Archive for the ‘Writing Life’ Category

Why do some poets put so many exclamation points in their poems? Like every line or every stanza? It’s like the life-size blow up Snowman in a sleigh being pulled by a polar bear I saw on someone’s roof yesterday. Sometimes, it’s just too much to be put in my poetry.


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write night

I feel a marathon coming, a need coming. We are so tidal, pulling and pushing, our waves rolling around the sand in our toes uncovering shells and weeds and treasure. By morning we wash it ashore like naked babies crying, just born. The things inside of us revealed – we knew they were there all along, we just couldn’t see their faces.

Tonight I will turn the lights low, cover myself in blankets, disregard the mess of my house, block out all the images of this world and set out my boat for another.

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Writers go places. Deep into the mind, into emotion, into fear and love and dark crevices that have never seen light before. I’ve always been an explorer. I’ve squeezed through sandpaper boulders in Joshua Tree National Park so I could get to the top of the world and look down. I’ve lost myself in the giant redwoods along the coast. I’ve willingly gone into caves to see the water dripping down into mineral stones. And there are places I may go that scare me, but I have to go there, I have to go there and put my light on to them.

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I watched ‘The Duchess’ last night with Keira Knightley. I’ve never really had any intention to watch this movie, but I thought it would be full of good sex scenes and the green English countryside and pretty dresses and sheep. And it was certainly full of that, but also full of so much sadness. I’m not sure how much of this movie is true, but it’s based on the life of Georgiana Something, Duchess of Devonshire and her husband is an awful hypocrite who doesn’t love her and sleeps with her best friend and doesn’t allow The Duchess to have her own love affair because he has a sense of ownership and entitlement.  *Sorry if you actually wanted to see this movie* I didn’t ruin much of it other than a little plot – who needs plot anyway it’s the feelings under the plot that matter to me, what makes them do what they do.

This movie sort of broke me last night. Here I was, getting sick again, hardly able to talk because my throat was so swollen, hardly able to swallow because my throat was so swollen and I’m watching the life of a beautiful woman wither away. I’m literally watching her light die.

And it occurred to me that women have been lonely for centuries. We’ve looked to other women, we’ve looked to men, we’ve had sex with other women, we’ve had sex with other men, we’ve looked to drugs and booze and cigarettes and children and work and art and leaving old tea by the bed-side to see if anyone other than ourselves will pick it up for us. And why? All to feel full of something. I wonder what loneliness makes us do, what bad and life altering choices it makes us do?

Even when we are with people, we are perpetually lonely creatures. We hold in dreams, feelings, fears. We can be completely naked and still wearing armor – a lock over the hearts of us that keeps us from pooling out a real human being. And no one would ever know if we didn’t want them to. We are fantastic actors, we are incredible at hiding things, at putting on altered skin.

I kept feeling last night, as I was watching that movie, utter hopelessness for this woman. So much so that I thought she was going to kill herself and I must say I was surprised that, as far as what the movie revealed, she didn’t even consider it. He took away love, her children at one point, passion, hope. He took away everything and she continued time and time again to face her public covered in such a lie of a life. To feel so trapped – I found myself aching for her and her loneliness.

Covered in my covers last night, I kept verbally abusing myself. Made-up conversations with my friends – the people whom I know love me the most and I’m turning them into monsters telling me, in my lonely state, that I’m not worth it, that I’m too much trouble. These are things I can only equate to my own faltering self-worth. And of course to hurt myself even more, I pick the people who I love the most in my life to see how sharp I can make the knives.

As my imagination began to spiral, I was in a scene with one of my best friends in a bar trying to cover up the slices I took out of my own arm, but not trying hard enough because I wanted her to see them. Is this what we do when we are lonely? Is this how we try to tell people – by mutilating ourselves to a point until someone notices?

As quickly as the image came into my mind, the ME of ME quickly reminded myself that that’s SO not something I would ever do. That’s not me. The healthy, sensible me who eventually gets out of her covers and takes a shower and makes coffee and looks out at the new tracks of her backyard animals in the snow would simply say, “I’m lonely today and I miss the way you touch my back when the green lamp is on. It makes me feel like I’m under tree light through the leaves.”

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Great Expectations

How do we live as artists? I don’t mean what we do when we’re alone, the couple of hours during the morning or the night that we are actually doing the thing we love, the writing or painting or singing or photographing. How do we live, every minute, every hour as artists in the world? I sit at my desk at work trying to let my mind wander to what I’d rather be doing. I read blogs in the hopes that I’ll find other artists at this exact moment bringing something beautiful into the world that I can witness. I scour the web for pieces to get me through the day. I listen to music, to interviews, to the voices in my head. Some days I walk away from the office feeling like I did OK, like I can breathe well for the night because I actually did what I was put on this earth to do. Some days I leave like a zombie. Brain dead, frequency flat-lined, exhausted at having to hear one more person complain about their keyboard, one more person force another into helping them solve a computer problem, a design problem, a management problem. All the problems in the world and we as individuals keep asking others to solve them. When is it time we look to ourselves?

I’ve been feeling great expectations for most of my life. As I should! But the expectations for what others think should be my life is overwhelming. Dump this, dump that, add this, add that. Change, change, change, change. I look at the things that make me, that piece me together and for where I am right now, all the pieces, missing or not are just who I am. I feel sometimes I’m being shoved into a skin that isn’t mine, that doesn’t and won’t ever fit me, the deer hiding under a bear’s pelt. I’m supposed to be stronger and louder and more forceful, but I’m a force in my own way. I know as I get older I will grow to be more forceful, more vocal, stronger. That’s what comes with age.

For now I’m building a little fire, keeping my hands warm, polishing old poems I’ve found a new love in, getting back to the words that make me me.

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“I was demanding of myself a deeper and greater honesty, more and more revelation in my work, in order to give it back to the people; where it goes into their lives and nourishes them and changes their direction and, you know, makes light bulbs go off in their head and makes them feel. And you know it isn’t vague, it strikes against the very nerves of their life and in order to do that you have to strike against the very nerve of your own.” – Joni Mitchell

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Cold cozy house

The cozy winter house isn’t so cozy this morning. The water level on the furnace dipped too low again and it turned off in the middle of the night. I woke up this morning and just knew. The air outside our down comforter was so chilled and sulky. I should have stayed in bed. It took me long enough to get out of it, that I should have just stayed.

I feel like I’m going backwards. I’m not trusting myself. I’m smearing mud all over paper. I’ve been tripping this week and I’m not sure how to get my feet under me. This is the point when people who want to be writers can’t be writers because they give up. I know this point. It feels like it happens all too often, but somehow I still showed up even if I’m sitting in the back not participating. I at least walked through the door and picked a wobbly chair. I am at least still listening

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