A Bird’s Frantic Tattoo – Writing Avian Poetry

Today I have been writing bird poetry. Or poems that relate to birds. I was inspired by listening to the Overdue podcast and it was on Fifty Shades Darker. One of the guys said that here we learned about the birds and bees, but in this case the bees had whips and the birds wore corsets.

I love the imagery of a delicate bird wearing a corset. Being confined so it can’t fly. Okay, love might be the wrong word. Inspirational. So I started writing about that. Unfortunately, the only images I could find when I typed in ‘bird in corset’ was women dressed in corsets and feathery costumes. Or in cages (not sexual).  But it brought the ‘bird in a cage’ feel to my mind, so escapism. I am interested to see where this takes me.

But then I was writing bits and pieces of poetry that relate to birds.

‘I have a sparrow’s heart fluttering, beating a frantic tattoo tucked away in a locked jewel box….’

or

‘The sweet damp spring calls me, a meadowlark robin am I, a trickling chattering blackbird….’

That last one turned into a two-page poem in my journal. Granted, I was using the italic nib on my fountain pen. (it uses up ink and space on a page quickly.) I want to revise it and work on it more.

Anyways, maybe it’s the spring and every morning there are birds everywhere. I hear so many birds because we are in the country and have this habitat that they love. The nesting that is going on. And the other night, I actually think it was last night, I stepped outside and I could smell the damp mist from the mountains mixing with the humid air and the scent of new cottonwoods with their spicy, musky-sweet resinous smell that is so rich and intoxicatingly good. I could hear the creek and feel the cut grass beneath my feet. There were tiny mouse-ear aspen leaves and grape hyacinths blooming. There was this silent explosive feeling to the moment. It was something I wished I could run out in and be a part of. A wild woman Taurus child. I like planting my feet in the earth and taking hold while my mind galavants off into the sky.

Fanciful, yes?

So that is me right now.  This post is a bit ADD and rambly. I should also mention I am reading Ada Limon‘s Bright Dead Things, one of my favorite books. I love this book of poetry and frequently check it out from the library.  I just looked. I’ve checked it out 6 times in the last year.  The second section and the melancholy is calling to me. Life is discouraging now. I can’t go into more than that. But Ada’s words are helping me. (they are also making me want to have my poems in print)

What are you all writing right now? What is inspiring you? I’d love to know.

Oh, and check out Overdue podcast. The two guys, Craig and Andrew, are hilarious as they go through books you should have read or have been meaning to read. And there are spoilers.

Kate

Dabbling…In and Highlighting NOPW

Writer’s Digest and the Poem a Day (PAD) started and we are here on day 15 with hardly anything to show for it. I started feeling a bit guilty that I wasn’t following along and cranking out a poem for every prompt. Till I got to the halfway point and said, fine, I don’t care. I stopped worrying about it because I knew I wouldn’t be able to play catch up.

Ironically, I was able to crank out 4 poems in 45 minutes the other day with my writing group. Granted, they aren’t that great, though three have promise if I clean them up. I still probably won’t accomplish PAD, but I might be able to dabble in a few more. Sometimes it takes me a while to get back to finding a poem in a simple prompt. This coming from someone that can usually come up with something with just about anything. Give me a picture, let me stare at it for a few minutes, and I can usually start off on the start of a story, or idea. Maybe not a poem, but definitely something.

For some reason though, this time around, the prompts have left me, well, hanging. Maybe it’s me. Today’s prompt is a Two for Tuesday is a Life or Death poem. Honestly, this one hits close to home as I have a friend who’s wife at 30 had a stroke then found out she had cancer. Talk about being hit by a wall.  Talk about a subject that triggers all kinds of things.

But a good segue to bring up something.  For those interested, there is a GoFundMe for my friend and his wife here at, Lift For Lainee, and I also want to bring attention to National Orange Popsicle Week or NOPW which brings awareness to those who have had a stroke at a young age. As they say “We consider a young stroke survivor to have had their stroke under the age of 45 because most statistics show that 45 is considered young for having a stroke. 20-to-64-year-olds make up 31 percent of all strokes.”  Who knew it was kind of rare? I didn’t. And talk about a life changing thing to have to relearn how to walk, or move, or speak, or, well, do just about anything we take for granted. I urge anyone to take a look at NOPW which has a rather cool story as to the name….  You can also check out their Facebook page here NOPW-FB.

Do you know of someone that has suffered a stroke at a young age? Maybe you would be interested in the site and organization.

Also, you can see why life and death have been on my mind, not to mention another dear friend who has had to go back in for another round of chemo. How does one even rationalize death or the word ‘cancer’ and not think of death?  Despite being a believer and knowing where I end up when I die, death still is something I struggle with. Surprisingly, I haven’t experienced much death in my life other than two great- grandparents, one at an early age. It hasn’t been one of those things where I even remember it much. So as friends age, or get sick, it comes to my mind.

I am reminded of Dylan Thomas’ poem do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night (which I may or may not have mentioned in a recent post about Bob Dylan and Dylan Thomas….)

Do not go gentle into that good night
Dylan Thomas, 1914 – 1953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

SO good friends who read this blog….. Do not go gentle into that good night….

Kate

Jesus Calling Adult Coloring Book – A Review

Jesus Calling Adult Coloring Book: Creative Coloring & Hand Lettering By Sarah Young

I was quite excited to try out this book as adult coloring has become the ‘it thing’. Also, I was given Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling devotional, so I knew the author and was excited to see how she took parts of her work and added them to a coloring book.  The book is large, being 10″ x 10″, with pages that are perforated and can be torn out.  Each page contains very detailed drawings of God’s creation, and or a phrase or statement from Jesus Calling.  There is a basic introduction and guide on how to use the book at the front and a practice page at the end of the book to work on lettering. The drawings are elegant and intricate enough to hold meticulous colorers, as well as having plenty of pages with larger spaces to color. Some pages have the sayings outlined for filling in, while others are shaded to practice lettering.

The book is quite elegant with metallic coloring on the cover. The feel alone of the book is lovely.  The introduction and practice pages left me a little confused as to how I am specifically supposed to do lettering, and I haven’t taken the time to look online.  The pages take colored pencil well, though I would say that just plain Crayola colored pencils are actually easier to use than my Prismacolor pencils. The Prismacolor pencils tend to ‘grab’ the page and create a drag that make it harder to color. Crayola is slicker and dryer; less oily.

My attempts at the lettering stopped the minute my fountain pen ink bled through the page. I have a light hand with fountain pen ink, so I figured it would work like a marker. Personally, I would be afraid to try markers or watercolor paints for fear it would bleed through.

While every page is perforated so that it can be torn out, a spread seems to coincide with each other, so if you tore it out, then you lose the aesthetic of the saying with the image. Maybe I’m too picky about this. Maybe most people wouldn’t want to frame these and they use them more for meditation, but I have a bit of an OCD thing where I like things to match up. Also, due to the page size, I’m not sure you could ever frame it. Though I could see a charming display tacked up to the wall. Very country-esque.

All in all, I would probably give this book a 3 out of 5 stars. The biggest complaint being the bleedthrough, which a lot of adult coloring books seem to have.  As well as losing pages due to the dual sided quotes on pages.

Kate

Listening To Bob Dylan

American folk and rock singer Bob Dylan, who was born on the 24th of may in 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota. — Image by © 91040/dpa/Corbis

Recently I have taken to liking Bob Dylan and his music. Not all of it, but a select few. I find it funny since I used to inwardly scoff at his music. Possibly because he was popular during the Vietnam War. Why that should make any difference at all doesn’t make any sense since I particularly like music from the 60s and 70s. Maybe it’s because I can actually appreciate the story being told in one of his many songs, whereas before, I was more interested in the beat. I didn’t know how connected to stories in songs I would get over the years of writing.

The first song I remember being introduced to was ‘Lay, Lady, Lay‘, and at the time I didn’t even know it was Dylan. But I fell in love with it. Over the years I’ve slowly added to my small collection of his songs. The stories in all of them are magical and as a writer, I can appreciate the condensed tale told.  I actually wonder if contemporary folk music appeals to the writer in us due to the story being told? I can honestly say that country music that has a story, I do have to quantify it, appeals to me. I like songs without a story, in fact, most of what I listen to wouldn’t qualify as much of a story and more of a ‘feeling’.  But if I start really thinking about songs that grab and hold me, they tell a story.

Thinking about Bob Dylan always reminds me of something I read in Poemcrazy where Susan Wooldridge was talking about him carrying around an armload of words. Turns out, it wasn’t Bob Dylan she was talking about, but Dylan Thomas, the poet. While I have a book of his poetry, I’m not as familiar with his works, so somehow I thought it was  Bob Dylan. While I had the person wrong, I still picture Bob Dylan carrying around armloads of words, racing to get to his black typewriter, up winding stairs in a small garret at an Irish inn on dreary, wet Irish days.

The actual quote about Dylan Thomas from Poemcrazy is as follows:

Dylan Thomas loved the words he heard and saw around him in Wales. “When I experience anything,” he once said, “I experience it as a thing and a word at the same time, both equally amazing.” Writing one ballad, he said, was like carrying around an armload of words to a table upstairs and wondering if he’d get there in time.

My image is certainly fanciful at best in regards to Bob Dylan. Who knows if he used a typewriter or wrote his music in Ireland.  I know I’m probably completely wrong, but if you listen to his words you feel the lyrical quality, and I can’t help but imagine the songwriter is this way. In Ireland. Go figure.

I carry boatloads of words in my head constantly. I have lost countless poems or starts of poems by not having paper at hand when I need it. I have a small pocket journal I have just for this reason, but like my camera when I don’t have it I need it and when I do have it I don’t need it, my writing is the same way. I never write when I have paper at hand. I write when I am scrambling frantically for any scrap piece of paper at hand. Netflix flyers, bill envelopes, receipts, margins of something and various other odd places. I have a folder/envelope of scraps of paper with the starts of poems. I have been meaning to transcribe them onto a document, or into one notebook, but I have yet to sit down and do anything with it. The question of, ‘Will I ever really use that and do I need to compile it all down?’ frequently hits my mind.

There is a panic that starts when I can’t find paper. I try to repeat the lines over and over in my head in the hopes that I will remember it for the next five minutes till I find paper, but inevitably I am asked a question, interrupted or just don’t have a moment to grab a paper and pencil.  It’s aggravating like that itch you can’t scratch. Knowing that the lines were just there. If only there was a way to scoop all those words up in a bucket that holds onto them until you can come back to collect them.

I try to make sure I keep a notebook, journal or index card with me whenever I go out. Of course, because I have that ready, I rarely write out in public.

In no particular order, Bob Dylan songs I currently love are, Lay, Lady, Lay, The Girl From The North Country, Mr. Tamborine Man, To Fall in Love With You, and Shelter From The Storm.

My one Dylan Thomas poem I currently keep rereading due to a friend’s young wife having cancer and is recovering from a stroke, is Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.

 

The Old Pirate – Poem

The Old Pirate

Under the old clock towers on a full moon night
and the asphalt and cobblestones are wet with a shine
he clomps and staggers in cracked leather boots.
He once was a pirate by trade
sailing off to adventures a many
looting and pillaging and carousing around
letting the gold slip and tumble through his fingers
as easily as the rum slipped down his throat
so full of life was he, till it came back to bite.
A rabid dog bite of a drunken haze.
He’s a cloak of invisibility of old man now
worn and tired and rather gray
aged and fat and a little more drunk
ancient adventures lost in delusional bursts
brandishing half empty bottles and shouting
the insanity creeping insidiously in
slumped on the cold stone steps.
He’s less than half the man of long ago
when he was a dashing charming sort.
Now all that’s left is this sad old man
sailing off in memories long forgotten
growing colder under the towers of time
till time eventually stops and he’s frozen
no longer anything but a once told tale
when the morning comes and they heave him so
up into a cart and tossed not into the sea
but to earth interned never to sail again.

 

I was feeling uninspired by the prompts I pulled for writing at my writing group this morning. So Sera graciously offered to pull some for me. I should have requested a random pulling instead of specifically looking for ones…. I know what you did, Sera…., but she pulled ‘full moon, clock towers, he was a pirate, grey silk, adventure, cloak of invisibility.’  I added in my one ‘wet asphalt’ and suddenly I was picturing the ‘wish realm’ version of Captain Hook that was featured recently on Once Upon a Time. But then I thought, what would this old pirate look like in the real world and would he drink himself to death….? Apparently he became that way, though there were some that didn’t realize I killed off this pirate. Hopefully it’s clear.  Enjoy this very random piece of poetry, and very open verse as well.

Kate

Bit Behind

I’ve been a little uninspired, a little behind, and a bit busy to post. I have things in the works, but I’m not getting a lot of time to write blog posts with life getting in the way. Life is very good at doing that. Not to mention distractions and wanting to read instead of write.

Hopefully something new soon.

Kate

Power-tools and Old-Fashioneds – Flash Fiction

“Helloooo,” Maisie called as she tapped on the window of Cap Browning’s side door.  There was no response, though she had just heard a power saw running down, so she opened the door and poked her head in.

“Cap?” she called, then jumped when Cap came out of the side doors from his spare room that he used for storage and winter wood building.

“Ah, Maisie, I wondered when you might be up.  Come to sample my new brew?”

“You did say to come up when I wanted some.  I brought a bottle too since you mentioned you didn’t like this batch.”

Cap shook his head slowly.  “Nah, this one is too sweet for my tastes and I have gotten tired of trying to finish it off.  I’ve switched to drinking old-fashioneds.”  He motioned for her to come in and he headed off down the hall, a board over his shoulder.

Maisie followed him, setting down her bottle on the kitchen island before hurrying after him.  She noticed the open bottle of maraschino cherries and the bottle of whiskey sitting on the cutting board with a couple of orange slices. She wondered how many old-fashioneds Cap had already had.

“What are you up to?” Maisie asked as Cap stepped into his small, open-spaced, plant room.  He set the board into the unfinished window sill and glanced back.

“Trying to finish trimming out this window.  But it seems like I can’t get this board to fit.”

No doubt it was due to a few too many drinks, thought Maisie, but she just grinned at Cap.  “Well, it’ll be lovely when it’s done,” she commented.

 

Oh my gosh, I thought I had posted this bit of flash fiction! I had written it almost 4 years ago when I stopped by a friend’s and he was literally working with a chop saw cutting trim for a window. He was on his second old-fashioned, I think, when I came up with a bottle for him to transfer one of his homemade beers into. He didn’t like it but my family did.  I still think, man, should you have been cutting wood while drinking?  That being said, ‘Cap’, makes incredible old-fashioneds. I need to ask him to make me one again, soon. (His mojitos are to die for, along with his Montana Mules. Can you tell I like his drinks?)

Kate

Writing In A Book and The Story It Created – Flash Fiction-y

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was reading Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford the other day, and within a few moments I read a couple of lines that had me needing a pencil as I had an idea that I had to write down.  At the time, I was indisposed without my notebook or pen. I started panicking because I knew if I didn’t write it down I would forget it. Fortunately, I found blank pages at the back of the paperback and I was able to have my sister get me a pencil tout de suite.

So there I was scribbling in a book. Something that I rarely do. In fact, I posted my interesting dilemma on Facebook and Susan Wooldridge’s responses were wonderful.

read-ex-libris

 

 

ann-fadiman

I found out as an interesting factoid today in my writing group that those pages at the back of the book are for taking notes. I love it! I am forever needing to make notes, but I am not always one to go crazy and write in my books. I make notes in the margins; word definitions and such. But It’s almost hard to go crazy with my markings in a book. I’m learning if I am going ot keep the book and it’s one I need to make notes in, I do. Cookbooks especially.

Well, writing in this particular book created this bit of flash fiction that  I have no idea if it is going anywhere, but I like it.

 

Despite their close proximity to their neighbors, the dead keep to themselves in their solitary graves; they don’t talk back. At least to each other. It makes cemeteries rather quiet, unless you’re like me. You see, I can talk to the dead. Sometimes at night, when the dead seem to be more restless, I go and perch on headstones and have a chat. I’ve met lots of nice dead people. The fresh ones being more chatty than ones who have been dead for quite some time. But they never talk to each other.

Why I can talk to them but they can’t talk to each other is a mystery. I’ve talked to my psychic friend, Paul, but even he can’t get a proper hello out of any dead. They ignore him. In fact, they ignore me if he’s around. Trust me, I’ve tried to prove that they talk to me, but whenever I bring Paul around, it’s like nobody is home. Dead silence. Ha ha, even I have to laugh at that joke.

So, when I can’t sleep at night, I head up to Piedmont Hill and visit. I have my favorites; the ones who talk about their kids and life, or the ones who have been buried a while and want to know what’s new in the world. Sometimes I try to talk with someone who has been buried for a hundred years or so and saw the old days, but like I said, they are content in their solitary confinement, rarely answering. Though there is one grave for a Captain John Werthers who was originally from Liverpool, England. he always tells me to go bugger off. Even though it’s really rude for him to say that, it always makes me chuckle. Sometimes I go to say hello just to be annoying. Supposedly he was a loving father and devoted husband, but I wonder since he’s so crotchety.

My favorite graves are the Deveraux Sisters; Elise and Della. Both dies of scarlet fever in the 30s. They are so sweet and hilarious, though again, they only talk to me, never to each other and they don’t want to hear about the other sister. Inf fact, they don’t ever believe me when I mention they are buried next to each other. I’ve tried seeing if anyone ever wants me to carry a message to someone else buried, but there’s this weird sort of structure where no one ever believes that they are buried next to a loved one. Like everyone is in stasis and the loved ones must be living.

Which is funny and annoying when they ask about how a loved one is doing and I tell them they are buried next to each other, or two rows down. They start shouting at me to which I shout at them and look like a crazy person yelling in a cemetery. At night. Which I am. Maybe I am crazy….

 

So there it is. I sish I could find an image I saved years ago that I feel fit with this story, but I have too many image files. If I ever find it I’ll add it….

Kate

Guest Posts Are Like Crocheting A Present

oliver-thomas-klein-207908Just this last week I wrote a guest post for Patti, who is writing the biography of my favorite author, Emilie Loring. You can read my guest post here. Guest Post: I Became a Writer Because of Emilie Loring.

I have only written two guest posts in my blogging life. It’s not that I don’t like writing guest posts, but I actually usually avoid them because they are like when I crochet a present for someone. How you ask?

Well, see when I write for my blog, I am not always grammatically correct and I throw in fragments and quirky writing. But when I am writing a guest post, I sit there and try to revert back to my high school English. Or at least to the best of my remembrance of the rules. Language was never my strong suit and I never really liked it. Ironic as I am a writer.

So I try to make a post as neat and tidy as possible. To which you are asking why this is like a crochet project.

When I am crocheting a something for someone, I am worried about every little stitch and have been known to take out entire rows because I missed one stitch that I could easily add in later, but to me it’s obvious. If it were something for myself, I might fudge it. But for a gift, it had better be pretty darn neat and tidy.

Same applies to guest posts. I like to be grammatically correct and sound like a writer. My writing gets messy and goes all over the place. Oh sure, I go back and clean things up for a lot of writing, but not always with a blog post. Sometimes I let a typo slip. Or I don’t worry if something rambles on. Now that I use Grammarly, it kind of warns me when I’m getting really messy, and sometimes I take its suggestion, but I still like to let my writing show me. I am a cluttered person and my thought process is very strange sometimes, but it is me.

That guest post is like standing on stage and straightening your skirt and making sure your hair is smoothed down. You want to like slightly presentable.

But I still enjoy doing a guest post here and there. Haha, my two! How do you feel about guest posting?  Or how do you feel about others guest posting for you? I’ve never asked someone to write a guest post. I always feel a little protective of my blog so I’ve been afraid to ask someone to guest post for me. Maybe I need to step out of my comfort zone.

Kate

Beginnings

Every week Les writes for about 30 minutes. That’s it. 30 minutes every Saturday in our writing group. She writes beginnings. She pulls a prompt and from there runs with it. She never finishes the story, leaving us in an agonizing hanging sort of way as we wonder what happens. But each week she pulls a new prompt and starts a new beginning. She says she is going to write a book of her beginnings. I rather like that idea. A book of starts. You could travel off with them yourself, or heck, as our writing group suggested, have them for a creative writing class in high school where the kids have to finish the stories.

I actually understand that feeling. Writing a beginning. Most of my ideas for novels came from a beginning from a dream mixed with a song lyric or song and some random thought. Nothing fancy, but suddenly a whole world has exploded out into this world of characters that are connected to other novel’s characters.  I know, books start with beginnings. It’s a duh moment. But what I mean is, I never plan to have a novel. I never sit down and go, “I’m going to write a novel.” I just have an idea so I start writing a ‘blurb’ of sorts, and then I’m planning houses and names and places they visit and who is in like with who (I say like because while love is the ultimate goal, it starts off as a like).

John Ireland in 1917, by Jane Emmet de Glehn

John Ireland in 1917, by Jane Emmet de Glehn

Today I woke up to the sounds of a piano boldly crashing as my alarm radio zinged on to NPR’s First Concert Saturday…. John Ireland’s Legend symphony was 3 minutes in and it hit me like a Rachmaninoff dirge. But I kind of liked it. In a “it woke me up jazzed and ready for my writing group” sort of inspiration.  So I wrote a beginnings because of it.

“She woke to the sounds of John Ireland’s ‘Legend’ symphony. Dramatic piano’s plundering the deep and depth of a gray and solemn day. Raw like Rachmaninoff. Depressing. Moody. The radio crackled with static as the pounding woke her up, her mind light-hearted and ready to start the day despite the dirge.”

That’s it. Nothing much, but a beginning non-the-less. I like the idea of a book of beginnings. Most of my writing group, other than the unholy writings of Sera who had too many novels plotted out, writes beginnings. Maybe it’s just our way of getting a start.

Kate