Poetry Day…….This Short Life

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This Short Life

I’ll hold your face

and teach you how to kiss 

again.

Not those drive-by pecks

that you give your grandmother.

No apple-bob

avoidance of something deep

and wet.

I’m talking 

two hands wound through hair

get to work

close your eyes

let your mouth go soft

so it can have more surface

to feel what’s going on

Tasting deeply of the

sweet wet cave-

a really mean it

kind of

last chance

show you how i feel

kissing.

There’s no time for less.

You need to get this

right now-

before there is no more

feeling it

in this short life.

 

 

 

 

Writing Into The Wind

Shasta Note

I was up at Mt. Shasta last October. If you haven’t been there yet, then get on it. There’s something very special and sacred and connected on that land and you just have to be there to feel it. Anyway, on a high trail, I stopped at a picnic bench area to have some water from my pack and when I set my stuff on the table, I saw this note.

It was tucked under a rock and waiting for some unknown soul to happen upon. The writer of the note thought the ring had been lost. I was thinking it had been set free. You’d have to be standing there looking up the mountain and looking back and out over the land below to know that no one leaves a ring on a table right there accidently.

It reminded me of a friend who married in her mid thirties. Her first marriage, his second. She was over the moon that she had finally found “the one” and when he was offered a chef’s position at a hotel restaurant soon to open at a very high profile casino in Las Vegas, she happily packed her life in Chicago and headed to the desert with her man. A thousand things came into play in her life, not the least of which was a rekindled dream that there was still enough time to have a child with her new husband.

On a corporate path for so long, she had almost let that dream blow by her like tumbleweed; until he came into her life that was. They settled in and she brought her formidable talent and humor, her artistic nature and her beautiful self 100% into this new life. Not even two years later, she found herself alone, standing on the roadway over the Hoover Dam with her wedding ring in her hand. When she drew back her arm and let it fly out and down into the nothing below, she let him go. He and the cocktail waitress he had been sleeping with those nights he was “working late.”

I wasn’t there when she did it, but I could clearly see her black hair flying in the breeze and her startling green eyes flash and shimmer with the last tear that she would shed for this bastard. She didn’t even cry the next year when he married the cocktail waitress who was pregnant with his child, the irony not lost on her as he had told her about his second thoughts of starting a second family in his forties.

Not all who wander are lost…not all things left behind are a mistake.

I wrote a response to that note on the picnic table in poetry form. I tucked it under the rock and after I had my water and got ready to put my feet back to the trail, I gave a salute to Jennifer. To her new life without him; to the ring that now rests among the rocks at the bottom of the dam, perhaps with a million others, and to moving her feet back onto her own trail, wherever it may lead her.

Here’s to you, babe. Walk on.

My Giant Brain

chloroform

I’m supposed to be writing this week. I thought I would pound out at least four more chapters in seven days. So, that didn’t happen. Life happened. It happened all around me. Cat sitting, dog managing, spouse home for several weeks recovering from a surgical adventure. Oh, yes. I said weeks. Even when those around you take care of themselves and stay out of your field of vision, for the most part, we are always keenly aware of their presence. We’re also aware of the laundry mountain awaiting our attention, and the dust bunnies multiplying like, well, rabbits, beneath the sofa and pulling food from the freezer for dinner 8 hours from now. And hey! Wouldn’t this be a great time to call Nancy and have a chat over coffee?

DISTRACTIONS
In 2011, the University College in London did a study and concluded, and I quote, so you won’t think I just made this up to justify my possible ADD-Sugar-enhanced-Dory-the-fish Olympic avoidance festivals, “… those who are easily distracted from tasks at hand have ‘too much brain’.” Researchers at the university found that there were larger than average volumes of grey matter in  certain brain regions in people whose attention was easily diverted.

YES! This is the problem! I have too much brain! I am vindicated! Free now to claim superior deductive powers,  not a lack of control over my attention span. No, sir. It is the sole fault of my giant fraking brain.

Some distractions we really can not do anything about and so we must live with them. Others, we can have some control over; like our writing environment. I have a table that I used as a desk last year that sat in the corner of my living room. It worked pretty well for me until staring out the window at the neighbors house began to feel far less inspirational than it once did. It was time for a change of scenery. I commandeered the dining room. A long, white table sits next to the front window giving me a street view of winter snow, spring blossoms and now, a lush green, leafed out Michigan summer. Being a dining room table it is a magnet for every bit of junk mail, keys, hats, empty coffee cups and whatever family has in their hands as they pass. I made this place a little writing altar. I have a candle and a Kwan Yin and some little tchotchke things that I use as writing juju. I do not care if that Sprint headset box that was left on the table looks just as important as my turquoise suede pouch with the wolf stone my daughter gave me, it is not MY juju and I find it distracting.

The other day on Pinterest, (the MECCA of distraction), I saw a sketch of a guy sitting on a heap of books with more piles covering the landscape. It said some clever thing about wisdom. Nice enough picture, but I found myself thinking that any real lover of books would be freaking out at the horrible disorganization of what they supposedly, love. That is not wise. That is not even love. That is feeding a short term addiction to interesting stuff. When we truly love what we read and love what we write and love the ideas our muses give us, we want to be able to easily and quickly lay our hands on them again so we can quote them or nurture them into a storyline.

Scanning my dining table/workspace I find that my own stacks of reference books, research material, spiral notebooks and sticky notes with “great ideas” may have been moved to accommodate the nearly finished mocha latte to-go cup that he-who-will-not-be-named really, really needed to leave right there. It … distracts me.

Shades of Joan Crawford screaming about wire hangers move through my mind when I look up from the keyboard and see that paper cup exactly where my Celtic Wheel of Life and The Path of Druidry books were earlier this morning.

Logic says that this is all yet another avoidance tactic to getting down to the writing. Giant Brain Squirrel Girl says, “Honey, does this rag smell like chloroform?” It will be interesting to see which choice my giant brain makes…right after I have some lunch because I see the spouse making a sandwich and that looks really good right this very minute…

 

What Does It Take to be a Writer?

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The other day, I stumbled onto an old post on a writing website. The author had asked readers what they thought it took to be a successful writer.

Good soldiers said it took discipline. Several said it required patience. One guy even said it took, “patients.” Perhaps he was a medical writer. A few pointed to skill and there were a few votes for a love of words.

I’d have to go along with the word love fest myself, but I’d add that we must be in touch with our wild selves as well. Real writing worth reading always takes us somewhere that could get messy. We must love to roll around in words like my dog does on the lawn just after I’ve mowed.

Writer’s must be part cat. We need to revel in rubbing up against words with embarrassing sensuality. We also need the cat’s ability to survive being thrown off a roof and still land on our feet when rejection letters and bad reviews arrive in our lives.

The tenacity of a Gila Monster comes in handily in word wrangling; biting into a storyline and hanging in there until our teeth touch and there is nothing left to say on the subject.

We need the vision of an eagle; flying high above all the sameness on the plain of published words and seeing something meaty and delicious, be willing to fold our wings into a death dive, down to where it is and bring it home.

Most of all, a writer must become a word lion; embracing our predator nature, staring down what we want and following it wherever it goes. Without shame or apology, we must set our sites on that feast of words and take it down; bloody truth and all; laying it out on paper to be devoured by our dinner guests, the readers.