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.

 

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

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

Writer’s Don’t Take Sick Days

czhuxiqjilg-alejandro-escamillaOkay, we do, but it’s different. While we might be tucked under the covers, a thermometer in our mouth, an ice bag on our heads, we are still writing in the midst of being sick. For me, it was random snippets of poetry that I actually forgot to write down so needless to say, promptly forgot. I have used being sick to be a whole plot point for one of my novels. This time around, my flu was so nasty I wasn’t up for much in regards to writing, having to actually cancel my writing group. I did sit down today and work on a piece of short fiction for my local library’s writing contest. It’s an annual thing and I enter off and on over the years. This year the theme

It’s an annual thing and I enter off and on over the years. This year the theme is “Snowed In” and I have actually dabbled in a story about being snowed in. Downside, it’s close to ten thousand words which exceed the 3-page limit with this contest. Not to mention it’s more romantic and adult to send off for just the heck of it. So I started working on a new story, that after reading the premise to my writing group two weeks ago, they said (or completed for me) was a Hallmark story. I had the image of this snowed in cabin and from there I got a three-page story.

Now, seriously, I find it hard to write a beginning, middle, and end three-page story. Just over 2 thousand words, I’m a little impressed this worked and I do actually have all three parts. It might be a bit choppy, but you can’t add much detail into a three-page story. (have I stated this is a three-page story? Just checking) I’ve kept it to just some dialogue, a bit of a back story, and even an epilogue of sorts. I’ll let it settle in and ‘bake’ for a bit before the submission date at the end of the month. I might make it better, I might see some areas that need correcting.  I wouldn’t mind making it longer and add in detail, but you know, sometimes the best stories are short and sweet.

But like I was getting at, at the beginning. Even while being sick, and being uninspired most of the time (it’s hard to be inspired while coughing, running a fever and not feeling like eating) I still find myself writing. Now if only I could remember the poetry I didn’t write down.

Kate

Where’s The Writer Been?

I realized that I’ve been a little unfocused when it comes to blogging when I got a notice from the book review site that my account had been deactivated. Just as I was working on a new review! Crazy summer. I’ll blame that. And that I have been spending more time writing within my actual writing instead of blogging. You have to give up a lot of stuff to be a writer. Even your sanity at times.

That being said, I have some posts in the works, and a couple of reviews coming down the pipeline. Along with that, in just 10 days I will be doing another Write 31 Days. This year’s theme will be 31 Days of Autumn Photography, or something titled like that. Then come November I will be participating in Writer’s Digest PAD challenge again. So things are coming. So sorry to be behind the times. And gosh, I hope I get my Gold status back again on the BookLookBloggers.

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

I’m A Little Bit Lost and Feeling Contained

Grow_DammitI need to write. I have so much inside of me right now that it’s threatening to explode.  Apropos since one of the prompts I got in my email today was “finding a bigger container,” which included this marvelous picture.

Is my life feeling uprooted? Do I feel like I’m in a container too small?  Maybe.  I spend a weekend feeling out of sorts due to a new infatuation with someone totally inappropriate but those feelings are still there.  I found the answer to a years and years old question of what bird I was hearing at night.  I have written an essay on it, and that needs to be typed up, edited, read by someone other than me, and hopefully it can be used to send off to a magazine.  I’m actually quite proud of the piece, even though it’s only in ‘shambles’ right now.  It’s actually not that bad.  I was relaying the story off to my writing group this last Saturday and one of the ladies told me that maybe I need to ask the question of why has this bird become a part of my life. Why has it just now revealed itself to me?  kind of like a spirit animal or guide.

Now personally I don’t believe in spirit guides and all due to my Christian faith, but at the same time, I did start thinking about it.  While the answer I came to might not be anything other than what I came up with in my own head, at the same time, I felt a bit of comfort in the result.

It has taken me years to discover this bird and it has driven me nuts year in and year out; but I have kept plugging away, trying to figure it out, not giving up hope that someday I might, just might find out what it is. The only thing I can connect it to is waiting for the right man to come along and just keep plugging away and waiting for the right person.  And also keep plugging away at my writing and someday I might be published.  Keep focused, maybe not to the point of insanity, but seriously taking moments to write furiously.  I’m not going to date furiously; I do have my standards…… Though one can sometimes dream.  (I have not been blessed with the cream of the crop around here….as I was talking to one of the ladies at the library in regards to books, I seem to have more crap of the crop around here.)

I am dabbling in poetry, at random points.  I have four poems that have started all on the same subject….. See above in unhealthy desires….. and then again on this and that. I have a post I want to write about letting words flow, but that will be when my brain is more focused.  Even now as I write, I have gotten distracted by election returns, a news story, looking out the window, my dog, my family.  I can’t stay focused.

-Paris-is-always-a-good-idea.--JournalI’m venting here.  I’ll blame Dona on this.  It’s her prompt that has me writing. I’m dreaming of Paris.  I’m dreaming of a man who love’s Paris but is taken….. so I can only indulge myself in anything French… My family indulged me with necklaces of the Eiffel Tower and a pair of earrings and I’m so Frenched/Eiffel Towered out but I love it.  “Paris is always a good idea” says Audrey Hepburn.  It is so true.  Said taken man spoke something in French to me all because he noticed my Eiffel Tower necklace.  It’s. So. Not. Fair.

What is this post but nothing more than frustration creeping out of me.  I need to run (it’s been almost a week since my last run) and I need to escape the ties that bind. Whatever those ties are. I think I need to write more and think less.  Now if only I could turn off my brain and let the free thought explode out.

I should stop.  The chickens are calling.  ‘Wheat, wheat,” they say.  I need to clean the coop and water and feed the feathered creatures.  Side note, wet chickens smell horrible.  I say that because it rained today and I had to scoop up my pal of a rooster, Mr. Blue, and put him away. He was wet.  P-U!

Restless and contained.
Kate