Clearing the Cobwebs

I haven’t had much time to write recently, and it’s been gnawing at me. Since I had a day off from work and nothing really pressing this morning, I thought I would do one of these posts just to test the connection between my brain and “the page.” I noticed that other writers/bloggers have been suffering the same issues lately: lack of inspiration, lack of time, low self-esteem. There is a common thread for writers that struggle. All writers struggle.

Someone has written/said that we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves when we can’t write. I agree with that, but it is an integral part of me – that I write. I’ve worked to forgive myself when I can’t write – when there is nothing appealing or I just don’t have time. One thing that still gets me though, is when I work hard and decide to submit something for publication – and I get the “I’m sorry, this is not for me” rejection. I’ve submitted poems 3 times in the last 5 months and all 3 were rejected with that same line. It is disheartening to read that multiple times, especially when you feel strongly about your craft. I hesitate to submit for publication anyway – mainly due to imposter-syndrome reasons, and this just sort of confirms my feelings about it.

Yeah, I’m kind of miffed. But I’ve now complained in writing, so I’ll move on.

Projects I’m planning

I play percussion in a community band.  Our percussion section aspires to do ensembles and things independently of the band itself.  I found instructions on how to make boom-whackers (a set of plastic tubes cut to different lengths that result in different pitches).  You can use any pipe material, but the cheapest thing apparently is to use golf bag tube inserts.  I ordered 28 tubes and will begin cutting them down this weekend.  Should be fun, and I can’t wait to hear the result.  Here’s a link for a boomwhacker performance of Bohemian Rhapsody.

What I’m Reading

I just finished The Forgery of Venus by Michael Gruber.  It took me a while (~10 months), as the book moves between and first person and third person narration that it is a bit disconcerting, and was difficult to stay focused.  I understand the reasoning – as it conveys the sense of the major plot device – moving between the present and the past via drug-assisted time travel.  I lost interest about half-way through the book and set it down for the better part of last year.  I still found the premise compelling, and picked it back up to finish.  If you’ve seen the Bradley Cooper movie, Limitless – this has similar plot ideas- though it relates to art and counterfeiting.  The art history was interesting, but the counterfeiting sub plot was not as well-mapped.  It also ended a bit too quickly, once I had accepted the premise and worked my way through the different narration styles.

I’ve moved on other novels:  The Lost Book of the Grail by Charlie Lovett (which I like and am making real headway through) and still working on The Alienist by Caleb Carr (which I thought I would like better than I have so far, but not willing to give up on it yet).  I recently bought Sarum: The Novel of England, by Edward Rutherfurd.  I’ve read other books by Rutherfurd and liked them.

What I’m writing

Nothing much these days.  I’m collecting snippets of phrases and words, and hopefully something will get written soon.  As it stands now, I guess I’m on hiatus.

Thanks for reading.

mottled

The once-blossoms from pear trees
pushed along in eddies of air,
gather in piles on pavement,

Teardrops darken the soil
where they impact – craters form
and moisture seeps away,

While blackbird nests dot between branches,
the sky torn with their cries;

lined-through words leave only
articles and prepositions,
no substance or action –
and scuttles the memory for lies.

Coffee For (In the Style of John Masefield’s Sea Fever)

I must go down the street again, to the coffeehouse near the Y,
And what I need is a yogurt scone and a grande latte chai;
With a mule’s kick and a banshee song and the white milk that’s shaking,
There’s a grim look on the barista’s face, and the coffee press is breaking.

I must go down the street again, for a caffé mocha, iced.
It’s 2 pm on a Wednesday, this cannot be denied;
And here it is a promotions day with the caramel clouds flying,
And soccer moms with their matcha green, and the frappuccinos vying.

I must go down the street again, this vagrant caffeine strife,
For the blended way and the fruit juice way where the drink is a whetted knife;
And all I ask is an espresso shot that keeps me stone cold sober,
And doubly-steeped herbal mango tea or a smoothie I could go for.

**********************************
A “Terrible Poem” written in response to Chelsea Owens weekly prompt to destroy (my words, not hers) a classic poem at https://chelseaannowens.com/category/terrible-poetry-contest/

This one was written in the form of Sea Fever, by John Masefield – the first poem I recall having to memorize in eighth grade English. Thanks Miss Dunn.

Abandon

Chalk sun-faces on an asphalt driveway,
drawn to chase away the chill breeze
and forecasted rain.

Bicycles circle the cul-de-sac
blazing trails, pedals flail.

Shouts and whoops
to Scout
to fetch the ball
and chase the calls.

Children playing with abandon.
Adults watch and see themselves –
their childhood, stranded.

Ireland, here or there

I recently traveled to Ireland with my son, and we experienced the wonderful scenery, the friendly people, the history, and the delicious food and drink that this island has to offer.  We flew into Dublin – and after an exciting time on Saint Patrick’s Day – we set off by rail to the western, more wild part of the country.  The scenes from the train changed from urban to countryside, as we made our way to Cork.  All the little village stops along the way were quaint and the conductor would announce the stop in both English and Gaelic, concluding with a thank you:

Thank you for riding Iarnród Éireann. (Thank you for riding Irish Rail).

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To my ears, it sounded like he said, “Thank you for riding, here or there.

This thought resonated throughout the journey as we went by bus or shuttle to remote locations or simply walked through villages and towns in which we spent the night. There is something exciting and wonderful about rambling through the country-side and discovering new places.  Whether it was the colorful row how houses above Cobh harbor or the barren stones and sea/landscape of the Burren, forests near Killarney or the city street, Ireland offered what seemed like all possible combinations.  And these were accessible from points A and B or C or…Z

Just by what seemed a random direction, any number of beautiful sights and experiences could be found by wandering.

It is no wonder then, that the Irish poets and storytellers, or those that emigrated over the last couple of centuries, spoke and sang so fondly of this beautiful country.  It stands in stark contrast to the tragic history of conquest, famine, civil war and unrest that has plagued the people of Ireland over the centuries.  Both sadness and beauty erupting from the same surroundings is remarkable, and dare I say, poetic.  The countryside simply cries and laughs and inhales – everywhere you look.

Here or there.