You Have Permission To Not Write

Sometimes the words just don’t come. Sometimes they are there, but locked up tight and you just can’t get them out. And being a writer, well I’m going to tell you, you will feel guilty that you are not writing. I’ve felt it. Other writers have felt it.

Currently, I have a writing colleague who is feeling it. She told me the other day that she just hasn’t written. She can’t push it out and she just stares at the notebook, unopened. Hopefully that’s what she said. I thought it was. She was feeling guilty that she has so much to say, but just can’t get it out.

Well, I’m here to tell you, you have my permission to not write. You do not have to feel guilty one bit that you are not writing, because even as you don’t put words to paper, words are still forming in your head.  You still write without writing, by every single experience you have.  Ever little twist and turn of your day to day life is a constant moment for you to ‘write’. You write when you walk out the door and see something interesting. It may not be much, but the weather could spur on some thought. For me, it was hearing the words Orpheus and Eurydice and the letters they sent back and forth via Hermes. It’s from a series of sonnets by Rainier Maria Rilke.

Sometimes my writing well feels dried up. Like I just cannot get another thing out. I feel washed up. A hack…. Oh we writers are so dramatic sometimes. We go three days without writing and the world has ended. Lord, if I only could feel that way about laundry, or dishes.  More often than not, the days I’m dried up come after I’ve pushed myself to the limits and pounded out a 97 line, 16 stanza poem….. that was today. I know tomorrow I won’t be able to write. I’ll be too exhausted. But come two days from now, I’ll be wandering around with my journal or notebook feeling guilty that I haven’t penned anything profound.  Because I was just hacking it the other day. I mean, 97 lines for a poem is no small feat. But I will have forgotten it in lieu of my lack of more.

We writers are a greedy lot.  It’s never enough. We could write till we are blue in the face, our fingers falling off and it still would never be enough. You would think that my two to three poems a week would suffice my desires. But oh no, I feel it’s never enough.

So writer, dear, who vented to me. Don’t worry about it.  In fact, take a break. Drink some tea and watch the spring birds and flowers. Enjoy the sunshine and spring that we are having. The words will come. Probably at the most inopportune moment, such as when you are in the shower or washing dishes…. In fact, I highly recommend doing something where your hands are wet or dirty. Because then, trust me, the words will come, because it is at that moment you won’t be able to grasp a pen, the words do fly.

Kate

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Writers Need Thinking Space

Recently, it’s come to my attention, most writers don’t spend as much of their time writing as they do thinking. Though I already know this about myself, I have only just given it some thought. Although it is crucial that the keys on a typewriter are being pounded out, thinking is important. I was watching a marvelous documentary, California Typewriter; if you love typewriters you need to watch it. In the film, writer David McCullough is showcased as one who uses a typewriter. He was talking about how he goes out to his writing shed, and many times people could walk by the window and wonder what he’s working on, considering he sits there thinking. Not typing, Not writing. Thinking. But to a writer, thinking is writing.

I read an essay by Naeem Murr about his poet wife, Averill Curdy.  For those interested in a poet romantically, read this article.—> My Poet.  How as a poet, she spends a lot of time reading or not writing. Staring out a window thinking. Spending a morning madly scribbling ten ‘hopeful’ lines of poetry. I can completely relate. I am a fairly prolific writer, or so my friends and writer colleagues tell me. This last week I wrote 4 good poems, though I swear it was five. Even Lucifer was impressed at the amount since he says he gets out about a quarter of that. It might have actually been a quarter of a poem, but I can’t remember. This is actually unusual for me. One poem a week is grand; two extraordinary. Most of my time I’m dabbling in random lines. A journal entry. Reading. While I don’t have as much time to read, nor the patience, there is almost always a book in my hand. Be it poetry or, hopefully, some fiction. I spend most of my time working out things in my head. Days later I’ll come back to paper and jot it down. I could easily sit out in the sun with a scrap of paper, just in case, and think for ages.

This is why writers need their own writing space. Where they can’t be judged for not pounding out the words. Where, if they spend an hour shooting a rubber band at the ceiling and catching it, no one will say a thing. (I’ve never done it for an hour, but I have done it.)

This last Thursday, I spent the entire day working on a 43 line poem. The whole day to not even fill up an entire page. I’d work on it for a bit, get stuck, go wash the dishes, work again, fix lunch, back and forth. There was a lot of time not writing. A lot of time staring at the page, or pages of ideas, flipping things around until they worked. At one point I asked the family to give me a synonym for a word. The thought was expressed that the reason writer’s needed their own space was so they didn’t have to ask such questions of non-writers. They can go out to their own space and be far away from the ordinary person. I could take the mocking the other day because the thought of my own writing place over a projected garage, sounds ideal.

While I like being around people, and I need it, I also need far away. Or like on Saturdays, a place where other writers gather and are quiet. There is something about being with writers that is calming, even when chatting. It always goes back to quite and writing.

This is ideal…

Lucifer mentioned recently that he loves to go fishing and for the most part, I could do without that pastime. However, I’m going to have to see if he’ll let me tag along once the weather is conducive. He can fish and I can write. Or read. Or, gasp, that glorious feeling of being in nature with the sun, sky, water, and trees around, and think. Now that sounds divine. Granted, when I get with Lucifer, I don’t shut up much, unless he shuts me up. (He’s actually good at it) But I’d like to have some space and peace and quiet. No distractions. . . .Okay, that’s actually conditional as nature distracts me constantly. As well as Lucifer, but it’s the kind of distractions that all us writers need. The power to think. And some distractions are better than others.

…. and this is a bit of an exaggeration, but still….

Non-writers, (there should be a word like ‘muggles’ for non-writers) will never understand the not writing to write ratio. I can’t even fully explain it, but without it, I know I would never write very good things. It’s just one of those factors you can’t explain. This was something I tried to explain to my Chef when I said I needed more time to write. Working over 40 hours a week does not leave time to write, and by write, I mean thinking as well! That was before my crash, but still. Even my family doesn’t quite get it. It’s okay. So long as I have space, and the time to get away here and there, it works for the most part. I could use my butler, Sven, but since he’s constantly not working, well, I guess I’ll have to tackle house work on my own.

Now I need to get my writing place! And it needs to be comfy! Preferably one with a table for my typewriter (and the other one I want to get), my laptop, windows, and lots of bookshelves. A couple nice chairs and a love seat or couch… I’m really dreaming here. Oh, and a good sound system. So I can blast the jazz. Picture it. A hot summer night, windows open and the light is on in the garret as the sounds of trumpets float out of the open windows…. Don’t forget the crickets and the sweet smell of hot summer sun baked pine trees.

Kate

Spring Fever Obsessions Bursting Forth

Photo by Asa Rodger on Unsplash
West Highland Way, Glasgow, United Kingdom

I’m not sure what it is about this time of year, but I always get so stir crazy, word crazy, that I’m like one explosion away from stardust. A supernova of sorts. I pull out Poemcrazy and Foolsgold, stumbling through words and lust, emotions, passion. I crave base things. I crave human touch. I crave words filling me up and spilling out of my mouth, a fountain of ink. It’s definitely a Spring Fever right now.

Raw attraction is filling me up right now, and like anything that’s a semi drug, there’s this addiction factor that makes thinking a little hard to focus on reality. Words start meaning too many things, or not enough. Being surrounded by by someone’s presence in my mind and part of the week is overwhelming at times. Obsession might be a close word to describe the feeling. Or maybe it’s, ‘I just can’t get enough’, not being sure if I want more. It’s this weird flip back and forth world.  Impatience that I can’t be around Sampson more, who I’m renaming Lucifer, because he is most definitely a devil at times. The Angel and Lucifer. Me being the angel. He even asked me the other day if I was hiding behind a facade of ‘good girl’. What can I say, I am what I am. I am this nice girl. I am the non risk taker, the sweetheart, the ‘square’ at times, even with a slightly deviant side. There is a part of me that feels like people are waiting for me to mess up. Trust me, I don’t have plans to, and this ain’t no facade.

When I say I get like this every spring, I do get antsy. I mean, like really antsy. Just having a person you are interested thrown into the mix almost makes me want to run off to the wilds and rip off my clothes and skin and bare it all to the sun, mountains, wind, stars.

I was in a different place last week and in a spat of a few hours, I had started or written 6 poems. I have the March winds and spring blowing into me and my head. The fickle weather, Gaia at work, the sweet fecundity of leaves bursting forth, rivers filling and life all over. (bonus points if you know the meaning of fecundity, which sounds like a bad word, but isn’t.)

I’ll be like this for the rest of the month, into April and May, which always tweaks me out being that it’s my birth month and I always get a little wonky around my birthday. Another year older and all that rot. It’s rather lovely everyone at work doesn’t take issue with my age and thinks I’m younger than I am. I’m flattered finally. It took years to not be bothered by people thinking I was in my early twenties.

I’ve pulled out Poemcrazy, as usual, and I’m hunting down Foolsgold, wherever I may have shelved it, but it’s around. I’ll find myself reading these for days now, filling up my head with words and thoughts. I’ll probably find myself writing love poems. I do that sometimes, but again, when there’ someone you want to write love poems to, it’s even better. Whether or not I’ll send them, now that’s the real question.

Does anyone else get a little spring crazy, Spring Fever, this time of year? Share what makes you go a little bonkers.

Kate

 

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Metaphors Seemingly Abound

Recently, and much to my annoyance, chagrin, and well, I’m going to go with annoyance, Sampson, my sous chef, told me I write in a lot of metaphor. I had just gotten done handing him a poem that is riddled with metaphor, I get it, but it irked me. He, on the other hand, writes quite literally.  Okay, not always; he did just use Othello in one of his raps he shared, and it was a metaphor.

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The poem I wrote was filled with metaphor because I hadn’t wanted to state the obvious. The obvious is feeling like I’m in the middle of an ego war between my chef and sous chef. Do you honestly think I am going to spit that out as common knowledge? So metaphor is the only way to deal with it if I’m going to share it. Sure, using two chess kings and a queen make for a really good simile. Maybe because I feel like I’m on this playing field that is very much like a game at times. I’m the queen, by the way. I wrote the poem, read it off to my lovely writing group, but I did explain it to them. They got it.

I guess my question is, when is it too much metaphor? If I wrote it so that not everyone, unless I explained it, would know what I was talking about, but also anyone could read it and use it how they wanted, is that unreasonable? To me, no, but maybe I am going to metaphorical at times. I read Ada Limon and half the time I don’t know what she’s talking about, unless it’s a literal poem. I read many other poets that use metaphor all the time, or I don’t know if they are using metaphor because well, gosh darn it, I don’t know the poet. But do you think things can be too metaphorical at time?

I find it hard to always express myself in literal terms because it means being vulnerable if someone reads exactly what you are saying. So metaphor is a reliable tool when you want to say something, but don’t want to show your hand. Which is a lot of my life. That being said, I have used metaphor as just a way to express something more emphatically than if I was just stating it literally.

Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s Sampson. Maybe it was the day, or my mood or his mood, which was feisty, and I was irritated with him already because he left me hanging in a conversation and never answered. He still hasn’t answered.  I’m sitting there on a ledge, dangling off or waiting for that push from behind and the push isn’t coming. See, there’s my form of metaphor.

Below is a sample part of a poem I’m still debating on how to title. Basically , I was in the car with someone and he said something that literally shut me up and had me flushed super red. Trust me when I say it was really kind of sexy and the car got very hot, but at the same time it was good.  This is the metaphor that came out of it. Is it too ridiculous? I have another friend on the other hand, that said I have a gift. So basically Sampson is making me second guess myself. And now I’m back to being annoyed. But readers, what say you?

Want and need are two very different things here
in this game being played out with nothing more
than just a few words tossed onto the playing field.
It's a glance, thrown back and forth; a tennis volley.
I can see he's waiting for me to center
my lady and take what he's offering; a parlay;
what's mine for the asking, as he drives nearly
every thought out of my head; watching, reveling
in every glance tossed my way, filling the spaces
in between with tension so thick
it would take more than just a simple move,
it's no mere pawn stepping into arrows flying
back and forth in the small places between the attack.

So maybe I’m just trying to figure out my voice. I don’t think second guessing myself is a bad thing. How do we become strong writers if we don’t take criticism with grace? Compliments are all well and good, but we need criticism as well to survive. The bitter with the sweet. (bitter of course is the criticism) We can’t spend our whole lives eating sugar, we need some bitters to digest it all.

That being said, Sampson has irked me.  And all metaphor aside, I could lovingly stab him with my knife. (pardon the kitchen gallows humor)

Kate

And The Meal Was. . .

Fancy Toast by Joseph Gonzalez on Unsplash

She was served a lovely open faced sandwich of the nicest white bread, toasted lightly with thinly sliced green bell pepper and tomato topped with an over-easy fried egg. The floral plate was sprinkled with cilantro leaves and pinks. Another plate held a slice of the same white bread spread with only the best butter, whipped smooth and fresh strawberry jelly. A delicate teacup held a fragrant brew scented with rose and a fine oolong tea.  -Katie Lyn (just me describing the above photo if I were to write it in a book)

Have you ever paid attention to a meal when it is written about in a book?  Surprisingly, even though my eating habits lie along the lines of “have to” at this point in my life, I still appreciate good food and how it’s written. I think my first example of paying attention to food was a child’s books where bread, butter, and jam sandwiches were served. I can’t recall what book per se, but I have always paid attention to food. I aught to as my sister is forever keeping her journal which is basically recording down the day’s food. She reads  The Food Lover’s Companion like the Bible, and we collect cookbooks to read.

Emilie Loring books revel in good meals. The delight of delicately prepared vegetables, with Hollandaise sauce! Fragrant cups of coffee after dinner. Delightfully delicate sandwiches. Emilie must have enjoyed food. (let me check… Yep, read the second half of this blog post by Patti Bender. Emilie Loring: Good Company ) Food is what makes us all exist and what is the point of living without good food? (My current predicament is odd as I’ve always enjoyed food it’s just become a bit mundane at times for me. Go figure.)

I just started reading  What She Ate by Laura Shapiro and one chapter talks about the British author, Barbara Pym, who delighted in describing meals. She noted them in journals and never left out a simple meal. Apparently. I’m off on a quest to find one of her books as they sound marvelous. The thing that caught me the most was how Ms. Pym (don’t you just love that name?)  kept those notebooks where she wrote everything down. When she would go out people watching, every little detail was written down, especially the food. Describing a simple salad, or a boiled chicken. (They are very decidedly British after all) But food is described.

I’m in love. I mean, what better thing to focus on to slip into various bits of storytelling? We eat. I mean, I find it rather interesting that we never describe our daily ablutions in books, unless a woman is dressing and putting on her face. Granted, we don’t know all the daily doings of our characters, though I find it rather interesting. Personally. But back to food, most people enjoy eating. And we all want to eat well. What I think is eating well  might not appeal to others as I like fairly plain food, but I have never known someone to not enjoy a meal at our home. Simple is nothing to scoff at.

Why, the other night, I came home late from work where I was sending off fancy dishes, and my kept meal was pan-fried pork chop, sauted kale with garlic, farfalle with Parmesan and butter, and a simple salad (head lettuce and tomato, if I recall). Simple, basic, but pleasant after smelling so many exotic scents exiting my Chef’s kitchen.

If there is anything I can learn and glean from this essay on Barbara Pym, it’s to keep track of food better (not to mention people watch better)  and write it down. Even if watching a cooking show. Oh, I imaging Ms. Pym would have loved Barefoot Contessa!

Do you pay attention to food in books? Do you collect cookbooks and recipes? I certainly do, even if I never plan to cook them. My Library has plenty of lovelies. I carried on an online correspondence with a British man who said in England Delia Smith is a Goddess. I’ve never forgotten that and I’ve paid attention to food due to little things like this. Ratatouille is the best foodie film ever, in my opinion. And Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe books have Monsieur Wolfe a true epicurean, albeit a bit extravagant in my opinion.

So, again, foodies and writers alike, comment please. I’d love to know your thoughts. Any good meal descriptions you’d like to share? Please do!

Eating/Writing On

Kate

 

 

I’m Not Myself These Days

All rejections aside, because they are very good at putting doubt in your head, sometimes I’m not sure where I’m going. I was reading Ada Limon’s Sharks in the Rivers today and her poetry has a very good way of either making me feel accepted or completely lost. Today was the latter of the two. Not lost as to what she’s saying, but lost as to how I feel.

I’m slowly regaining myself from my leave of absence, but at the same time, I’m not back to my full self. “I can’t explain myself, I’m afraid, sir,” said Alice, “because I’m not myself , you see.”

 

How do I not feel guilty for not wanting to do things for other people? I asked Mrs. B. today. “Baby steps.” was all she replied with. I guess if I can’t even bring myself to go to the library, my ultimate favorite place to go, then I’m just not myself these days.

I bake once a week at work, pasting myself into another world; I spend the rest of the week in a state of suspended animation. Wake, drink coffee, exist, try to write, drink coffee, try to write, go to bed too late, repeat. It’s not the healthiest of lifestyles, but I’m so tired all the time that it’s all I can focus on. That and feeling guilty that I haven’t sat down and tried to submit anything else this week. Next week, I think. Or when my poetry gets better. I was turned down to the journal I submitted to, not because it was bad, but the selection of poems wasn’t what they wanted for this issue. It’s not a rejection so much as a ‘maybe next time’, kind of thing. It could have been a flat out ‘No.’

Photo by Simon Matzinger on Unsplash
Having a seat on the swing of life — Start to see the world in the colors you choose.

How do I even know what to send into magazines? How does anyone? How do I even know myself?  All very existential questions requiring way too much coffee to answer. (let me get another cup and try to ignore answering that question.)

I always feel restless when it’s late January going into spring. Spring is seriously not long away, I mean, it’s now February! So I feel rushed for no other reason than I just feel rushed.

I read a line from someone who I can’t trust, who has threatened me, who a part of me hates with a fire, but his words made me stop and ponder a bit ago.

a woman, who simply has to breath[e] on any barrier she wishes to pass and watch as it all crumbles.”

I honestly never thought I could have that much power. Maybe because I feel like everyone else has the power to crumble my world. I feel like I have power when I’m not in my Chef’s kitchen, but when I’m there I forget that “I am woman, hear me roar” power and I go back to my meek self. Hence, I’m not myself these days.

Maybe I should go read some more Ada Limon.

Kate

Rejection Affection

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If there is one thing that is truly unique in the world of writing, it’s what happens when you get a rejection letter. The rejection letter itself, that simple piece of paper with a couple paragraphs (or email, as the case may be with most rejections coming in an email form letter) is actually something quite spectacular. It’s a sense of belonging. A sense of accomplishment. Why rejection is a compliment is funny to nonwriters, but to us, it’s like a trophy.

For me, my rejection letter came 3 months and 11 days after I submitted my poetry manuscript to Milkweed Editions. It arrived on a Friday morning, 6 days after I had ‘quit’ my job and I was still reeling from that feeling. I took my news of my rejection to my writing group, and to the chorus of “Congratulations” my writing friends reminded me that a rejection is a good thing.

Yes, it’s truly strange to be congratulated on ‘failing’, so to speak, but what nonwriters don’t understand is that it is a badge of honor to have that letter. It means someone has read your work. It means you were brave enough to send something out. It means you are trying.

This is my second….. nope wait I forgot the short story……… this is my 5th rejection letter. But for an actual manuscript. My poetry manuscript wasn’t quite what Milkweed Editions was looking for, but that’s okay. It’s my first real manuscript. My first rejection letter came from a query letter. This is an actual manuscript!

But it doesn’t mean I’m lost. In fact, just yesterday, but an amazing twist of fate, someone on Twitter, contacted me and asked me to submit some of my work to their journal. Oh. My. Gosh. Someone actually wanted me to send them my work. Now that is an honor. I mean, sure, I have my lovely ladies reading my work, but sometimes you wonder how biased it is. No offense Dona, Mel, Sera, Maddie(Piper) et al. but I do think you are biased.  I mean, you know me. But to have an unknown editor want you to submit. Whew! Mr. Streeby, I am truly honored. (and my ego has been supremely boosted)

Ah yes, rejections will keep coming in, but it’s a good thing. I have my very first rejection letter somewhere in one of my writing files. It’s an actual print letter. And one day I will frame it a la Richard Castle in the episode The Old Haunt……. I think that’s right. It’s an honor, and now I can edit the said manuscript and fix it for another publishing house because inevitably, I have found serious flaws and grammatical mistakes the minute I sent the darn thing off. Ah, perpetual editing comes when you can edit your own work. Mels, said it best the other day, but I forgot how she phrased it. It was good.

And I have new things to add. Infatuations with an Eskimo, working in a kitchen, which I have ‘quit’, but am more on a  temporary leave of absence due to stress causing major health problems to creep back in. So I do have ideas for writing about kitchen life. Sorry Chef dear, but I can’t not write about a crazy kitchen!

So, if you have had a rejection letter, first of,  “Good for you!” I’m proud of you, whoever you are. It’s an honor because someone read your work. Keep up the good work. We are all rooting for you in our own way. It’s nice to have friends and family root for me.

Kate

Pushing Poems

Maybe it was the effect of having to complete a poetry manuscript by October 1st, which I did (yay for being on Milkweed Editions desks) or just spending the entire summer writing poetry, but lately, I am finding that to finish a poem takes an incredible effort. I’m having to push it out; flipping things, starting over, banging my head on my notebook.

I’ve never been in the position where a subject, poetry, in this case, has consumed my life and where I would go so far as to call myself a poet. I’ve never focused solely on one area and pushed at it for months on end. Oh sure, I’ve been writing off and on for years, but never like I am now where I think about writing every single day of my life. If I’m not thinking about writing, I am actually writing. Every day something spurs on a poem prompt, though not all actually become something. Because I have started trying to work with blank verse again (unrhymed iambic pentameter) my writing has slowed a bit as blank verse is hard. I think it’s easier to work in rhyme with iambic pentameter (maybe my mind is fuzzy because if I recall, sonnets are not easy).

The hard part though seems to be finishing anything I start. I get almost to the end, then it’s like the idea drabbles off and I’m left with a ‘dangling participle’… Joking, that’s a line from Sylvester Stalone’s Oscar film. But the poem is dangling by a thread and I don’t know where to take it. Or there is the case of trying to write a poem about how war and fighting has changed so much from the Revolutionary or World Wars where there was a front and a line in the sand and whatnot, but the poem has started about five different times, in different ways, and I just can’t seem to make it go anywhere. I think the idea is good, but it’s just not going anywhere. Sometimes I have to just tuck the idea away for another time, and oh gosh if there aren’t tons of ideas in the backs of my journals that I forget to look at, and come back to it later. I just recently found about ten ideas I need/want to work on from just the last 2 months journal entries. Gosh, I’d hate to see what I’ve missed if I go back to the last three years in my journals.

I even went back so far, recently, to find poems I’d finished and type them up. I don’t know if I can use them for anything right now, but maybe. I have found that I really, really forget about poetry once it’s finished. That “door on the lid really” closes.

But right now, oh gosh, I’m pounding a nail into concrete trying to pound out that poem.

(hey, that’s a good prompt…)

Kate

Comfort Zones

Photo by Owen CL on Unsplash

Just the other day I was off to see one of my doctors, a three hour drive away. Now I love this doctor. he is a dream, he is so sweet, nice, good at what he does, good looking…. married. <– Total bummer.

Anyways, one think that I have found over the years is I need comfort zones and surprisingly, I don’t need much to put me in it. For the doctor’s visit, all I needed was one of my favorite shirts, a necklace and a pair of earrings. That was it! Granted, my metal crow feather necklace is pretty unique and I use it lots of Saturdays when I write. It’s kind of my statement piece of jewelry. My earrings were my ‘silver’ square columns that are about  two inches long and a quarter of an inch wide. They have heft. They are cool. They are not silver despite ebay saying they were, but I love them anyhow. They give me comfort.

I have comfort books too. Those books you know you need to take with you even if you don’t ever plan to read it, but you know you could pick it up in a flash and you are okay. For me it’s my paperback copy of Here Comes the Sun by Emilie Loring (there Patty, I’ve mentioned EL after a dry spell of not bringing her up at all!) That book will always make my life more relaxed. Sometimes I put it in my purse (it’s more of a bag) even if I have another book or two in there just because I want that comfort zone. I know, weird, but I always take too many books with me, especially to doctor’s visits. This last week I took three books and my kindle… which has a ton of books on it.

Another comfort author is Janet Dailey’s Americana series. The books are short ish and I have almost the entire paperback collection.

I have comfort zones in my house. Sitting on the couch on the front porch, being in the blueberry plants, my chair at the kitchen table that can be pushed back to sit over the wall heater in the winter.  I have comfort clothes; that perfect pair of jeans, certain shirts, a purse I love, even socks! Gotta have a comfy pair of socks.

I gravitate towards turquoises and coral pinks for my comfort colors. Colors are a huge comfort zone thing that most people don’t even realize they have. First off, did you know that your eye color is going to determine your comfort color? Most people with aqua colored eyes, will pick that tone, or variations of that tone and wear it, or want to decorate with it. Same for blue eyes, hazel, brown. Take a look at what you would pick in an instant as your comfort color. I bet it’s close to your eye color.

Music is a huge part of comfort zones for me. There are songs that I can always turn on and just sink right into it. I keep a lot of those on my mp3 player for when I go somewhere and need a pick me up. Currently Miles Davis’ ‘Nature Boy’ has become a huge favorite. But I have had all kinds of comfort zones.

I think even in our writing we step into a comfort zone at times when we just need to write. I ramble and make short fragment statements, puttering with word sounds and rhymes or assonance. Or is it alliteration? One or the other. It just happens. I the we default back to comfort zones and what makes us feel ‘grounded’ more often than not.

I’m curious what other people find to be comfort zones. Do you have clothes you just have to wear every time you go somewhere? My friend Dona in the writing group always wears her Jane Austen ring (reproduction) and her owl earrings. I try to always have a certain pen. Some people need a specific water bottle when they go out.

What is your comfort zone? And do you need it to write?

Even the picture I used for this post is a comfort zone. Leaves in the early fall when they days are still warm but are changing…. oh yeah, the entire fall is a comfort zone.

Kate

Truths About How Hard Writing Is

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Hello, dearies. Sorry, this blog has been a bit bleak this summer. It’s been rather chaotic and I have spent more time writing in my notebook than writing online. (my book review company, BookLookBloggers) finally said, that’s it, you do not have an account with us because you are not blogging or reviewing enough…. My bad.

So I have been focusing on writing my poetry for weeks now; months. I had read that Ada Limon needed just a few more poems for her new book. I can’t say when it was that I read that. Somewhere on her Twitter account a while ago, and I totally get that feeling. I have a 62-page manuscript right now, and technically that’s all I have to have for the publication that I plan to submit to, but I’m not stopping. I feel like once I started focusing solely on poetry, the floodgates opened for the most part.

Poetry doesn’t always come. I struggle sometimes with getting anything out and when I go to my writing group sometimes I sit there for 45 minutes while everyone else is writing and at the end I have maybe started or dabbled in something but the response is “I got nothing.” I have weird blocks where I have all these ideas and I start an idea, or ten, but it never goes anywhere. Recently I had something in my head about being in a western bar and I was just kind of blanked out on that. Partly because I don’t go to western bars. I stay in at night. Drinking coffee.

But last night one of our new breweries was having live music and I have been meaning to get up and have a pint, so I went up. It was technically a total waste of my time because the music wasn’t clear enough to hear, though the tunes were good, and the brewer’s own brew was out….. And I only visited with people in my parent’s age… Pardon the complaining… But the blip of time I was there drinking a porter gave me a few lines to get me over the hump of what I’m writing. It was good research even if that wasn’t the reason I had gone. Sometimes it’s the funniest things that help switch the storyline.

I have a story I started writing a couple of years ago about kid friends who meet later on in life and it was a struggle to get anywhere with it till I had a dream last year that changed the whole narrative. Now it’s actually got a place to go.

I was reading an article last night; The 8 Hard Truths All Aspiring Writer’s Must Accept Despite The Pain. One paragraph explained how we chisel out and poke, prod and eek out the right line, the best sentence, the perfect way to say something. Poetry for me is that. I sit there sometimes and I’ll write a line and go, okay, this isn’t bad, but after reading it over and over you know it just isn’t right.

I wrote a poem in regards to Jack Kerouac the other day and I was really happy with it, but one line kept irking me and I couldn’t figure out why. In the line

‘Lost boy, did all the stars fall down and burn out?’ where the word fall is, I had the word come and it was nice, but it wasn’t just the right thing. Why such a simple word change makes a difference I don’t know, but it does. This is where I get why other poets say trimming the fat on poetry is hard. You have so little to work with that it really is a challenge and a struggle. Does it come more easy to me? Sure, but that doesn’t make writing poetry easy.

I have taken to writing longer narrative type poems, introducing a character that is the writer for the poem, not me, and seriously, one poem takes the oomph out of me for days. It takes days to write it, but afterwards, I’m kind of wandering around feeling like I have run a marathon. Sometimes I only write one poem a week.

This writing thing comes easy to me, but it’s still hard. If that is one thing I could tell nonwriters it’s that. You may think being a writer is glamorous, and there are times when you get an accolade from a friend or colleague and it’s a nice boost, but all those other times when you are in the dark, pounding, scribbling, or fighting to get it out it’s gosh darn hard. Would I give it up? No, but sometimes I wonder where my sanity lies and I wonder if I will ever make it.

Everyone says I will, but that self-doubt… well it’s a doozy.

Read the article, because it’s pretty cool in its succinctness.

Kate

 

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