Day 16 – Poetry for Lent

Revolution of Grace

Revolution brewing                      Revolution
Hunger & rage                           brewing hunger
breed                                   and rage breed
Rebellion born                          unrest

Districts rise                          On a donkey
the Mockingjay                          Jesus
a symbol                                Savior
a tool unwillingly                      a Son willingly
wielded                                 sacrificed
to strike the capitol                   to save the people
violence justified                      forgiveness granted
They get what                           we got what
they deserve                            we didn't deserve

Day 13 – Poetry for Lent

Negative Space

The idea of negative space has intrigued me ever since I had an instructor talk about it in an art class. So much of art can be applied to life, don’t you think?

I think I’ll play around with light and dark font/background for this piece. It might add to the impact. And of course, the poem itself is rough, but I think there are some good seeds here….

You must add the darks,
my art teacher said
to balance the lights.

    My darks creep in and
    muddy my light 

Negative space
my art teacher called it
The space that
surrounds an object
defines it boundaries
and finds its edges

    Depression confines me,
    cuts edges with razor blade steel

An object doesn't become real
my art teacher said
doesn't stand out
until you add shading.

     What I am not
     helps make what I am real

The mix of positive and negative space
my art teacher said
brings balance 
to a composition.
 
     Learning to think 
     in shades of gray
     brings balance
     to my life.

Day 12 – Poetry for Lent

As I head to work in the morning, I drive over the bayou bridge where I can see the sun rising in the East, and the moon still showing in the West. This particular poem catches my oh-so-often feeling of being caught in the middle of things and not knowing which way to go.

Somewhere Between

Red sun on my left
full moon on the right
here i am again
stuck ‘tween day and night

Dare i move south
or should i go north
i tremble with fear
afraid to sail forth

Opportunities abound
in what lies ahead
so why does it seem
there’s nothing but dread?

Go forth take a risk
sail on take a chance
you might be surprised
to enjoy the dance

But still i wait here
locked in the middle
hoping the sun
might move just a little.

Day 5 – Poetry for Lent

Night Rain

I love listening to the sound of rain when I’m in bed. It raises a sense of nostalgia, a feeling of melancholy–but not in a bad way.

The night saturates
the land
Dark fat drops
plink and plonk
before settling into 
a steady drumming
beating a rhythm
the lyrics full of 
longing, burgeoning
with desire and
melancholy
the notes rise
like trout to a
fly floated down a
dark slick of water
just there and then
swallowed.

Day 1 – Poetry for Lent

Angel Sighting

This poem is essentially a prose poem, but since I’ve never written a prose poem before, I wasn’t sure what the structure should be. When I have more time, I’ll revisit and try it in paragraph form.

The content came to mind during the last several sermons we’ve had in church, where people shared a personal experience they’ve had with God. It reminded me of a time (way back) when I was visited by an angel–or so I do believe.

I met an angel the other day,
   downtown, in the rain, by the swollen river.
I was supposed to be scavenger hunting
   with a group of teenagers from my friend’s church,
   but they were clean and bright, and alive
      —it was April and most things were coming to life—
      searching for a statue, stained glass window, pigeon,
           and a playground with a slide.
I didn’t fit in, so I told my friend
      —a good, long-suffering friend who didn’t deserve 
      to be saddled with someone searching meaning instead of a statue, 
           for peace instead of a pigeon, 
           for a window, stained or otherwise, out of the pain—
I had to leave
      and that’s how I ended up untethered by all that rushing water
           offering peace
           —or at least an escape from pain.

I watched a branch twirl,
      spin, go under, and re-surface,
          dancing in the current that bore it inexorably away
                until it was no more.
And it looked easy,
      like I could jump in
          and disappear,
                that water delivering
                     a cold hard slap to startle in a breath
                     like  a new born babe
                          but instead of air and cries,
                          water and silence.
It would be like going backward, I think,
   like being unborn, 
     taken apart until there is no more known or unknown,
         no more pain that eats and eats and eats 
             chewing through heart and soul until one is consumed alive
                 but still ravenous.
I think all these things, 
      growing numb in the downpour,
      leaning a bit farther over the riverwalk edge
      to peer at the welcoming waters below.

And that’s when the angel appeared 
  —although maybe he was there for quite awhile and I just never noticed,
  too engrossed in beating back thoughts of failure, 
         the words never get better
         clashing in my head with always feel this way,
         supposed to be fixed,
         and can’t stand this anymore.
“Whatever you’re thinking,” he said, voice calm and tug-boat steady,
      as if we were friends in the midst of a conversation,
“It’s not the answer.” 
      Solemn faced, brown eyes clear and direct, 
      he held my gaze.
“Ok,” I said, 
  nodded and polite smiled, 
    looking back at the water which churned indifferent below,
        wondering what he saw, what my face could possibly have shown.
    “How—" I turned back 
           —whether to plead or question, I’m not sure-
but he was gone. 
  Not just walking away
—the area open with nothing to block my view, no place for him to hide—
      but disappeared. 
Gone.

Sure, you might be skeptical
      might think I made it up
          or maybe even imagined it.
He certainly wasn’t how I would’ve described an angel before
      —no wings, no bright light—
but how else might you explain what happened?

I sought a different answer
     than what the river offered that day.

What Does Your Bookshelf Say About You?

Bedroom Bookshelf

Bedroom Bookshelf

Being a reader, a writer, and a librarian, I have a lot of bookshelves in my house. So many in fact, that you’d think I’d have plenty of room for the new book I’d recently purchased—it wasn’t even a thick book, only 249 pages. But no, when I attempted to squeeze it on the bookshelf in my room, it wouldn’t fit. Nor would it fit with the books on the top of my husband’s dresser. No room on the living room bookshelf either — and certainly not on the shelves downstairs, crowded three times deep.

As I dug through my books, wondering if there were any I could bear to get rid of, I pondered what would be gained, and what would be lost if we went to all ebooks. Obviously, on a virtual bookshelf I could have thousands of books and never run out of shelf space. But on the flip side, bookshelves instill character and personality in a room. If books aren’t a Feng Shui thing, they should be. All those stories, ideas and possibilities create good mojo—I’m sure of it.


IMG_6269When I go over to someone’s house, I love to look at two things — what they hang on their walls, and what is on their shelves. I don’t like to think I’m judgmental about bookshelves, but I probably am—just a little. Mostly if the person doesn’t have any books at all on the bookshelf. I mean really, that’s as sad as having an ice cream cone with no ice cream.

So take a look around you. What does your bookshelf (or bookshelves if you are like me) say about you?

IMG_6270Maybe it should be a new type of personality test. All Fiction on your shelf? You’re an F: a dreamer, an escape artist, and a traveler. You are empathetic and can often see multiple ways of looking at an issue.

All Non-Fiction on your shelf? You’re an NF: a realist, someone who believes in the here and now—as well as in the power of the past. You feel more comfortable with facts than with possibilities, and you believe the more you know, the better off you will be.

IMG_6266Does you bookshelf host a number of both fiction and non-fiction books, like mine? You’re an FNF. You don’t believe you can really dream, reach for the stars, or try new things until you know the facts about this life, this world we live in. You are a realistic dreamer or a dreamy realist. Start where you are and go from there.

Stay with me here, I’m just warming up.

IMG_6268How about Literary or Genre reading? An L type of bookshelf says the reader is well educated (or striving to be), likes to go beneath the surface of things. Often more reserved, this reader tends to observe and analyze things before jumping in. L readers appreciate the story and the language as a form of art. A G reader, on the other hand, likes to get what they want, and quickly. They tend to be action-oriented, and don’t believe in beating around the bush.

Office Area Bookshelf

Office Area Bookshelf

How am I doing so far? Look at those shelves. Do I know you yet?

Some people like their bookshelves arranged in a certain order. Organized—or O bookshelves—have some sort of orderly system. Books are arranged by size, color, theme, genre, author. This person is efficient, organized, and likes to have things make sense. Being a librarian, I know all about this dewey decimal (or should I call it OCD?) mentality—but my shelves at home? Not so much.

Basement Bookshelves (top shelf)

Basement Bookshelves (top shelf)

Random–or R people–accept that life can be random. Their bookshelves are a mishmash of titles, genres, sizes, knick-knacks, and treasures of all sorts. No particular order means searching for things, but the R person believes life is all about the journey.

Sparse bookshelves speak of a thoughtful person who believes the value of something lies in the quality of that item, person, or experience—not in the quantity. For S people, less is more—if that less has meaning. They easily let go of that which does not serve them (to use my yoga teacher’s words—and yes, I hear those words a lot. Maybe eventually they will even sink in.)

Basement Bookshelves (middle shelves)

Basement Bookshelves (middle shelves)

Cluttered bookshelves on the other hand, speak of an energetic person with multiple interests and curiosity. An idea person, this bookshelf displays a multitude of attempts, successes, and failures. Oddly enough, even though to an outsider there does not appear to be any sort of systematic arrangement of the books and other things on the shelf, C people will often notice if something is moved. (Not that I go moving things on someone else’s bookshelves… at least, not often.)

Basement Bookshelves (bottom shelves)

Basement Bookshelves (bottom shelves)

Then there are the Trinkets versus the No Trinkets. The NTs are purists at heart. Like the O bookshelf people, they like things to make sense, to have a clear purpose, and to do that purpose well. T bookshelf people are those who like to mix knick-knacks or trinkets in among their books. They are typically good at multi-tasking, and tend to be big-picture people rather than detail orientated.

Living Room Bookshelf (I'm not allowed to overfill it)

Living Room Bookshelf (I’m not allowed to overfill it)

Does your bookshelf contain mostly new books? Or do you love that old book smell and feel—yes, they do have a particular smell and feel about them. No doubt because of the paper used. OBs are seeped in tradition and NBs actively seek out the next great thing, the next experience.

Paperback or Hard-cover? PB people are frugal. Often they read to be entertained, and therefore want the freedom to travel far and wide, to read whatever suits their fancy. HC book lovers are the loyal, committed sort. Certain authors are like members of the family, and HC people want that relationship to stand the test of time.

Living Room Bookshelf

Living Room Bookshelf

There are the Self-Help book people (SH = independent, over-analyzers), the How-To manual sorts (HT = Detail people who like to follow the rules), the Memoir/Biography/Autobiography collectors (MBA = a people person, this individual is fascinated with how others live), the Inspirational book readers (I = those looking to deepen their spiritual experience), and the TextBook people (face it, TB people are either students who paid way too much for their books and consequently don’t want to sell it back for a fourth of the cost, or teachers who are never sure where or what they will be teaching).

IMG_6256

And finally, any good bookshelf analysis would be incomplete without mentioning the people who collect (and even sometimes read!) Poetry books. P people are deep—or want to be anyway. They are always looking for the essence of things, of life. Emotional—though they may not show it—these are your dreamers, your artists, your never-take-anything-at-face-value sorts.

Living Room Shelves

Living Room Shelves

So what do my bookshelves say about me? That I’m a FNF, L, G, O, R, C, T, NB, OB, P,B HC, SH, I, TB (only the Shakespeare book, I swear. It cost me half a year’s worth of meals.), and yes, a P.

Although, now that I think of it, it might just be easier to say I’m a reader and a writer.

Husband's bookshelf down in the man cave.

Husband’s bookshelf down in the man cave.

Summer Reading (from 1 of my libraries) -- kept in a bag because there is no room on the bookshelves.

Summer Reading (from 1 of my libraries) — kept in a bag because there is no room on the bookshelves.

 

Re-visioning for PLOT

Right now I’m in the middle of trying to re-vision the plot of my 3rd novel, I Feel For You

Revision - the precision part of writing.

Revision – the precision part of writing.

(IFFY). I’m using Scrivener – and really loving the corkboard part of it for visualizing. One thing I’ve been working on is adding information based on the book The Writer’s Little Helper (by James V. Smith) to the summary (what shows up on the corkboard).

I’m adding all the information on “The Scene Card” (page 114 of the 2006 ed.) So each summary tells:

  • who is in the scene,
  • what happens,
  • where and when it takes place
  • whether it is a master, major, or minor scene (as described in The Writer’s Little Helper, 42-43),
  • what the purpose of the scene is,
  • and finally the ratings on the ACIIDS intensity scale (pg.

This is what it looks like:

Scrivener's Corkboard

Scrivener’s Corkboard

IMG_4496

Writing outside the comfort zone — literally

The Writer’s Desk — where one creates highly important works of grandeur

Words of wisdom: Creating is not reliant on setting. One can still produce great works even when her desk is sandwiched between the cat litter pans and dirty laundry. (Even when her husband adds a box of indoor/outdoor pillows to the mess–right in the doorway at that.)

Cat litter pans

If you’ve been putting off writing or painting because you don’t have a creative workspace — be creative in the space you have. (and burn nice smelling candles when the occasion demands it.)

Just saying, don’t wait for perfect.

“It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.” -Stephen King (On Writing)

Are you cackling yet? Movies for writers.

Are you cackling yet?

In Terry Pratchett’s book, Wintersmith, it talks about how witches meet in order to keep an

Wintersmith — the importance of covens

eye on each other–to make sure they aren’t starting to cackle, as it were. That was the purpose of covens.

“‘Cackling’ to a witch didn’t just mean nasty laughter. It meant your mind drifting away from its anchor. It meant you losing your grip. It meant loneliness and hard work and responsibility and other people’s problems driving you crazy a little bit at a time, each bit so small that you’d hardly notice it, until you thought it was normal to stop working and wear a kettle on your head. It meant you thinking that the fact you knew more than anyone else in your village made you better than them. It meant thinking that right and wrong were negotiable. And, in the end, it meant you ‘going to the dark’ as the witches said. That was a bad road. At the end of the road were poisoned spinning wheels and gingerbread cottages. What stopped this was the habit of visiting. Partly because witches love gossip, especially if it’s more exciting than truthful. But mostly it was to keep an eye on one another.” (Wintersmith, pg. 19-20)

Don’t let your mind drift from its anchor

I’m thinking maybe writers should have covens too. I mean, think about it. Solitary profession that involves making stuff up–seems ripe for cackling, don’t you think? Mind drifting from its anchor, loneliness, hard work, other people’s problems — dang, that’s writers! How long does it take before your characters start telling you what to say and do? How long before you start arguing with your characters? Yup, I see some of you nodding your head. You know what I’m talking about. You need a coven–code name, writing group. Do not delay. Do not pass go. FInd yourself a writing group as soon as possible.

If you still don’t believe me (or Terry Pratchett), you should check out some movies about

Long hard trek high above the pit of despair

or with writers in them. They seem to fall pretty much into 2 categories–inspiration (as in, it will be a long hard slog so don’t give up) or warning (that’s the cackling part).

Maybe these movies should be required viewing for anyone considering becoming a writer. You know, as a sort of “look what could happen to you if you follow this path.” They can also serve in lieu of a cov–I mean, writing group. If you start to see yourself in any of these movies, maybe you need to take a break from writing, and, you know, go to the beach or grocery store or a therapy appointment or something.

Christina Katz has a list of 260 movies about writers and the writing life. Check it out here.

Here’s Geekweek’s list of the 20 greatest movies about writers.

IMDb has a list of movies about writers–I like that it gives a brief synopsis–and another list that includes writers and writing.

And then there is Wikipedia’s page with 140 films about writers. Again, I like that it gives descriptions.

So how many of these movies have you watched? Recognize yourself? Does that worry you–or should I say, should that worry you?

Self-reflection