Something New to Stretch Myself

I have continued my Wild Writing practice, right into Morning Pages while working through the Artist's Way, AND I joined a poetry group!

I have read lots of poetry, but strangely never thought much about writing it.

I love this group because it feels like I'm playing tennis with a bunch of pros. At first, I couldn't even see their serves as they sailed by me. Very intimidating. But the more I read and the more I write, I can begin to pick out what works and what doesn't.

Here are some of the poems I have shared in that group. They are all based on a poem that one of my favorite writing coaches (Jena Schwartz) provides a few times a week. 

Nov 1:
My leg is bouncing like it's working a kick drum.
But I'm at my desk in fluffy pants and slippers, with no make-up, a fresh cup of coffee, and a dog in my lap.
Today I'm grieving, but it's better than yesterday when I said, "I'm fine." but it was a thin lie.

Nov 2:
Remember when we stepped out of the train station in Mons?
The cobblestones were slick and silvery with rain.
Our overstuffed rolling suitcases wobbled back and forth over the grooves.
We grinned at the novelty.

Remember 3 months later when we had to drag our laundry across the square
Our suitcases full of smelly clothes & misadventures?
It was a long walk and we got lost.
You rolled yours through dog turds.
I laughed and you got mad, so I ran ahead.

Remember when I decided to leave early?
It was nearly June, just a few weeks before the festival.
I didn’t care about missing the dumb Doudou dragon.
I had seen everything I needed to see.
I wanted a cheeseburger and a goofy Midwestern smile with it.
I carried my enormous suitcase all the way to the train station

So it wouldn’t make any noise at all

Nov 5:
I can see me now
My name is truth
It becomes more so every passing year

Nov 7:
How did you know that my "head was a living forest full of songbirds"?*

Because I transcribe the words of dying people
I hear incredible stories.
I see the family’s proud grins.
I write the words down, then type them, and give them back.

Because when no one else is home
And my puppy lies in the sun by the front window
I lie on the floor next to him to feel what it’s like.
I sigh like he sighs.

Because I keep trying to say the truest thing
In my fiction and my non-fiction
And it defines me

*This was Jena's quote. (Yep, She's awesome.)

NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth - Take 3

I fill a mug with coffee and set it on the desk to steam and cool while I open a document on my laptop.

There's an outline there. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. 51 chapter synopses.

I anoint my third eye with clary sage oil.

I say a prayer (in the form of abstract poetry) to the writing deities.

3, 2, 1. 

The sun is not up yet. I take my first sip of coffee for and chase the cursor across the screen over and over until I get to 1,923 words.

I will do this almost every day until the end of November to finish my novel Witches of Blue Holler

This rebel heart won't let all the worries like I'm not ready to tell this story. or This isn't my story to tell. stop her from writing in the first place. This rebel heart will tell a tale about a savage goddess born into the body of a 15-year-old girl in Blue Holler, Arkansas. 

In Honor of Scorpio Season (my favorite season)

I've always envied authors who say that their characters speak to them and that's how they write stories. My characters have taken up a lot of space in my mind, but they're usually standing silently in moving pictures.

This latest character doesn't do silent.

She came to me in the middle of the night. It wasn't a dream and she didn't whisper. She shrieked, "You can't keep me in here forever!" 

She is suffocating, entombed within me, an ancient decaying woman who must be heard. She doesn't censor, or wait, or smile. She has matted hair and pointed teeth, leathery gray skin and torn ragged clothes.

She has absorbed centuries of stolen innocence and twisted words. She's no devil. She is the Primal Female Urge without equal. She is the Creatrix and she's Out now.

She's not going to pet your 13-year-old daughter's hair and tell her how pretty she is. She's stirring the fire in her belly and flipping on all the switches. There are flames in the girl's Goddess-given eyes now. She's up and running without even waiting to hear what a man has to say about it.

"This is what you came for!" the Urge roars. She runs with wild pigs and wolves, thundering through the marshes to the stormy sea.
She bids your daughter to call the lightning and harness its power for herself.

I can't wait to see what she says next.

More of This, That, These, and Those

That time when I meditated 20 days in a row and I felt like I was the real me for the first time without the trauma and the stories I'd been telling myself about the trauma.

That rainy Friday when pork was in the crockpot. Coffee was steaming. Laundry was agitating. The pup was snoozing and I had a list of not-too-hard things to do while the kids were at school. That was a day I wanted to last forever. I was right in the center of the hourglass.

Those times I was writing and the words were like a hot knife through butter.

This morning when I prayed the exact same prayer for my daughter and my best friend, "May she feel whole, empowered, and at peace."

That time when I brought a ginormous tower of toilet paper home from the store and tried to set it on the laundry room shelf where there was already a tower of ginormous toilet paper. 

Those people who will always trigger me. This misplaced loyalty. This environment. That narrow mindset. That rigid thinking. 

Those times when I say "Relax" to my kids and immediately want to punch myself in the face because no one wants to hear that suffocating word.

These old lady sandals I bought last spring that I wear every day because they're comfortable.

This imaginary waterfall that I throw things over every morning when I free-write in my journal. 

That phrase "clickety-clack" that's fun to say and hear, especially when you're sitting on the porch with your youngest son at twilight and he says, "Just a few more pages."

These people you run into who are swimming - doggie paddling really - in a pool of feelings they're avoiding. And those breaths you take remembering that their feelings are not actually about you, even though they were aimed at you.

These tiny scratches my ink pen leaves on a notebook page. Not the black marks, but the imprints of words.

This stiff neck from the strain of watching political events unfold, from writing through the confusion, from writing nonsense garbage for 14 minutes, to get to that meaty last minute every day no matter what.

This dusty, mashed-down fall wreath I made four years ago that I hoped would pass for another season or two, but the spray-painted foam berries crumble in my hand, leaving exposed floral wire and faded leaves.

That shrug of my shoulders when I hung that wreath anyway.