I was hoping to have a blog on more recent events, but I just can’t put my thoughts into anything coherent. Today Facebook reminded me that I wrote this piece two years ago today. So, here it is. It’s aged pretty well. … Continue reading
It’s one thing to say I’m going to start writing the truth, as I did in my previous blog. Actually doing it? That’s quite another matter, but here’s a first attempt. When I write these haiku, whom am I speaking to? Who is the “you” in my poetry? As I was reminded in one of my classes last week (rather inelegantly, but still), whenever we point our finger at someone else, we are really pointing back at our shadow selves, those parts of ourselves we are at war with. We are always projecting our fears and hopes, desires and needs onto those around us. And so it is with my poetry. Sure, these may be inspired by a particular person. There’s a muse, to be certain, but on deeper reflection, I am “you.” You are me, and to paraphrase the Beatles, we are all together. Goo goo g’joob.
I loved the way you
Swept the door open and bowed,
Welcoming me in.
We had a language–
an undercurrent, riptide.
I drowned in your words
You bequeathed to me
This gift of desperation
Stop outguessing me.
Just walk your way, and I’ll run
mine. We’ll meet midway.
You do walk alone.
Were you breathless, keeping up
With my racing heart?
I’ve been your hostage
Since I read that first poem–
Enslaved by those words.
I am the blue sky
And you are the deep green sea
Breathe the air between
Every writer I know has trouble writing. —Joseph Heller
Nearly every night I sit down with my laptop and open it to a blank Word document, convinced that this is the night I will begin my masterpiece, my opus, my version of the Great American Novel. And then I get distracted: laundry, dinner, cats, a funny lump behind my earlobe, the stupid TwoDots game on my phone. Words with Friends. Something. Anything to keep me from putting my thoughts down. There are a million things I will do before I finally succumb to that little voice, that growing voice, that roaring voice, the one that pushes and pulses behind my eyeballs, that makes my heart pound faster. I have to, at some point, listen to that voice, give in to that voice or I will explode. Maya Angelou is credited with saying that there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside. I agree.
Another trouble with writing, with being a writer, particularly if one is a writer of nonfiction, memoir, creative nonfiction, is that telling the truth, or our version of the truth, is bound to offend someone. Probably we will offend someone close to us, a family member, a good friend. And we may throw lots of other folks under the bus—there’s an entire cast of characters from which we can choose: teachers, grandparents, doctors, lawyers, therapists, the barista who forgot your regular order. The waiter who seated you near the kitchen. Really. This is an endless list.
And there are so many reasons we need to keep the peace with all of these folks. We need them to like us. And, what we often forget is that the chances of anyone actually reading what we write is slim. Oh sure, our writing group might, and a teacher, if we’re in school. But Grandma? Uncle Ed? The barista? Not likely. So, really, this is not a good excuse to suppress the urge to write.
Never mind the friends and relatives, though. When I think about writing, about what I want to write, an overwhelming sense of responsibility immobilizes me. I can’t write anything frivolous, I tell myself. What I write should be Serious. And Thoughtful. Well considered. And I should have read as much as possible on the topic. I don’t want to offend anyone. What I write should have a moral, a takeaway, but subtly. I don’t want to be too didactic. My prose should be poetic and authentic. My metaphors had better be spot on. My grammar and punctuation, impeccable. Most importantly, I don’t want to be misunderstood.
But no more. This year I resolve to write the stories. And if you happen to be a character in my life, oh well.
You’ve been warned.
Yesterday procrastination worked very well for me. After fiddle farting around on my blog, I got down to business and cranked out some good pages for my paper that is due tomorrow. I am hoping the same magic will happen today. I still need to put a few finishing touches on said paper, add some APA citations, and give it a good thorough edit. Perhaps I will post it when I’ve finished. It’s about how my gender identity has developed over the course of my lifetime. Pretty interesting, this unpacking of gender.
I’d rather be writing poetry, but these four forgotten haiku will have to do for now. Enjoy 🙂
What happens if I
Catch the muse, pin her down, make
Her my specimen?
Muse comes, muse goes, but
I own her wand, her wings. I
Am muse. She is me.
I am my only
Competition. The race is
Simple. Head v. heart
They are coming, the words, the syllables. Slowly, five-seven-five. Here are a few of the latest:
How hard must I wish,
To conjure your words from air?
Eyes shut. Hands open.
Hot flashes, fever
Sweep up my ashes.
They knew no better
Trapped as they were by their times.
How will we be judged?
It occurs to me
This is just fantasy. Still.
This is my first actual week of being a stay at home writer (SAHW, as opposed to a SAHM—an acronym I learned just this morning). I’ve been thinking about writing a lot these past four weeks, but this is my first week at home since I quit my job at the end of July. I’ve been busy flitting about the countryside. And doing other creative things in an attempt to jump start my writing. I made this linocut thingy last night, dabbling in some of my favorite subjects: religion and psychopharmaceuticals.
|INRIRX (copyright Pamela Helberg)|