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

Writing Down Dat Dem Poetry

Ah PAD, not my strong suit this year. I thought I would have poetry flying out of my ears, but I seem to be a tad too emotional as of late for some of the topics to really come out in a good poem. Or one that is a decent poem right off the bat. Most of them are needing some serious reworking and editing.

I had started off rhyming in my head in a partial iambic pentameter, but then I would get stuck writing sonnets that weren’t going well. At all.  But it dawned on me the other day that I needed to stop trying to write sonnets. Just write. Write whatever comes to mind with the prompt, from spirit animal to wire (I liked wire), and just let it flow. Then if I want to take whatever I wrote and turn it into a sonnet with the ideas from the poetry just written, okay fine.  And it’s going better. If I don’t feel inclined to write a sonnet, I don’t have to. But if I want to dabble something out, I can. Which I have done.

It’s actually kind of helpful to have all of the poem written out with all of the ideas there, then to rework it into the sonnet. Now, I’m not saying the sonnets are good, and I only have one mostly done, but  it’s still there.

The fence is wired with rusty barbs and nails
And tangles tight to hold and grip the ties
The baling wire and hooks cling without fail
To posts that once held rails for trains that fly
~Katie Lyn Branson (Wired)

That is the start to the wired poem. Not great, but not bad. All about fence posts on the plains that are faded and held together with wire.

Who knew you could take such an ordinary thing and write a sonnet out of it. But I’m trying to get out of my head, which is harder to do than you think, and just let it come out. I think another part is I’m inspired by certain music I’m listening to, specifically the Strumbellas with their songs of  “Spirits” and “Wild Sun”, and the Lumineers “Stubborn Love”, which is a personal favorite song. I think the folksy aspect of it.

jackie-and-ryan-2014-movie-posterAnother inspiration is the film Jackie and Ryan, with Katherine Heigl and Ben Barnes. I can’t explain how much this movie hit me (I was nearly crying at the end). But the music and the story line and the lyrical quality of it all. If you are a writer, or a musical lyricist, I recommend it. Best part, it is based on a true story of a man,  Nick Hans, who was playing at SXSW, if I remember the story correctly. So that is really cool.

So, is anyone else hard at work on PAD? I’d love to know.

Kate

October 27th – Write 31 Days – Red Oak

red-oakSometimes a picture comes out more spectacular than I think it will. Today’s picture of a red oak leaf looks like the leaf is right on the glass!  It’s kind of amazing how things turn out so perfect and you aren’t even trying, or well, you just don’t think it will be that way.

The colors on the trees has been so spectacular this year, but I have failed to capture enough of it, waiting till it is nearly twilight to take pictures, which does not help. Nor have I been inclined to take my camera out with me that much. But the black oaks are now turning on the hills and there is this fluffy, nubbly carpet of yellow ochres, and yellow browns, tans and various shades of yellow from them. It’s a warm feel.

This oak in the picture turns a lovely red…. then the leaves turn brown and hang on the tree half the winter. It’s rather nasty looking, but the red is especially stunning.

 

I robbed the Woods-
The trusting Woods.
The unsuspecting Trees
Brought out their Burs and mosses
My fantasy to please.
I scanned their trinkets curious-
I grasped-I bore away-
What will the solemn Hemlock-
What will the Oak tree say?
~Emily Dickinson

Kate

October 25th – Write 31 Days – Golden Mornings

golden-morningsIn fall, it’s common to wake up to lots of clouds with the threat of rain. I’m typing this on the 24th where the prediction of rain is at 100%…. It’s currently raining.  I could have sworn there was only a 30% chance, but that is so far from what it’s doing now.

But some mornings there is this thick blanket of clouds, the mountains shrouded with mist and the cold wind blowing; yet in the east, there is this break, right over the mountains. Just enough of a break for the sun to come up a shining, dazzling diamond. Breaking through the mist, shining so bright through the pines, giving everything a golden glow to the otherwise cold morning.

Morning that comes but once,
Considers coming twice-
Two Dawns upon a single Morn,
Make Life a sudden price.
~Emily Dickinson

Kate

October 16th – Write 31 Days – A Water Runs Through It

Rain. It means the start of winter. The start of cold, and damp, and wet.  It also means the creek is running again. That might not sound like much, but for those in California, we know it means water. A life force that we cannot go without, but have been without in many places. For us where we live, it means our main water source is alive and running and no longer a concern as to how much water we can use. There is no restriction when all the water is running down our creek.

Today (or yesterday, I’m not sure, but since it rained an inch and a half yesterday… it might have been then) the creek is running. Full force and full of life. It’s a good day.

I come from haunts of coot and hern,
I make a sudden sally,
And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down a valley.     ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,……

I murmur under moon and stars
In brambly wildernesses;
I linger by my shingly bars;
I loiter round my cresses;

And out again I curve and flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

The Brook ~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Kate

October 14th – Write 31 Days – Sunny Sunflower

sunny-sunflowerThe sunflowers are nearly over, mostly having given up their seeds to the titmice, nuthatches, blue jays and Stellar’s Jays, but sometimes there is an odd flower or two. Currently it is really raining now, so this picture came from last week when the weather was more cooperative to taking pictures. I also felt the need to post this for Mrs. Austen who is missing her husband while he is overseas for a business trip.  She loves Sunflowers. I must oblige.

But on the hill the goldenrod, and the aster in the wood,
And the yellow sunflower by the brook in autumn beauty stood,
Till fell the frost from the clear cold heaven, as falls the plague on men,
And the brightness of their smile was gone, from upland, glade, and glen.

The Death of the Flowers ~ William Cullen Bryant

My Idea of a Fourth – Prose/Slam Poetry

It’s laundry soap an the smell of hot summer dried grass,
and freshly mowed grass,
and the sky is blue with white streamers,
and the streets are quiet as trucks are filled with ice chests and sleeping bags,
and it’s Peter painting the town’s phone booth,
I like saying ‘hi’ on the fourth of July
stopping to say ‘hey this is going to be a great day,’
while the good old Main is lined in our red, white and blue,
colors said that way on this day that make me want to cry,
So thankful am I to be in this country of mine,
and it’s the garden that grows with all the flowers of summer,
the Playboy rose that tickles my nose with it’s rich flair,
and the spicy mountain air, perfuming the air,
it’s the richness of coffee in my porcelain cup,
and the bright red current granita, I can’t get enough,
and it’s the words I lay on my page every day
It’s the things you can’t see by what makes freedom for me,
the sky and the trees and the whispering breeze,
the right to do whatever I please. . .

The fourth is always a simple, quiet affair for me. I never do much of anything, but it’s the simple things that I love best. And I saw and smelled all of this today. It’s who I am, it’s what I like, and I wanted to share it with everyone.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July.

Kate

Writing in the Car

innovative journal writing

 

I rarely write in the car due to motion-sickness. Ah the joy of looking down at print then suddenly you are swimming and ready to half pass out. Bleh. It happens more often than not, so I’ve grown quite used to just riding in the car and making sure I am staring straight out the window.

However, one thing that I’ve wanted to try for a while is jotting down the things I see as I am in the car and create a poem from it. Susan Wooldridge wrote a whole poem on it when she visited us up north from Chico. She wrote down our street names and what she saw along the road. I knew where she was because of what she had written up. In another poem from her Bathing With Ants, you know she is writing down things as she is driving a car full of vegetables somewhere, as the signs and places and feelings are there.

On a recent trip to Klamath Falls, I was fortunate enough to have my new pocket journal I splurged on for my birthday. It’s this gorgeous little leather cover with snazzy, expensive paper inside (I hacked it and made my own insert-able booklet so as not to go crazy spendy on paper) The picture above is me in the car, writing as I go.  Phrases to the poem that I’m writing, which I’ve yet to finish yet, are “Throw out the buttercups, there are cornflowers along the road, and the wallflower pops up its orange head, the milkweed’s about to burst……
Grass lake and falling snows and geese standing in dismay, a Phantom driving slowly…..

 

I love the Phantom line because we were following behind a semi truck with the name Phantom on it.  And fortunately I wasn’t driving. I could not have written anything had I been driving. That’s just too dangerous.  Anyways, I liked how I could capture what I was seeing, though as you drive 60+ mph, it’s hard to capture it all. I had to start just writing down snippets and hope for the best, all while watching amazing bird life and mountain snows fall, and strawberry fields all planted, and rain and rivers and lakes and pelicans flying by…. yes, pelicans, and I swear I saw cormorants as well…. Klamath Falls is stopping and breeding point for some ‘exotic’ birds.  I think it’s cool.

And Mrs. B was wondering why I was writing in the car, but I can’t turn off my brain. I haven’t been able to turn it off since April when I was writing every day, multiple poems and thinking about things differently.  No, I haven’t posted much here since april, but I have been crazy thinking and writing things down in other places. I have so much I’ve written that it’s crazy. And half the things I write, I don’t know what to do with them!

But I must ask, have you ever written in the car? While driving? At a stop sign? As the passenger?  Do you note things you see and write them down later?  I try and make this giant moving picture in my head, a film of sorts, but I can’t keep it all. I try to remember every detail but there is so much to see.

Kate

Everything Stopped poem & My 24 Hour Romance poem

A photo by Joanna Kosinska. unsplash.com/photos/B6yDtYs2IgYSo, thankfully Robert Brewer posts a Wednesday poetry prompt, because I was feeling a bit down at the end of PAD. While I might have been cutting down on my writing, I had gotten in the flow of writing poetry every day and I was in serious withdrawal.   So the first Wednesday prompt after the end of PAD was ‘when everything stops’ and this week’s was ‘running its course’.  The first prompt had me writing about when writing stops, but that didn’t go very far. So I ended up writing about one of my characters. So poetry for my heroine. Here it is first.

Everything Stops
Everything stopped when he walked up
to the bar and bought her a drink
that she declined, but smiled prettily
and her eyes invited him in, though
her words were cautious.
He was her night to her day
Opposites in a crashing world of
guitars and drums and pictures and
still motion.
And all around the noise was a roar
But they stood like long lost friends
afraid to touch but longing to
step over the line in the sand
separating one beating heart
even though they had only just
met.

 

I rather like how it turned out because I can see how my two characters meet, in this moment where they are kind of oblivious to their surroundings.

My second poem for ‘running its course flashed to me when I met a marvelous man three years ago, or was it two?… and I suddenly understood instant attraction and it was kind of wonderful, and I still flash back to that first kiss that was something to hold other kisses up to. Sadly, I pined for too long, but oh well, I have my weird moments.

My 24 Hour Romance

Our relationship ran its course in 24 hours
from beginning to end
though I pined for you for thirty days
or more, or less as I slowly forgot
or gave up, or moved on…… I don’t know
But I still taste that perfect first kiss
and I still shudder in longing
and I still hope you would come back
Even though I know you never will.
For twenty four hours I was yours
until you said I would make someone a
perfect wife.
Why couldn’t it be you?

I feel that that is a bit bitter sounding, and maybe it is. Maybe it’s because I’m tired of other people telling me I’ll make a great wife for someone. You never want to hear that from a guy you like.  Maybe I’m a bit morose right now. May gets to me sometimes. Probably because it’s my birth month and my life comes back to haunt me in its own way. I start doubting my life, or what I’m doing, or the lack of things happening the way I had planned. Most people do it at the start of the year, you know, New Year’s Day? I do it on my birthday.

Well, despite morose, in some ways, I hope you enjoy.

Kate