Tuesday, February 26, 2013

This Year---an old poem made new.

The buds of the magnolia have browned
All at once
Like a half-charged memory growing ill
And withered in the new light

By Sir Frost’s shocking freeze
And the latent echoing
Of his sonorous footfalls
Crushing gestures from Size 12 steel-toe boots

This mere shadow of a bloom heals me
With its smothered vow of surety
And the soft cry of hope within
Its withered frame

As the brown petals meet
The earthy ground
 My own sun-touched arms unfurl 
To greet

The spirited Master Spring as he
Leaps silently forward
Within grassy slippers as delicate
As my own lusty breath.

The Struggles of a Writer

I've just read a piece of advice this afternoon that was incredibly timely.  And it goes like this:

      Right here is your story. Your manuscript. Your career. So why the [heck] are you running in the other direction? Your writing will never chase you — you need to chase your writing. If it’s what you want, then pursue it. This isn’t just true of your overall writing career, either. It’s true of individual components. You want one thing but then constantly work to achieve its opposite. You say you want to write a novel but then go and write a bunch of short stories. You say you’re going to write This script but then try to write That script instead. Pick a thing and work toward that thing.

Click here for the original source.

I am incredibly, astoundingly guilty of this.  Running away.  I thought I was facing my biggest fear in writing a novel (that is, my profound fear of being alone), but I am still running from it in what I have learned is the best way possible:  by seeking the company of others.  One cannot write a novel, go about the active physical and introspective motion of pounding a keyboard with all one's got, by engaging with others.  It is just not possible. So, therefore, I must, after 44 years, learn how to comfortably be alone-- utterly and completely alone.

This will be hard for me, I must tell you.  Maybe the hardest thing I have ever done.  Close to needing the  amount of strength that I can only assume would be required to overcome addiction to cigarettes. I have only lived alone for a total of less than 2 years, but in those meager two years, I managed to stay engaged with others most of the time.  In fact, I probably managed to be with people for almost all of my waking hours (and even many of my non-waking hours to be blunt). I would wake up, get dressed, go to school, then to work, then out after work somewhere or invite others over to my apartment.  I was never lonely and if I was, it never lasted long.  I would always manage to find someone to be with (the quality of the other person sometimes had to be brushed aside, but no matter).  I was afraid to be alone then, more than 10 years ago, and, sadly, I still am today.

But, and this is a whopping BUT, I never let my fears go on forever.  I have simply been dealing with other fears in my life.  For instance, I, at one time, had intense and debilitating social phobia (ironically it would seem).  So, what did I do to get over it?  Traveled to Europe for the first time--alone, and had a crazy, wonderful, liberating time doing it--meeting people I would have never dreamed of meeting if I had stayed at home.  So, in other words, I was never really alone (once again).  Just left my home by myself.  Another fear of mine---giving presentations.  So, what else did I do? I went through a grueling Masters program that required complete surrender of my own isolation by being put on the spot for every minute of every seminar that I attended, giving many of my own 20-30 minute presentations along the way.  I think I am finally cured of that fear now, too.  And thank goodness for that.

So, now the time has come to work on my stubborn fear of solitude, once and for all.  I know it will be hard.  I know that I will probably keep giving up, over and over again, finding myself back where I started.  But, one thing I do know absolutely.  Something good will come out of it:  my writing. My cherished, soul-wrenching, profound, uniquely raw and unspoiled, and, I hope one day, brilliant writing.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Just a Note

Since I have a few followers (although I am not sure you are all still with me), I figured I'd write a post just to check in and keep you abreast on what is going on in my life.  I have finally finished my Masters degree.  I handed in my masters thesis 3 weeks ago and will be graduating at last on May 10th.  I will absolutely not miss attending the ceremony.  Many years and an enormous amount of work were put into my degree, from work in an art history program, a short stint in architecture school, to a very intense English program.  I wrote my master thesis on Jane Austen and the picturesque landscape within the novel Sense and Sensibility. It certainly was an interesting thesis to write, and, even better, it somehow managed to incorporate many of my interests within a mere 70 pages.  

If you are still following me, you may have noticed that I have been posting only portions of my creative writing and no more book reviews etc.  I am not attempting to point my blog in a different direction, but merely focusing, at the moment, on attempting to write creatively and mainly fiction.  I have a good general plan right now for a potential novel, or what I would call "a semi-gothic psychological romance flipped on its head".  I am having a bit of difficulty with time management and of course trying to understand how to access my fiction muse, so I am trying to get a good routine going as well as the practical aspects of being self-employed with an office within the home i.e. keeping accurate records, receipts etc. for tax purposes.  I have found that when it comes to poetry, the ideas have no choice but to come out and get written, but fiction is a bit more subtle.  The ideas are in the mind, and it is up to the writer to process them into something more concrete.  This can be frustrating at times, but it is my hope that it will be rewarding in the end.

Please keep with me on my journey.  I will be around more now;  perhaps with more book reviews, non-fiction pieces, or more of my writing.  It is always hard to know in advance where my mind may take me, but it is always a surprise, even to me.  So, take care, and be assured in knowing that I will be with you again shortly.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My Red Velvet Cloak (written Fall 2003-a year before the birth of my son)

This is a re-post of an old poem written almost 10 years ago.  If anything, it shows how far I've come with my writing (it took all I had not to edit it).  The basic premise is still meaningful and close to my heart.  That is, remembering the feeling of being in the womb:

Mother, Mother, where have you been?
I miss that red velvet cloak
You held within.
I miss its soft caress
full of smiles and warmth,
and the love of a kindred soul
long lost, but never forgotten.

Mother, Mother
please put it on...
It isn't worn, or full of dust,
not yet, if ever it was.
Ah, but you have given it to me, for keeps
and I have put it away in safety,
so that I too may unfurl
It's red river of comfort
to the next bright star, who waits, in the wings.