hot bath
4.  Toads' songs, spring
5.  Return of buzzards to Ohio, spring
6.  Pączki

Here's a partial list from Shonagon's book that I found online.  I especially like the last one.

[From a list of "things that give you pleasure":]


  • You've read the first volume of a tale you hadn't come across before, and are longing to go on with it --- then you find the other volume. The rest of it can sometimes turn out to be disappointing, however....
  • It's also wonderfully pleasing when you're in a large company of people in the presence of someone great, and she's talking, either about something in the past or on a matter she's only just heard about, some topic of the moment, and as she speaks, it's you she singles out to look at.....
  • When a poem that you've composed for some event, or in a exchange of poems, is talked of by everyone and noted down when they hear it. This hasn't happened to me personally, but I can imagine how it would feel....
  • When someone you don't like meets with some misfortune, you're pleased even though you know this is wicked of you.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Haiku #385

yellow cat
walking tenderly
over the briars

Haiku #384

two lazy flies
loop-the-loop
Thanksgiving day

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Strange Hotel

This post is part of an ongoing effort to make sense of my dreams:

I was in a strange city, staying in a beautiful hotel.  My room was beautiful, but suddenly I had two roommates.  They were young women, and talkative.  I left the room to get some peace.  I went outside.  My husband and youngest son, Brian were there.  Brian was about twelve.  We all decided to go for a walk to a playground.  The playground was down a long gravel road.  We stopped short because we saw a baby crocodile walking up the road.  There was another animal in the bushes, very large.  In the dream we called it a badger, but I don't know what it was.  To the right were homes, and I heard a mother calling a young child.  I thought, what a dangerous place for children. 

The part that I left out:  When I first entered the room, there was a beautiful young African-American woman on my bed.  She was masturbating.  I shouldn't have left this part out, because I think it says something about vitality.  I was talking about vitality in one of my classes that day.  And, symbolically, sex is vitality. 

Also, I had shown The Power of Myth to my Imaginative Writing class.  Afterwards, my friend Sally and I had talked about mothering by example, showing children how to be compassionate in a world that is sometimes dangerous and cruel.  Sally and I had also talked about vitality.  About participating fully in the world, as Joseph Campbell discusses in Power of Myth. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Haiku #383

a late snack
rattle
of an evening train

Friday, October 22, 2010

Haiku #382

a still night
the mouse trap rattles
then doesn't

Haiku #381

his illness
her beloved flower beds
gone to weeds

Haiku #380

hunger
a cat meets me
after my long day at work

Haiku #379

not good as the last one
a slice of pie
after a bad day

Haiku #378

shutting a book
a pause
before turning out the light

Haiku #377

not yet too cold
brown field
a buzzard soars

Haiku #376

full moon and rabbits
late night trip to the woodpile
the dog comes along

Haiku #375

October 21
the strangeness
of leaves still green

Haiku #374

autumn wind--
in the waving of the grass
my whole life

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Haiku #373

we hurry home
to drink it warm
first jug of cider

Monday, October 11, 2010

Haiku #372

a day at the lake
all the long way home 
smell of wet dog

Haiku #371

lake's edge
a rotting fish
we carry the chairs further

Haiku #370

tense situation--
fingering lint
inside the pocket

Haiku #369

at the river
twilight
a ragged line of gulls

Haiku #368

there in the graveyard
trees
autumn's first blush

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Haiku #367

a light left on
pale moths flutter up
the outside pane

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Haiku #366

no spider
just a bit of milkweed fluff
in the web

Monday, October 04, 2010

Haiku #365

trash burning--
tall flames
in the weak October light

Haiku #364

taking a shortcut--
the sadness of an orchard
that bore no fruit

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Haiku #363

stirring against
a pink October sunset
dark leaves

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Haiku #362

warming myself
first wood fire of the season
cold October rain

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Haiku #361

looking for a book--
cat near the end of its life
passes by the window

Found

I was looking for a certain book today and found an old stationary box that I had kept because of its whimsical drawing.  The theme of the stationary was "The Art of Dreams," and I remember using that paper, sending letters to friends, picking out just the right image for each friend.  The box was crushed and I wondered if I should throw it away.  On impulse I looked inside and found a single note, written in purple ink.  I suddenly remembered this student always wrote in purple.  What struck me was the date and time of the note, its brevity, and its fullness in what it managed to say:


12-24-03
10:33 p.m.
Theresa--

A lot has happened lately...J. & I are divorced, I have a house and a regular Tradesmen Job???  Who woulda thunk it...

I'd love to talk w/ u ...

heart-- A.
[address]

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Haiku #360

first autumn wind
finds
the dead leaves

Haiku #359

first autumn wind
warmer
than expected

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Haiku #358

to leave in May
missing again the poppies
in bloom

Haiku #357

insect husk
wrapped in a filament
from the broken web

Haiku #356

first day of autumn
the grass
seems more brittle

Haiku #355

quiet afternoon--
our dog barks
at a garter snake

Haiku #354

the striped cat
not in his usual place
beside the door

Haiku #353

over my head
compost weeds
bending in the wind

Haiku #352

my cat
looks at me
night owl in the maple

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Haiku #351

hurrying
from my footfall
tiny butterflies

Haiku #350

fallen
with the pears
an empty nest

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Haiku #349

both pink
the ham in her sandwich
her young face

Monday, September 13, 2010

Haiku #348

white hens
dashing in and out
of the cornstalks

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Haiku #347

autumn day
Issa's motherless sparrow
in the long grass

Haiku #346

Issa,
give me the patience
of Issa

Haiku #345

Sunday shoppers
their reflections on the street
their umbrellas

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Haiku #344

toad in the rain
so much like the wet bark
of the aspen

Today and Yesterday

A Productive Couple of Days

1.  Two acceptances
2.  Revised and submitted three new poems
3.  Started new project, tentatively called Everwhere Else It Was the Sixties
4.  Put together a chapbook of poems, possibly to submit in the near future
5.  Finished a new creative nonfiction piece

Monday, September 06, 2010

Words

Edward Thomas is one of my favorite poets of the Modern era.  He's often lumped in with the "war poets" of that time, and he could write convincingly of ugliness and despair.  But it's a sweet poem, "Words" that brings me to Thomas today. 

It's natural for writers to reflect on the sources of their inspiration.  Few have done it as gently and honestly as Thomas has here.  He speaks directly to "Words," not cajoling or begging or feeling sorry for himself.  He simply asks for the blessing to be able to say what he needs to say.

In speaking of writing, we often say that we "use" words.  It's as though words are a resource not unlike the oil we pump from the bottom of the ocean.  After reading Thomas's poem, the idea of "using" words seems coarse.  Thomas says the word "use," too, but, ah, it's the way he says it in conjunction with "choose" which has about it a sweet whiff of grace.

It's good to remind ourselves where it all begins, in the kind of glory that Thomas shows in his poem "Words," in the humility Thomas expresses, in his love for the words that patiently give themselves to us.


Words


Out of us all
That make rhymes
Will you choose
Sometimes -
As the winds use
A crack in a wall
Or a drain,
Their joy or their pain
To whistle through -
Choose me,
You English words?


I know you:
You are light as dreams,
Tough as oak,
Precious as gold,
As poppies and corn,
Or an old cloak:
Sweet as our birds
To the ear,
As the burnet rose
In the heat
Of Midsummer:
Strange as the races
Of dead and unborn:
Strange and sweet
Equally,
And familiar,
To the eye,
As the dearest faces
that a man knows,
And as lost homes are:
But though older far
Than oldest yew, -
As our hills are, old, -
Worn new
Again and again:
Young as our streams
After rain:
And as dear
As the earth which you prove
That we love.


Make me content
With some sweetness
From Wales
Whose nightingales
Have no wings, -
From Wiltshire and Kent
And Herefordshire, -
And the villages there, -
From the names, and the things
No less.
Let me sometimes dance
With you,
Or climb
Or stand perchance
In ecstasy,
Fixed and free
In a rhyme,
As poets do.

Edward Thomas

Friday, September 03, 2010

New Publications

I've had some new publications recently:

A short story
"The World in Red" in The Sun Magazine

Three haibun
"Memorial Day" in Contemporary Haibun Online
"Cairo, Illinois" in Haibun Today
"Spring Passage, May..." in Notes from the Gean


You can read an excerpt of "The World in Red" by clicking on the link above. 

Bruce Ross, one of the editors of Contemporary Haibun Online, chose "Memorial Day" as his commentary piece.  Drop by to read what he says.

"Cairo, Illinois" is based on my Ohio River River journey of 2005.  Friends of this blog will remember my preparations and hopes for that journey.  It is only now starting to yield results in my writing.  
What to do with this little blog?  It's gone through so many incarnations.  I think from now on I'll be publishing less original poetry.  I have another (private) blog I've set up for the purpose of organizing and archiving poems and another for haiku.  This one will probably revert back to writing about process and experience in my world of teaching and writing.  Some photographs and art from time to time.

To the future.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Haiku #343

in the field
mole darting across our path
in its summer coat

Friday, August 13, 2010

Haiku #342

riverbank at night
a campfire
my cold arms

Haiku #341

riverbank at night
a figure passing by
a lighted window

Haiku #340

my husband stands there
keeping sun from the parking
attendant's eyes

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Haiku #339

these quiet
rooms not even crickets
dogs

Haiku #338

happy where they are
white phlox
among thistle

Haiku #337

a day alone
insect husks on the trunk
of the aspen

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Haiku #336

panting dogs
heads going up and down
in the grass

Haiku #335

curious goats
the man who feeds them
sharpens the knife

Haiku #334

summer tourists
each man outdoing the other
telling about his job

Haiku #333

late summer
butterfly
tasting fallen blossoms

Haiku #332

wishing for rain--
hot wind in the aspens
sounds like rain

Monday, August 09, 2010

Haiku #331

falling off 
as the cat walks away
a dead summer leaf

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Haiku #330

a hot evening
too much of everything
mosquitoes and grass

Haiku #329

dirt pile
a shovel stands in it
all by itself

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Haiku #328

Chimayo:
only a fly
in church

Haiku #327

a spot of shade
our dogs waiting there
to be let inside

Haiku #326

stretches a long time
on its way to the food bowl:
yellow cat

Haiku #325

in the ancient church
the sound of a fly buzzing
from an unknown place

Haiku #324

a quiet boat ride
an egret flies over us
toward the shade

Friday, August 06, 2010

Haiku #323

lily pads
the wind picks them up
I hold onto my straw hat

Monday, August 02, 2010

Haiku #322

Sitting on the porch in the afternoon:

miserable heat
above, sweet call of the wren
we still complain

Friday, July 30, 2010

Haiku #321

Sitting outside on a summer evening, I spend time with
Buson. At the edge of the field, two red butterflies.

hard to make them out
through the blur
of reading glasses

Haiku #320

a tiny beetle
walks across Issa's haiku:
"life is cruel, cruel, cruel"

Haiku #319

my journal's blank pages--
dreaming of a murdered deer
two nights in a row

Haiku #318

on a highwire
mourning dove soaked with warm rain
I long for autumn

Haiku #317

mountain overlook:
names carved on a rusty rail
the empty sky

Haiku #316

the long shadows
Ryokan writing poems
in his loneliness

Haiku #315

taken all my life
to enjoy the robin's call
this summer evening

Haiku #314

you only hear them
when the cicadas cease--
evening crickets

Last of July

Summer deepens.
The drone of cicadas--
I can barely think.
A butterfly keeps beating
against the white shed.
The hot evening sun.
Cats hiss at each other
near the food bowl.
The dogs watch the driveway,
awaiting your return.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Haiku #313

lifting the nozzle
to spray the dogs--
I can't resist

First Fire

Turkey buzzards soar above the field.
Last year I saw them flying south. 
Their bodies looked heavy against the cold sky.
That same day, we brought the first wood
into the house to make a fire.

Haiku #312

sad, unending rain:
two white swans swim together
enjoying themselves

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Haiku #311

sad thoughts
Queen Anne's lace bobbing 
in the rain

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Haiku #310

three a.m.
even the house cricket
is sleeping

Friday, July 16, 2010

Haiku #309

little butterfly
lights on a cat's tattered ear
summer afternoon

Haiku #308

white butterfly:
walking into the birdbath
toward the water

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Haiku #307

minnows part
before the swimming duckling
close back in behind

New Haibun

A new haibun published in Haibun Today:  "All Night and Day."
Click on the link to read it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Haiku #306

sitting outside
watching leaf-shadows dance
on the white plywood

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Haiku #305

a dog is barking
from the safety of a truck
at a horse statue

Friday, May 21, 2010

Haiku #304

stone from the river
about the size of a newborn
and wet and slick

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Haiku #303

the fire truck
swings out of its shaded bay
the siren:  all you hear

Haiku #302

Spring arrived here
in the south some time ago:
the dying peonies

Haiku #301

we're driving past
six pair of striped underwear
hanging on a line

Haiku #300

hard to see
black cows so still in the shade
of the sycamores

Haiku #299

four in the morning
roar of interstate traffic
lone song of a bird

Haiku #298

just enough sunlight
to make brown tufts of grass
luminous on the hillside

Haiku #297

advertisement
billboard near Columbus
sofa-love-recliner

Haiku #296

in a restaurant
a man says to friends my husband
looks like General Grant

Haiku #295

in rain sodden field
a giant puddle fills with
blue sky and sun

Haiku #294

that field
looks red through these
sunglasses

Haiku #293

in the traffic jam
floating around our truck
cottonwood seeds

Monday, May 10, 2010

Haiku #292

cold May afternoon
the daffodils are sleeping
until next Spring

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Haiku #291

driving home--
streaks on the far horizon
black rain

What I did today

after the hailstorm
I dreamed of a plague
of mosquitoes

after the plague
I got up, had coffee
went out and bought
a wooden boot jack

I like it best when
my husband takes
off my boots

after the boot jack
I bought silver crosses
for my ears

I like it best
when my husband is
my salvation

tonight
I had no dreams so
I read poetry

my husband slept
beside me dreaming
of me, his poem

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Haiku #290

today:  my dead
father's birthday I didn't
realize until just now

Haiku #289

no electricity 
how dark night
really is

Haiku #288

tornado   warning   scattered   green   leaves   Spring   hailstorm

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Haiku #287

a dirty torn desk chair
at the Goodwill
I buy it

Haiku #286

my cowboy boots
clomping on the sidewalk
a hollow sound

Haiku #285

turkey buzzards flap
in the tops of tall pine trees
this spring evening

Friday, April 30, 2010

Test

Testing a new system to see if it works.

 
 

PAD 04/30/10

Day 30 of the Poem a Day Challenge.  Prompt:  Letting go

LETTING GO

So it's been over for a while.
You haven't wanted to admit it.
Remember that in most cases
you  tried your best.
I know:  so many bitter days and nights.
Sift through it.
Move away from your human eyes.
See the world as another animal.
Open all windows and doors.
Shed the old life with no more care than
the snake sheds its skin.
The mayfly also changes
and then is ready to fly.
Love calls you to it.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

PAD 04/29/10

Day 29 of the April Poem a Day Challenge.  Prompt:  And suddenly______

FRIGHTENED AND SUDDENLY HOMELESS

she found herself in a clearing in a dark wood
trying to appreciate every aspect of her new condition:
sights and sounds, awareness of self.

Coyotes sang but kept their distance.
Owls sat vigil in the trees.
Mice scurried under leaves.

She lay on her belly, dropped into dust.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

PAD 04/28/10

Day 28 of the April Poem a Day challenge.  Prompt:  end of the line

AT THE END OF THE LINE

on a hot day in the third grade
after coming in second in the spelling bee.

First prize was to drink first at the fountain.
I don't remember the word I missed
just the winner's lips touching the cool water.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

PAD 04/27/10

Day 27 of the Poem a Day Challenge.  Prompt:  hopeful or hopeless poem.

ONE CAN ONLY HOPE

Let's hope she didn't spend
all her money on this cr@p.

Sure he quit her and
she went nuclear
but the billboards!
All over the city!
Her enfolded in
his big arms.  Big hearts.
Big L-E-T-T-E-R-S!
"U-R-MY-FOREVER!"

Wouldn't you just hate
to be that wife?  Those kids?

"Oh, man"--
that's all he has to say
about that.

Monday, April 26, 2010

PAD 04/26/10

Day 26 of the Poem a Day Challenge.  Prompt:  More than five times.

BABA YAGA IN THE
TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

At first I felt kindly
toward Baba Yaga
but after she'd
tipped her beer
more than five times
she began haltingly to dance

and I saw she wasn't
different from any other woman
who'd ever thought herself as being
at the back of the line
who went to parties alone
and had no one to sit with.

She took off her shoes
threw her gnarled hands
into the air and said
I am so happy; I am so, so happy.
Why wasn't she dancing
among us with her fiery skulls?
Why weren't we afraid?

Next she'll be wearing
rhinestones, cheap earrings and
face cream from Avon.
Next we'll be able go to her house
for cookies and sandwiches
kiss her old wrinkled cheek
leave her house in the dark
forest completely unscathed.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

PAD 04/25/10

Day 25 of the Poem a Day Challenge.  Prompt:  a song.

T-Bone Blues

My whole body was soaked
I ached from the cold
walking back from White Gate

Cemetery where the dead of
the West Virginia State
Penitentiary are buried

Every truck and car that
passed sprayed me
with dirty rain

No one stopped
I remembered T-Bone singing
do you ever think of me?

That night, under the moon
the lonesome sound of trains

Saturday, April 24, 2010

PAD 04/24/10

Day 24 of the Poem a Day Challenge.  Prompt:  Evening poem

IN THE EVENING

look,
I walk out

of my house
in the evening

in the rain
and the cats

criss-cross
in front of me

crying for food
and attention

not caring about
getting wet

I don't care
either

show me
a happier thing

look,
we are abundant

we are inspired
and so alive

Friday, April 23, 2010

PAD 04/23/10

Day 23 of the April Poem a Day Challenge.  Prompt:  exhaustion

WHAT WILL HAPPEN

when I'm too tired
to tell my stories

when lucille's fox*
comes to the door

and I have to say
come again another day

when all the terrible
stories say to me

I am locked in the blood
and here to stay

*Lucille Clifton

Thursday, April 22, 2010

PAD 04/22/10

Day 22 of the Poem a Day Challenge.  Prompt:  earth poem

chilly spring day
ants
in the firewood

PAD 04/21/10

Three weeks into the April Poem A Day Challenge.  Prompt:  According to_______________

ACCORDING TO THE WOMAN
AT THE SINK

the spectacle that could not be stopped
is finally coming to an end.

She is plucking cool grapes from their stems.
They are for her husband who is dying.

She rinses them out of habit.
Realizing this, she weeps.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

PAD 04/20/10

Day 20 of the April Poem a Day Challenge.  Prompt:  looking back

THEN


let us decide
once and for all
there will be no more
looking back

at the house
on Chamber Rock Road
the kitchen smelling
of squash and sage
Bach's Concerto
a kitten mewing
at the door

of the small bathroom
the mirrored medicine
cabinet holding peppermint
lifesavers, aspirin,
Q-Tips, cough syrup
a red pencil bearing

the imprint of your teeth
biting remarks
witty comebacks
arranging ourselves
self-conscious thoughts

of dishevelment
what was any of it
if not the most
astonishing moment
in the 20th century

Monday, April 19, 2010

PAD 04/19/10

Day 19 of the Poem a Day Challenge.  Prompt:  Use a name as the title of a poem.

DOUBTING THOMAS


touched the wound
which is our mortality
he had to know
was it warm?
did it have a pulse?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

PAD 04/19/10

Day 18 of the Poem a Day Challenge.  Prompt:  To __________

TO BE A HERMIT


god's will be done
our will goes the other way

having chosen jail
we're free to live
in the paradise of the mind

consider Emily
when she descends--
finally--
she's laughing
the lilies in her arms
burn like stars

Saturday, April 17, 2010

PAD 04/17/10

Day 17 of the Poem a Day Challenge.  Prompt:  Science

GOING FORWARD:
THE SCIENCE OF GRIEF

you cannot retrace old steps
a torch reveals what
lives in darkness
melts what is cold
there are his shoes
today's neural reward
your new addiction

Friday, April 16, 2010

PAD 04/16/10

Day 16 of the Poem a Day Challenge.  Prompt:  death poem

Blossoms: Early Spring


Lying in my tub
listening to a northern wind
I'm angry that tomorrow
my pear blossoms will be
blown away and dead

Thursday, April 15, 2010

PAD 04/15/10

Day 15 of the Poem a Day Challenge.  Prompt:  deadline

Rushed Elegies

imagine if Rilke
had written them
according to a deadline
if he'd shrunk himself
to fit a ring
he'd already inhabited
written them from
the perspective of a life
going backwards
into the already known

one must come to the world
like the first human being
Eden was timeless
and the first ones
got to name the animals

and now we are
the homeland of Things
which would be invisible without us

the elegies were written
going slowly forward
going through the labyrinth
without thread

angels are not so terrible
when you've already seen them
face to face

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

PAD 04/14/10

Two weeks into the Poem a Day Challenge.  Prompt:  ______ Island

BLENNERHASSETT ISLAND

This is where Margaret
and Harman had it all
and lost it all:
house, servants, the library
filled floor to ceiling
with leather bound books.
I take off my shoes and
wade into the river.
The bottom is slick.
The shore is peppered with lumps of clay.
Margaret's grave is over there.
On arrival to the new world
she was an exotic jewel. 
Trying to get up a steep bank, I slip.
My hands land in stinging nettles.
 
 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

PAD 04/13/10

Day 13 of the Poem a Day Challenge.  Prompt:  an anti-love poem

IT WASN'T LOVE

Herbie was such a child
I wore his ring
it wasn't love

kissing him was like
kissing a balloon
one night

in the parking lot
waiting for my mother
another one called Ken

gave me his tongue
my mouth tickled all night

Monday, April 12, 2010

PAD 07/12/10

Day twelve of the Poem a Day challenge.  Prompt:  City poem.

Martins Ferry

continue
to James Wright Avenue
pass the church
with the open doors
where the congregation
sings Ave Maria
continue
a few steps more
to the bar
with the open doors
the maid is cleaning tables
continue
to the river
where the willows drink
and the mountain on the other side
is blue with shade

Sunday, April 11, 2010

PAD 04/11/10

Day eleven of the Poem a Day Challenge.  Prompt:  The Last _________

THE LAST PETS


A day comes when you realize
you have the last pets you will ever have

you remember what happened
to other people's pets

like Bowillie the cat
who'd crouched loyally

under old Charles' death bed
all the long days and nights

the day old Charles went
out like a gas light

he pet the covers
thinking they were Bo

good ole Bo he said
in his fevered death-dream

good ole Bo
the oldest stepson took Bo

for the long trek home to Florida
conveniently lost him along the way

Bo whom old Charles had
fed the tenderest food in the mornings

and then let out to play
stroked his fur with soft sponges

the day comes and you realize
that you're going to have to be satisfied

with the birds in the yard
the groundhogs in the field

the dying baby rabbit that some stray
has dragged onto the porch

Saturday, April 10, 2010

PAD 04/10/10

Poem a Day challenge, day 10.  Prompt:  horror poem

I'm going to withhold this one. I want to submit it for possible publication.  I was so happy with how it turned out!

Pad 04/09/10

Day 9 of the Poem a Day challenge.  Prompt:  a self portrait

SELF PORTRAIT

I had evil thoughts today
and shameful expectations

I told lies
and ate more calories
than I'm allowed

If I was famous
the public would storm
my castle with torches

I would pay my consultants
to find me a way out

They would advise me
to do a commercial
with the voice of my
dead father berating me
for my crimes 

and I would do it

Thursday, April 08, 2010

PAD 04/08/10

Day 8, poem a day challenge.  Prompt:  a tool

IT'S A TOOL TO KEEP YOUR MIND


on the meditation practice

there are 108 beads with a summit
called a sumeru
that should keep you busy
for a long while
there are many online sources

to assist you on your path
choose your mala wisely
tulsi sandal rose rudraksh
ebony crystal navgraha
bodhiseed or lotus
each material has different properties
that affect the subconscious mind
why use a mala?

because the mind is a naughty child
jumping out of classroom windows
wandering off into the forest
beyond the playground
to get lost in the thick
of imagination
where live the wizards
princesses and kings
or wanting to throw a stick
for the loyal dog to fetch
or you might go to sleep

or be beset by fantasies
of espionage murder control
of never growing old
or failing the ones you love
move each bead in rhythm

with your breath
a mantra helps
unappropriate thoughts
are prevented by the action
upon the beads
what an accessory!

it's like a close friend
or those boots you
just can't throw away
because they know your feet
by heart
or like the shirt

the one you keep in the closet
because it still holds the smell
of your lover's body
count the beads
so you can forget all that

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

PAD 04/07/10

Day seven of the Poem a Day challenge.  Prompt:  "Until ________"


UNTIL THE LIGHT TAKES US

under that bridge
flows the Arkansas river
where my brother almost drowned
when he was seven

and I almost drowned saving him
under that bridge
I spent the night
sleeping on a piece of cardboard
I didn't know until morning

that the cardboard covered a dead dog
under that bridge that child is sleeping
dead  these thirty years
for better or worse
that's our life

until the light takes us
if it will take us

we will go home

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

PAD, day 6, revised

PAD, day 6, Revised

NOW THAT SHE'S FLED ME


I imagine her this way
Pocahontas in skins
lithe as the young doe
loping behind her
its tail risen like a flag

October leaves in browns and reds
the world turning toward
death and discovery
the fatal ship already on the horizon
etched on white clouds

the sky darkens
her hair blows back
as she runs

Monday, April 05, 2010

PAD 04/05/10

Day five of the Poem a Day Challenge.  Prompt:  "too much information"

ENCOUNTERS LIKE THAT


a mystery even to him
his life with her
the one thing
he'd meant to do right
how could he tell her
too much information
and she'd fall dead
oh god she would
he'd have to turn his back to bear it
look instead at the silent barn
with gaping holes for doors
humans aren't made
for encounters like that

Sunday, April 04, 2010

PAD 04/04/10

Poem a Day challenge, day 4.  Prompt:  history poem


THERE IS A STORY

then finally you will get to Devils Tower
it should be warm by then
a hint of breeze blowing
through the prayer bundles
tied on limbs of trees
the Evil Wizard will not follow you there
remember the story of the man who was
magically transported to the top
I pray this happens
it would give you strength
and if it does make note of
the buffalo head
that Wooden Leg talked about
you will have to pray all day
so that when you go to sleep
the spirits will carry you down
I cannot come to you
confounded as I am by fear
of things I have done
comforted only by this moon
the only clean thing left

Saturday, April 03, 2010

PAD 04/03/10

Third day of the Poem a Day Challenge.  Today's prompt:  Partly __________.

A NOTE FOUND WHILE DOING LAUNDRY

leave this place
I beg you
the evil wizard has fallen twice
on the wet shale
but he'll be here so very soon
warm clothes are a must
gather your loose hair up under your cap
don't look back
at the yellow porch light glaring in the fog
that is all
I'm only partly to blame

Friday, April 02, 2010

PAD 04/02/10

The second day of the Poem a Day Challenge.  The prompt is "water."  This poem written between classes:


MAYFLIES

the first to mature
scatter across the river
for the birds to eat

Thursday, April 01, 2010

PAD 04/01/10

Time again for the Poem-a-Day challenge for National Poetry Month.  The prompt for today was a "lonely" poem.  Here's mine:


Robert Desnos


I summon the one I love
church bells and Amazing Grace
a bat flies out
make a wish
underneath the maples
echo of a voice

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Eight Rules for Writing a Short Story

Kurt Vonnegut's eight rules

for writing a short story:
(I've posted these before but they are worth posting again.)


1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

4. Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.

5. Start as close to the end as possible.

6. Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.



Vonnegut qualifies the list by adding that Flannery O'Connor broke all these rules except the first, and that great writers tend to do that.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

There Were Hundreds

today I saw leaves
rising and falling 
in the sky
turning slowly
so light on the air
almost like feathers
dark on one side
silver on the other
far, far
I don't mean
they were falling from trees
they were high as kites
I had to squint
not believing
wondering what science
made this possible
who would believe this
without factual explanation
there were hundreds
while I was thinking all this
they moved on
but before that my husband
had burst into the house
saying, Come look
and I wondered
what's the hurry

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Haiku #284

faraway croaking
hard to believe
it's really a bird

Haiku #283

first tick:
my husband finds it
petting his favorite dog

Haiku #282

This cold rainy evening
I pinch my hamburger
the dog looks up

Haiku #281

spring rain
the roof leaking
upon Trakl's poems

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Published Haibun #2

My second published haibun is here:  http://contemporaryhaibunonline.com/pages61/Williams_Song.html

Early Spring

I lay in the field
waiting for the morning sun
to melt frost from my bones
by late spring I will leave you
my brass zipper
buttons and the bottoms
of my shoes

After Reading Rilke's First Elegy

I whispered something
it flew into a flock of doves
a thousand ears and eyes
just as he said
the birds felt it
with more passionate flying

Haiku #280

beneath the pink sunset
of a clearing sky
a sprinkling of snow

Early Spring

rain all day.
by evening, snow.
in a graveyard,
on top of a tombstone,
a wreath of purple flowers.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Haiku #279

in winter's brown stubble
a black bird waits for spring
yesterday I spread wildflower seeds

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Early Spring

Rain all day.
By evening, snow. 
In a graveyard,
on top of a tombstone,
a new wreath of purple flowers.
Home, beneath the pink sunset
of a clearing sky, 
a sprinkling of snow.
  

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Haiku #278

gray cat
pissing
on my stone buddha

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Test

It has been awhile since I tried out my win-journal software. This is just a test to see if it publishes to my blog.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Joseph Campbell Meditation #2

"Perfection is inhuman.  Human beings are not perfect.  What evokes our love--and I mean love, not lust--is the imperfection of the human being.  So, when the imperfection of the real person peeks through, say, 'This is a challenge to my compassion.'  Then make a try, and something might begin to get going."  from Pathways to Bliss

I have to begin by saying this:  writing about this quote makes me feel like a hypocrite.  It's so utterly true that what I value in others (their humanness) I try to deny in myself.  So it stands to reason that one of the hardest things for me to do always has been to write truthfully.  To write truthfully means I will have to reveal some unsavory aspect of my psyche or my experience.  I don't mean factual truth, but the truths about my shame and my fears.  

The characters in stories I love best are flawed ones, and when I read a story I try to think of the characters not in terms of judgment but in terms of compassion.  This truly has become one of the most pleasurable aspects of reading for me.  In Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine, there's a character named King who lies, drinks, neglects his child, and beats his wife.  And yet it is clear from the narrative that Erdrich, the writer, doesn't judge King.  By extension, she challenges the reader not to judge him, but to love him. 

One of my favorite authors, Andre Dubus (who wrote the great story from which the film In the Bedroom was made), said that his characters are neither good nor bad:  they are human.  When I read--or write--a story, I try to empty myself of biases or preconceptions, and I try to deeply penetrate the characters' minds.  If the story is well-written, you'll be able to do that.

I try to come to each writing project--story or poem- with a fresh and open mind.  My process is organic.  I create and then wait.  Create and wait.  I don't stop until a work "feels right."  Or until it's plain to me that the story is never going to work.  Sometimes it never feels right.  I used to think I was failure when this happened; now I shrug and move on.  It wasn't meant to be; there was a fatal mistake in it somewhere.  Perhaps the idea will morph into something that will work later on.

My writing feels right when every sentence seems true.  Each new day I'm a different person, minute to minute, second to second, I am evolving, understanding more, or sometimes I'm backsliding and trying to get back to where I was.  Writing is a record of the evolution of your consciousness.  

I used to try to make my writing perfect; I don't anymore.  I want it to be human, to say something clearly and truthfully.  It's easy to master techniques; it's hard to say something that's true.  Every molecule of our being resists it because our authority figures have punished us for the kinds of failures we most need to explore in our writings.   

It's all about love, man, it's all about love.

I'm not saying that there isn't a place for a character of pure evil in a story.  There are people who cannot be redeemed, who have no conscious, who are ciphers, blanks.  Literature is full of villains, and sometimes a story needs one for balance.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Joseph Campbell Meditation #1

"Metaphors only seem to describe the outer world of time and place.  Their real universe is the spiritual realm of the inner life.  The Kingdom of God is within you."  from Thou Art That

I owe Joseph Campbell a lot.  When I found Power of Myth, I understood I had discovered a work that would dramatically change my reason for writing.  I'd been living for so long without a center.  I was in a dry place.  I wanted to write but the writing was dead.  I still feel that sometimes, but now I know how to reach the center of my creativity.  Not that it's always easy and not that I'm always successful.  But at least now I know I have a center; I know how it feels to write from that place.

I was reading recently that Bob Dylan said that his spirituality comes from his participation in song.  I relate to that.  More and more I am learning to compose from within.  I've always done this, but the writing hasn't always been grounded in the reality of every day life.  My earliest writing efforts were boring and vague, not effective at all in conveying my consciousness.  I've been talking to students a lot lately about how stories and poems are records of consciousness.  We are separated from each other because of geography, worry, or fear; it's art that brings us together because in art we see another's mind and we understand we aren't alone.  In a flash, we experience a moment of wholeness. 

I don't mean that we should just write about positive or pretty things.  Ugliness also must be addressed. 

a rogue wave

may be the result of a number
of factors coming together
such as a strong wind multiplied
with other effects
the point is

you don't know it's coming
your life is really okay
your life is going as planned
your sea is calm
you take
your ordinary lunch with
a glass of red wine
you are actually bored

preoccupied
honestly the world
is dead except
unknown to you

there's the wave
the anomaly
the wine you notice

is a little bitter
tastes too much of oak
your bread is dry and those
birds in the distance
they are nothing but gulls

*I've been thinking a lot about the rogue wave that struck the cruise ship recently.  It seemed to me to be a perfect metaphor for the things in life that we never see coming.  This is just a raw, rough draft, but I really needed to get it down.  My blog is so great because it always invites me to compose.

A Poem (3)

been
so tired
lately

dreamed last night
of a magnificent palace
of polished wood and glass
through the front doors lay
everything the heart desires
I stayed a long time
and when I had to leave
I went to the back doors
as the rules required

beyond was flat desert
sand, scrub, and a washed-out sky
in the blinding sun
I saw a giant turtle
it was dead
trapped inside a weathered fence
its mouth was open 
its eyes slanted and fierce

I turned back 
the palace was crumbling
the doors had locked behind
and my beloved was nowhere
in sight

*I think this dream was inspired by the movie Paris, Texas, which I recently watched twice, once with the commentary and once without.  Also, I've been reading and writing a lot lately about the death of the beloved.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

A Poem (2)

been
so tired
lately

dreamed last night
a student gifted me with a tall
bottle of ink

India ink, strong-black
I craved it like a vampire
craves blood

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A Poem

A POEM

been
so tired
lately

dreamed last night
my pen kept running
out of ink

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Published Haibun

My first published haibun is here:  http://haibuntoday.com/ht41/index41.html

There are also many really fine haibun to read at this site.  Read them, enjoy them, write haibun of your own.  Post them, share them, submit them.

Haiku #277

the sound of snow
falling on white fields
this February night

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Haiku #276

winter dusk
beside the window Neruda's
luminous pages

Monday, February 22, 2010

Haiku #275

coffee on sill
steam rises into
winter light

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Wonderland











Haiku #274

bare winter tree
bird's nest
filled with snow

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Haiku #273

February dream:
a light-speckled
river

Haiku #272

at the movies:
bald man eating popcorn
keeps licking his fingers

Haiku #271

winter evening:
somewhere a boat with cargo
going forth in the dark world

Haiku #270

a womb
hangs inside me
an invisible plum

Haiku #269

winter evening:
it's hard to know just when
to turn the light on

Haiku #268

looking out my window
at the gentle snow
what is this sadness?

Haiku #267

February
from the sky's gray lips
falls the soft snow

Haiku #266

so many
fallen hairs
in my white brush

Haiku #265

quite suddenly
the gray sky
looks frozen

Haiku #264

such pleasure
watching fire-behind-glass
in the woodstove

Haiku #263

beside the bed
old gray houseshoes
ready to step into

Haiku #262

the flakes
are getting bigger--
winter talk

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Haiku #261

patience:
winter hawk hovering
in this bitter wind

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Haiku #260

factory smoke
frozen in the sky
this winter night

Friday, January 29, 2010

Haiku #259

delicate pink moon
the softest and sweetest breath
would tear you apart

Haiku #258

bright moon
aspen's shadow
on blue snow

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Progress

Ah, I've written 7 haibun so far. Two more today! I won't post the new ones quite yet. Something is building. A project. Songs for Ryokan.

Haiku #257

clothes
line jumping
in the wind

Haiku #256

yellow cat
tiptoes over light
dusting of snow

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Winter Journal: Haibun #3

UPDATE: This work has been accepted for publication at Haibun Today. As soon as it appears in early March, I'll let people know how to find it again. Working with Haibun Today has been a great experience. Response time was short and editorial assistance first rate.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have removed this haibun because it is currently under consideration at Haibun Today.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Haibun Moleskine Journal 2010: Entry #2

Photograph, pen & ink, acrylic wash, pastel.

Winter Journal: Haibun #2

I walk in the back field with the dogs. Snow is melting. The bare ground shows in places: brown stubble.

puddles
hold ice and leaves
bubbles on the surface

Plant heads are delicate baskets full of seeds. They wave on long stalks. The dogs want to run ahead. I call them back, afraid of the coyotes. Only when we turn toward the house do I let them go.

two black and white dogs
run toward home
disappear in silver fog




Haibun Moleskine Journal 2010: Entry #1

This is how the actual paper journal entry turned out. Collage: photo; pen & ink, acrylic wash.*

*Note: I amended the entry after it was scanned. The two haiku now read:

they sparkle
two dark eyes
in the brown face

black fields
and then a white house
no lights on

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Winter Walk

Seeds: Waiting

A Yard Spirit that Allen made.

On the trail leading to the barn.


The Airstream: Writing place



Sweet Pea (Left); Buddha (Right)




Winter Journal: Haibun #1

Tandoor: crowded tonight! We drink beer, toasting our dead relatives. Before leaving, my husband puts on his white hat. A small boy watches him from another table.

they sparkle
two dark eyes
in the brown face

We take the slow way home through solitary farmland and small towns.

black fields
and then a white house
no lights on.

The first entry

My next post is going to be the first entry in my new paper journal. I just spent about an hour drafting it. The new journal is a haibun journal, a combination of prose and haiku. Like haiku, the haibun has compressed language and it emphasizes the image over explaining. I'll try to put the entry in the new journal tomorrow.

Characteristics of haibun, according to The Haiku Handbook (Higginson & Harter):

1. Written in prose, usually concluded with one or more haiku
2. Brief
3. Abbreviated in syntax; grammar words, sometimes even verbs are omitted.
4. No explanation of the haiku; the connection between the prose and the haiku is often like linking in renga.
5. Imagistic; relatively few abstractions or generalizations.
6. Objective; the writer is somewhat detached, maintains an aesthetic distance, even when describing himself.
7. Often humorous.

I believe the haibun journal will be good for me for several reasons.

*For one thing, I'm requiring my poetry students to keep one. I think I should keep one as well.

*Two: one of my major breakthroughs for the novel happened as a result of writing haibun this past summer.

*Three: it's always good to get aesthetic distance from every day experience.

*Four: Compression is important for me to practice, as I have a tendency to be wordy.

*Five: focusing on imagery is also important for me, as I have a tendency to be vague.

*Six: Basho says we don't have to say "everything" in each piece that we write. Haibun will help me to accept that, to be happy with saying one thing as well as I can.

*Seven: humor; I need to practice giving my writings a lighter touch.

As for the journal itself, it is a Moleskinne with heavy paper.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Haiku #255

opossum
pale in the headlights
this moonless light

Starting a new journal

Quick sketch of Sweetpea playing with a ball.

I'm going to be starting a new paper journal soon. I bought some cheap Speedball nibs today, and I want to do the journal in waterproof ink. The journal will be a combination of writing and sketches.


I got Higgins ink but was a little disappointed that it's not as deep and black as the India ink I remember from my youth. (I haven't done pen and ink like this since highschool). The ink I used to use was very black and glossy.


I need waterproof ink because I may decide to go over the writing with watercolors.

Experimenting with the nibs, I did this tiny page in my regular journal, the one I use to jot down thoughts, make sketches, etc.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiku #254

On the eating man's sleeve--
tiny and shaped like a crab--
winter spider

Haiku #253

growing smaller
a January surprise
melting icicle

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Winter

When the ground is snow-covered you really wonder why this isn't called Winter Semester.

I looked around my livingroom this afternoon. Since we gave up TV, the chairs are no longer pointed at the tube. They are pointed at the woodheater. This is one reason why I love winter, the woodheater. I love it that fire is the focal point of our house. I always feel sad when spring arrives and the heater goes dead.

I am excited to think of my students reading James Wright and Georg Trakl together.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Floreta and the Ohio

Just had a great editing session with the second Floreta story. I think it's ready to send out.

I have definitely decided that the Floreta stories will comprise the Ohio River novel, which I have been working on for four years.

The Ohio River novel has been tough going, not for lack of material but for lack of story. I've had touble finding the right characters and a central conflict that works. Everytime I'd get the narrative action to Pittsburgh, the story would die. I'd lose interest.

The only way I can stick to a project is to be curious about what will happen. I now have a character with a compelling problem, miles to go, and enlightenment waiting. Getting her to the end is going to be a lot of fun.

Now that I have two Floreta stories, essentially Chapts. 1 and 2 of the novel, I can see exactly how to structure the novel. I did an outline of it tonight (a very sketchy one) and was so excited because the entire project looks like something I can accomplish now.

I have all the writing I did at Provincetown and writing I've done since Provincetown. I just have to figure out how it all fits into my scheme.

The trip out west this summer showed me what I needed to do. A similar thing happened when I was working on my first novel. I floundered for many years until I took up weaving. We bought a floor loom and I learned how to use it, making rugs and scarves. It was such a meditative practice and it taught me that I am a weaver not just of yarn and cloth, I am a weaver stories, too. So, to emphasize this new awareness, I made my main character a weaver in that first book.

The western trek changed me: As a result of that trip, I understand so much more about the world. The unusual landscapes spoke to aspects of myself I had not formerly explored, had not known existed. So as I introduced the loom in my first book, I have brought the westward trek into my second. This provides structure and also meaning.

I start back to school Monday happy about what I accomplished over break. I hope to be able to keep writing, although I know this will be a very busy semester. Then I hope to make real progress this summer. It would be so good to finish the summer with a full first draft of the book: maybe I'm overreaching here. I guess I'm just excited. I realize the task of writing even one story is harder than it may first appear. There's no end to the trouble that a writer can run into. But I've hacked through some serious weeds the last week, and the view is much more clear ahead than it's ever been.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Packing to Go Home

I was very amused by one of my recent dreams. The meaning of the dream is obvious in the context of my activities in the days prior. I'd been working hard on my second Floreta story, and it was getting too big and complicated. It had lost its narrative drive, its ability to make a powerful, clear point. I was frustrated because I couldn't fit everything into the story that I wanted to.

So I dreamed that I was in a strange city--Paris--and I was trying to pack my luggage in time to get on my plane. But I found I had too much stuff, and it was all disorganized: it was everywhere! I was stuffing my bags but then I'd find more stuff under chairs, heaped in piles along the walls. And time was running out to catch my plane. I was afraid I'd never get home.

So obvious, right? Needless to say, the next day I dismantled the story in its overblown form, realizing that I had at least three good stories in that one manuscript. I laughed about that dream all day.

And I finished a story I'm proud of with lots of stuff to spare for more stories!
There was an error in this gadget

Dreaming

Dreaming

About Me

My photo
Northwest Ohio, United States
"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken

Followers

Search This Blog

Epistle, by Archibald MacLeish

What I'm Listening To

My Music

Great Artists

www.flickr.com
This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from theresarrt7. Make your own badge here.

Fave Painting: Eden

Fave Painting:  Eden

Fave Painting: The Three Ages of Man and Death

Fave Painting:  The Three Ages of Man and Death
by Albrecht Dürer

From the First Chapter

The Secret of Hurricanes : That article in the Waterville Scout said it was Shake- spearean, all that fatalism that guides the Kennedys' lives. The likelihood of untimely death. Recently, another one died in his prime, John-John in an airplane. Not long before that, Bobby's boy. While playing football at high speeds on snow skis. Those Kennedys take some crazy chances. I prefer my own easy ways. Which isn't to say my life hasn't been Shake-spearean. By the time I was sixteen, my life was like the darkened stage at the end of Hamlet or Macbeth. All littered with corpses and treachery.

My Original Artwork: Triptych

My Original Artwork:  Triptych

Wishing

Wishing

Little Deer

Little Deer

Transformation

Transformation

Looking Forward, Looking Back

Looking Forward, Looking Back

Blog Archive

CURRENT MOON

Labels