We all have things we have to do this week. Many of them aren’t fun. But these may be. Give ‘em a whirl.
I gave up on poetry for awhile.
Mostly because I wasn’t getting any better at writing poems.
I was getting worse.
Sinking into self-indulgent catharsis.
Trying to overcome heartbreaks.
And hoping that with just the right words and rhythm I could convince some universal force to right what I perceived as wrongs against me.
So, as I said, I gave up.
Then I found a couple of poems I wrote about a decade ago.
They sang to me. They told me that the awkward poems I had written while in a funk were by no means all I had to offer. They encouraged me to dive back in. They reminded me that I am still a poet (among many other things).
Here they are.
Night becomes a scarf
wrapped around my neck
The color not pitch black,
but the deepest, darkest
Sky leans into Sand
letting a full moon
glisten in every grain
Sea lowers her waves
to a comfortable whisper
She guides me through
this beautiful blindness
Telling me of children
waking up in Japan
and you, fitfully sleeping
Find me here someday
listening to these secrets
of darkness before the dawn
It’s the best bedtime story
We could ever hope to hear
AN ODE OF SORTS
I will never write
like Billy Collins
My poems will never
contain tenuous conversation
between shampoo bottles
mathematicians searching for Pi
in the back alleys of Athens
or clichés that are reborn
from the ashes of dry toast,
becoming bread pudding,
(without a single, shriveled word)
There will be no insightful humor
Like the folly of saying I love you
with paper mâché cats or rabbits
I will never write truth
So deceptively simple
that we might as well be eating
a single orange for dessert
Kindly given by a Cypriot waiter
“But, I ask, can’t your inner self, your true self be shaken, diminished, compromised, or even stolen from you?
I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic as soon as it was available. I loved almost everything about it.
Read it right away if you haven’t.
Now maybe you’re not a fan of Gilbert, or you’ve heard that the book has some hippy-mystic, woo-woo ideas in it. And maybe that’s why you’re keeping your distance from it. If that’s the case, I’ll just share a few ideas Gilbert brings up that may still resonate with you.
And that’s all I’ve got. Which is plenty—so much so that I’m still trying to remember these things. Every day.
“Valid criticism does you a favor.”
This quote popped up on swissmiss a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been thinking a lot about it in regards to creative work.
It’s absolutely true.
But it probably wouldn’t be if you removed the word valid.
That’s the key.
The problem for some of us is that we don’t take validity into account when receiving critiques.
Some of us don’t realize that the people giving us feedback may not be trying to help us improve what we’re doing as much as they’re trying to assuage their own fears or protect their own positions. This is not usually consciously or maliciously done. It’s just a misplaced survival mechanism.
If the critique doesn’t…
help you build upon the strengths of what you’ve already got (or who you already are),
point out something you honestly might have considered if you hadn’t been so close to the work,
and invigorate you to keep forging ahead,
but instead diminishes the earnest effort you put into something, denies your strengths and asks you to be something that you’re not—
well then, let it go.
P.S. The Sagan quote served as a springboard that sent me in a new direction; it’s from a book that’s not about the creative process, but instead, another fascinating topic.
P.S.S. Read this article.
Once upon a time, back in 2005, I started a Blogspot blog called PapillonPoet (named for the French word for butterfly, not the dog breed). After a few years it went on hiatus and became LierrePoet. The reboot never really took. Then I sort of abandoned blogging, as did thousands of other casual bloggers who just couldn't find the time.
Lately, I've been thinking about giving blogging another try. I have reached a point where I miss it. I find myself thinking, "Oh! I should blog about that." Then I remember that I don't really have a blog anymore.
So here I am. Ready to share again under the topical banner of my original blog: general musings, a few clues, occasional silliness.
Please stay tuned.
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