Spoon River Gossip Column

How, as a poet, I didn’t know about Spoon River Anthology is beyond me. I just recently found out about the marvelous poems of Edgar Lee Masters by chance as I was listening to a back issue of Poetry Off the Shelf.    It had been 100 years since it had first been published, and the book, despite being somewhat dated in stories, has never gone out of print. Now talk about staying power.

I fell in love with the tragic poems recited in the podcast, but it was once I started reading them that it really became the good stuff. Sitting down and flipping through the Kindle version ( I now know I must get a hardback copy) I felt my heart start to race and the just utter shock at the stories hit me like I was reading a gossip column about the trials of all of Hollywood.  I sit there and I want to share this titillating story with my mother.  “Did you hear?” is running through the back of my head as I read one more snippet of scandal. The horrors, humor, and tragedy just make my heart start to pound and I am flipping the next page (the crackle of a newspaper is nearly at hand!) and I’m on to the next salacious story.

Back when my mother was in Jr. High, (I believe) my aunt did a skit of sorts reading three poems from Spoon River. Lucinda Matlock, Yee Bow, and Elsa Wertman were those recited. Years later, meaning just a few weeks ago, I was telling my mother all about finding Spoon River Anthology and falling in love with it, and her first thing she said to me was, “Why does that sound so familiar?”  I explained the premise and boom, she was back remembering hearing her sister recite the poems. After I downloaded the ebook, she flipped through it, page after page and found those three poems and said those were the ones she remembered here. Boom, and email from my aunt confirmed it. Clearly the poems have such staying power as to stick in the head of a 14 year old girl, who is now much older.

I can totally understand the appeal of such poems, done in such a loose, informal way, that there is no actual meter or rhyming scheme, because the stories themselves talk of life in such a way that you can relate, even if the poems and situations were written one hundred plus years ago. There is till rape, racism, hate, greed, sloth, longing, adultery, pure love, long lasting love, commitment, abortion, murder…… All of our sins are spilled out for us to ooh and ahh over, with no thought that we are just like them. Written in such a way that you eagerly turn to the next story.

I think every high school drama class should perform a rendition of Spoon River Anthology. Take and mix it up with each class. Heck, I would do it in a heartbeat. If I could stand out there and recite a story that has such meaning and emotion embodied in so few words. Heartbreaking and entertaining, I highly recommend Spoon River Anthology for anyone interested in learning about poetry and having it almost completely understandable. And if you enjoy People magazine, well even better. The gossip rags have nothing on Spoon River’s drama.

If you are looking for a free copy, Project Gutenberg has one, as the copy write is out of date, but personally while I downloaded that one, I like the Kindle Dover Thrift Edition.

Kate

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The Miles Spin Round And Round – Day 1

Especially as a writer…

I fell in love with jazz long before I probably even knew I liked jazz. Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and probably other classic big band artists from the 30s through the 60s that I didn’t even realize that I liked the genre. But I still remember that first time I heard Miles Davis.

At the very end of Runaway Bride (a tragic romcom that really needed help in so many ways), Richard Gere’s character puts on a Miles Davis record and the film ends with the very sweet “It Never Entered My Mind .” Ever since then I have been hooked. To this day that is still my favorite jazz song that I have used as inspiration for scenes in a short story as well as my go to romantic song. I love the song so much that I could probably wax poetic about it. (get to 6:02 on the clip below and the song plays. Of course you could listen to any other recording as well)

After that one groundbreaking moment, I slowly started paying attention to jazz music

The Harvey Specter wall of vinyl records.

that was the sweet mellow kind. What I call the Miles kind of jazz. My next song to the collection wouldn’t come for another several years when I heard Count Basie’s “Li’l Darlin'” on an episode of In Plain Sight. Again it was one of those earth shattering moments that you remember.  ( my father still remembers the day he heard “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks on the radio years ago. I have been wracking my brains for songs that hit me the same way and I just now remembered as I wrote this post.) Those two jazz songs will probably go down as pure bliss with only one more so far as to coming close and that was watching an episode of Suits and Chet Baker’s song “Green in Blue” was played. It took me a few years to find that one because it was never listed in the show’s credits. Suits has actually contributed quite a lot to my jazz experience.

 

Jazz and Miles Davis, and other greats I’ve only just delved into, have played a huge part in my writing life, more so than even my family would ever realize. I started a story several years ago with the Miles Davis song as a key feature. Jazz has taken a part in much of my poetry, from being mentioned by titles, to just a vague references that maybe I am the only one that gets.

Currently Miles Davis’ “Nature Boy”, Chet Baker’s “Almost Blue”, and Luke Christopher’s “Roses” (which is a remix of Errol Garner’s “I’m In the Mood For Love) have all played  huge parts in poetry, or large poems, as of late. Not to mention the music relaxes me like no one’s business.

My family is dismayed and flabbergasted that I put on jazz whenever I get the chance, not realizing that I’m not only enjoying it, but finding the songs that really speak to me. I would say Miles Davis and Chet Baker are my current favorites, though I have delved into Charlie Parker, Horace Silver, and the Branford Marsalis Quartet falling in love with several. I would like a selection of jazz that runs the gamut and is much larger than  it currently is, from new to old.

And lastly I’ll mention that I find jazz incredibly romantic, sexy even depending on the style. It is a genre that gets mocked by those that don’t understand it, which as a poet, I’ve come to expect. Maybe that’s why I like it, because I am a poet, and you know, a lot of poets like jazz. Maybe there’s something to it..

So, dear readers, who among us likes jazz? What kind? Got any recommendations? I am all ears.

Kate

Truths About How Hard Writing Is

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Photo by Álvaro Serrano on Unsplash

 

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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Current Poetry Reads and Consuming Poetry

My lovely friend Dona has told me I am the poet tender in our writing group, while another person is her poet tender in her other group. I take that as high praise as, while I adore poetry, don’t feel I am that well versed in it. However, I seem to be the one collecting the poetry books and reading the poetry, and currently, reading, writing and consuming poetry. So maybe I am.   I am far from being an expert, which my father says is a has been drip under pressure…. get it? Ex and a spurt?… haha, your joke for the day.  Anyways, I don’t know most forms, though I can give you some basic, and I don’t do meter or metre… whichever one it is…… and I can barely do rhyming schemes. I try, I really do, but I’m best at free verse. I can’t even do blank verse very well, though I have tried. For those who don’t know, blank verse is unrhymed iambic pentameter.

As a poetry writing, reading, consuming whatever, I am currently consuming poetry. I’m reading it daily and hourly and weekly. I went on a poetry ordering binge in my library recently. After receiving those books, I binged again. I can only order ten books at a time. Ten! Who thought that up? Writers need more than the ten books they can order. I need to order at least twenty things at all times. And I only can have twenty things out at one time. Seriously, this library system up here needs to know how writers work! But I seriously digress.  So I have been consuming poetry at every point of the day. I should mention that I am also listening to a lot of music that has marvelous lyrics, which is poetry. The jazz doesn’t count, as it’s all instrumental, but seriously, Miles Davis is a poet with his horn. Oh, gosh I could swoon.

Here is a current list of what I have read and am reading.

Bright Dead Things by Ada Limon. I can’t say enough about that book other than I swoon.

 

Patient Zero by Tomas Q. Morin.  This guy has become my newest favorite, not to mention a muse in a poem.

 

Elegy for a Broken Machine : poems by Patrick Phillips.  Quirky, irreverent, spot on.

 

Falling Awake by Alice Oswald.  Strange enough to make me cringe, but I like it.

 

Essential Bukowski : poetry by Charles Bukowski.  This guy is certainly edgy. But I like it. A lot.

 

Catalog ofUunabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay.  Unique and kind of edgy and sing songy and and and…

 

The Selected Poems of Donald Hall by Donald Hall.  I haven’t quite decided if I like these or not. Some yes, some no.

 

So these are just a sampling of what I have out. I actually have a couple more, but I don’t like them. At all. So I won’t be mean and list the authors. I also haven’t listed the three Billy Collins books I recently took back, because, well I have raved about the man enough, haven’t I? And I have a stack of more books coming soon, I hope. So, happy reading time. Overwhelming reading sometimes.  I think my writing is changing. For the better I hope.

What are some poetry books you recommend? Or authors you like. I love getting recommendations because, well, I’m consuming it!

Kate

The Dog -Eared Snapshots

old photo weary.jpgI’ve been rushing around trying to write more poetry and discard this and that from my manuscript. I chucked most of my sonnets because I felt they didn’t fit, which in turn, dropped my poetry count from 52 to only 40. I was pretty discouraged as I did that, realizing that I had to figure out more poems to add. Then I started typing up some poetry from the last few Saturday writing groups. I got a couple I really like, and in turn, I also found the title of my manuscript!  Exciting things. Due to one poem with a line in it I really like, I came up with Dog-Eared Snapshots. I’m really happy with the title and the poem. Though technically the poem isn’t done because my writing group said to not edit the poem, I did and I like the edited version better because it has a rhyming scheme.

Oh well, you can’t please everyone, but I do want to get some input from a couple friends first. But I have a title. Now to just get quite a few more poems. I keep stressing about the manuscript, worrying I’m not good enough. And stressing that I won’t get it all ready in time for September, what with how fast the summer is already advancing. But each new poem brings one more sigh of relief. Whew! One more down.

So onward adding to the dog-eared manuscript. 🙂

Kate

Drowning in Poetry

I think the title of this post is overly dramatic, and while it might sound negative, drowning in writing poetry has actually been really good for me. I have stuck strictly to writing poetry for the past several weeks due to my ambitious plans to submit in the fall, though I have to admit, meeting someone who has made my life a whole lot brighter, has helped continue on with the poetry theme. It doesn’t take much to write at least one line of poetry, but a whole one that is decent is another matter. I have this personal opinion that you need to be in a relationship, coming out of one, just starting one, or directly relating to one to write good poetry. This is just my own personal opinion and what works for me. Some of my best poetry came from my angst with Boris.

Lord that man made me crazy. Still does sometimes.

I think the emotional aspect of another person, be it lover, mother, father, sibling, uncle, friend, etc. relationships mold one’s writing. And the connection with another person makes poems powerful. Sure,  you can write about inanimate objects, Mary Oliver comes to mind with her nature poetry, but it’s still a personal connection to the world. Reading Ada Limon lately, there are so many personal connections with people in her work, that you see the emotional aspect.

So for me, some of my best work has come out of angst, be it in a relationship or out of one.  I was never in a personal relationship with Boris, though I love the man dearly. He just caused a lot of turmoil in my life. Not being in a relationship with Boris caused a lot of turmoil in my life. Ha ha. Ha ha. I’m conflicted, I know.

Currently, while it hasn’t cropped up much, a new relationship, or the promise of one, has boosted my poetry. In the fall it was a hope that I might be with someone that now I could just murder. Those poems from the fall, while good, and I like them, annoy the heck out of me because I can’t stand the person from the fall. I mean, if I could legally hit him over the head…. I should probably be careful, the government is watching…

Well new possibilities, whom we will name Danny Boy at this point, are improving upon my writing. So while drowning in poems might be a weird good thing to say, I am writing as much as I can, when I can.

I should also add that music plays a huge role in writing poetry for me. Maybe because it is all poems as well, set to music, that I gravitate towards it. I listen to music as much as I can, and a lot of it can bring up feelings and thoughts that keep me writing away. Currently, Drake’s ‘One Dance’ and Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” are churning out a lot of thoughts.

What about you other poets? Do you find relationships or music improve upon your poetry writing?

And just because I’m in a good mood, here are some poetry prompts I’ve found on Pinterest, where you can follow my board at daydreamwriting. Okay, these aren’t specifically ‘prompts’, but they do conjure up poem ideas.

Kate

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Entering Into Poetry Manuscript Crazy Feeling

I had a brilliant idea two weeks ago. I am going to collect my poetry into a manuscript for submitting in the fall.

Cue crickets chirping and questioning looks.

I get it. Even I’m sitting here thinking, ‘wow I’m ambitiously optimistic.’ Considering I’ve only ever submitted my poetry to Writer’s Digest Poem A Day things. I’ve never sent my poetry out into the world. I have designs on doing that. I just haven’t gotten around to doing it. But after reading Bright Dead Things by Ada Limon, I looked at the publisher and thought I would look them up. Then I found out they have open submissions for 60-page manuscripts in September.  I have four months to get a manuscript together. So far I have 33 decent poems. (I undervalue all of my writing) All unpublished, all unsubmitted except for Writer’s Digest. Even I’m not sure if I’m crazy or not.

Yes, I doubt myself all the time. I know I enjoy my own poetry, but everyone enjoys their own poetry. I think that’s a given. If you don’t like your own, well… I can’t help you. Really. I have enough issues with my own. I think it all stems from comparing myself to what I consider, great writers. Ada Limon is my new favorite (though I’ve been reading her for a year) along with my standards of Billy Collins.  I should probably stop raving about him. I have poetry books I feel I need, but all are pricier than I can afford after splurging recently and getting my dog his painkillers (talking pricey) The splurge was not the painkillers. 😛

Anyways, I compare myself to ‘great writers’ thinking that I’m ho hum. Maybe I am, maybe I’m not. My writing group is fantastic about listening to my poetry. I think I have found my ‘voice’ so to speak (haha) in regards to style. And I’ve only just started getting comfortable with not always being nice in my poetry. I’ve started swearing some, because sometimes you just need to use the word ‘fuck’ and it fits. Sometimes you just have to swear.

Getting to the raw aspect of poetry is the challenge too. Maybe that’s why while I like Mary Oliver‘s poetry, it’s too pretty for my tastes. This coming from someone that likes to write nature poetry. But she’s just not my thing at the point. Hence Ada Limon; or Clint Smith, though I don’t have his book yet. If you click this link, you can read his poem My Jump Shot. It’s down a few poems. I heard him read it recently when he spoke with Billy Collins at Drake University.  Oh. My. Gosh. I love it. (coming from a girl who did not have a single sports gene in her.)

I think this is also why I don’t write a lot of rhyming poetry. It’s too pretty, so to speak when it comes to angst. Or at least in my opinion. That and really, rhyming poetry is freaking hard sometimes.

Just ask my sonnet months. Le Sigh.

Anyways, I am ‘hard’ at work compiling poetry. Some of it is from my November PAD submission, but most are from my poetry filling up all of my notebooks, spilling out and not having a place to go. Who knew I had so much floating around. I keep coming upon more poems and it’s like a mini Christmas thrill. “Ooh, I found another one!”

So, there’s my week. Another week putting off the novel I started, which got all of about 20 pages into a comp book, at the most. Thankfully that has a formula and a plot (yes, from this plotless writer it has a plot!) so I can come back to it at almost any time. But poetry is filling up my waking hours and thoughts.

Kate

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

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.