That sound? It was my head clunking onto the keyboard.

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I’m one little lonely writer.

And my cat is lonely, crying, because I’m too busy spinning my wheels here to walk over there. Sorry, baby, Mommy is busy driving herself crazy. I’m pulled in too many different directions, as if drawn and about to be quartered. I don’t know: late life ADD? Jesus, I’ve gotta start making lists.

Anyway. Since I’m not doing NaNo this year (which I’m more than cool with and hats off to those that are – I personally didn’t feel like a sustained dose of self-loathing was exactly what I needed right now) but still want to be Uber-goober productive in any writerish ways I can, I thought one thing I could do is sign up for a few of those freelance writing sites like Upwork, Guru, and Textbroker.  Which is great, great. Except this morning I was clumsy, and accidentally bid on a job for writing blog articles about software. I saw the keyword, software, just as I hit send, and my bid flew gaily off to its destination.

Shit. Because sure of course haha I have software articles I’ve written lying around all over the place, tons, yeah. No.

Basically I can say hello world in CSS. A few years ago I took a semester in starter code at the community college then slowly forgot most of it. So yes, I’m familiar with code. I can actually make a link from scratch.

*holds hand out to examine invisible diamond ring*

So code and I, we’ve kissed, okay, but we’ve never actually done it. Jesus.

After my unqualified bid sailed away I consoled myself with the knowledge that there were thousands of infinitely more qualified writers than myself. I barely know the difference between lie and lay, much less posses the knowledge to write a software article, and really, what were the chances she’d respond to my bid? I’d never hear from her.

But she responded, this nice woman, asking for writing samples, of software articles. Written by me.

. . . . .

. . . . .

I broke up with Twitter this morning. Does that count?

***

But hey, on the other hand, last night just after I’d turned out all the lights, head on pillow line by line this sweet haiku drifted into my head. I liked it. It wasn’t exceptional, but it made me happy enough that I thought I’d remember it this morning. NO OF COURSE I DIDN’T REMEMBER IT. I hunted around in my head a bit, something about love, but it was gone.

And the good news is that I didn’t even mildly freak out. I wasn’t overjoyed, but I just knew, I finally knew-knew that I knew (sorry) that I will never have a dearth of material. That there’s always more where that came haiku came from. I will never run out.

Ah… Progress.

 

Was writing so much I got scared, so I stopped. Big mistake.

I can’t stop erasing this first sentence. My God, am I ever going to get out of this loop?

Few weeks ago I came back to my blog. I missed writing, or rather, I got tired of all the notebooks just sitting on my desk. When one filled, I’d reach for another and another, which was sort of fine, but eventually some part of me started wanting my writing to go further than my desk.  Some ephemeral, but essential, and equally fun part of being a writer was missing.  So I came back to the blog.

I started by doing some Blogging U exercises. God I’d forgotten home much fun it is to create a post, to be gently pulled. To lose track of hours. To be engaged in that way—I’ll just say it: it’s better than sex. And I’ve has some, you know, great. Um. Whatever.

All fine except I noticed I hadn’t left the house in three days, then four. I was forgetting to eat until late at night, and staying in my bathrobe later and later into the day until it was all day. I was forgetting to, you know, pee. I got scared. Go outside and play, for Christ’s sake.  Binge-watch a little Netflix.  So I did. And didn’t write for a few days.

And today I couldn’t.

                                                                          * * *

This is one of the most creatively difficult afternoons I’ve had in a long time (and I’ve had some difficult creative periods over the years. That were years). An hour ago I didn’t think I’d get over this hump. I felt mildly panicked. Thank God I remembered this: “Start writing, not matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” Thank you, Louis L’Amour.

What a delicate thing a creative habit can be. The balancing involved. Over-engaged or under-engaged. I don’t think I could handle another not engaged.

There are some hair-pin turns on this path.

The Names of Things

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Oh boy. I’m back to the blog.

*runs around in circles a few times*

Except my assignment for the blogging class sat untouched in my inbox for two days.

I’m easily distracted. By email, yes, but mostly by other people’s writing.  Esquire, mostly. But sometimes, You Won’t Believe What These Child Stars Look Like Now. This must stop. I need a different writing routine.

This morning I turn on my computer, and that’s it. I leave it, and go out to a small courtyard to smoke. There is no grass here, but this is in the most fundamental sense a garden.

A weathered, wrought-iron bench is damp so I squat near a wet fern. Bonsai trees of varying shapes and sizes sit on a high shelf, and a Blue Spruce branch from outside the courtyard pokes through and over the dark fencing.

My father dug up the sod when he landscaped this area, and among the ferns and other greenery, replaced the sod with stones. They are smooth, and about the size of his thumb. The stones are earth colors, of a wide variety. I wonder where they came from last, and where they’ve been: red, like fired clay. Sand. Slate grey, and grey of an overcast sky reflected in moving water. Some the color of moist, dark handfuls of earth rich with worms.

I know these rocks – I frequent the garden department at Home Depot – but the name won’t come until I stop mentally searching, then: River rock.  That’s the name for these small, traveled bodies. So I come here to write this down, to have a place that fuels my noticing that being near the rock, homed with such loving intention, is also being near the river.

 

Street

Street

I.

The children are scruffy here.

They play out past their bedtimes.

Their parents are working double shifts.

 

Here it is childless high-rises

and low-cost housing. I try to keep the yard up.

I make fun of the trailer park  up the street

when I am broke and the final notice

for the heating bill has come.

I put Post-it notes on the cars

that park in my driveway:

Please inconvenience yourself.

 

II.

My Russian neighbor borrows heavily:

sugar, eggs, flour.

She walks in, uninvited,

when she needs me. Susan!

Come! I give her rides because her teenage son will not,

and roll my eyes to throw her off,

to make her smile.  She brings me Russian wine

and food-bank treats

she will not eat.

 

She lets me pick tomatoes from her garden

even though I cursed the stench

of fertilizer the summer before.

When I am weary of helping her

she gives me a look that cuts me down to size.

 

III.

I silently accuse my Vietnamese neighbor

of pocketing the money

that fell out of a dress, from the dryer we share.

And hated the smells

that drifted into my apartment

from hers, the cacophony of her voice.

But when I asked to borrow the barbecue

that sat unused in her yard

she said yes.

 

IV.

There, they were all

kinder that I, loved

my hard heart gently,

softly, unknowingly

to new pink.

~SR, 2012

 

Ornithology Lesson by Jan Wallace

Ornithology Lesson by Jan Wallace

It’s an act of desperation,
the rare mating ritual
of the bald eagle pair.

They come together mid-air between
mountains, you can barely make
them out, you with your Audubon

binoculars, you in your birding
hat. The two of them bound beak
and feather, claw and wing,

having taken leave of every other
instinct; like survival, like hunger,
when they caught that scent floating

in thin air. Mostly what they
have forgotten is how to breathe, how
to fly. They drop their wings,

admit to the full weight of themselves
washed clean of the serendipitous
magic of everyday bald eagle flight

by the thick true wash of lust–
which brings every creature right down
out of the wild kingdom into the one

common, humble denominator. Aren’t you glad,
Bird watchers, you’re not a part
of that? Those eagles risk it all

for the free fall down the long swallow
of sex, speeding down the chimney of air
plummeting blindly toward earth, unaware

entranced, careening toward your keen
eyes riveted on the speeding bundle,
and just when you know this must

be a suicide pact, no birdheart promise,
but the real thing among a sacred breed,
just before they hit the earth and scatter

like burst pillows–they disengage slow
motion in a stunning, artful gesture.
And there you are, binoculars around

your ankles, as the eagles pick up
the next breeze, feathering, feathering and soar.

~Jan Wallace

 

 

Making a home for my own poetry.

Lately I’ve been stewing about whether or not to sift through a  2 x 2 box of old writing: 12 journals filled with thoughts, ideas, poems, and crying  – some pages just have “fuck” written from top to bottom – to find a certain line of poetry I need for a current short story project.

I’d also like to get rid of a tub of  loose printer paper, match-books, napkins, old phone bills, whatever was within reach to write on at the time.  I’m tired of looking at it.  I want the floor-space.  I hate clutter.

So I’ve finally found the balls to make a home on my site for old work.  Whatever finished poems I like will go up.  What I don’t will go in the recycle.

And by the way: punctuation matters to me. I can happily spend 15 minutes putting in and taking out a comma (and change my mind about it the next day). Or ponder whether I like that  “s” in there or not. I like that shit. No, I fucking love that shit.

 

 

 

 

 

Muah ha ha. Are you there Satan? It’s me.

Yeah, I should be posting my own stuff . Whatever.  It’s happening on pen and paper so nya.

I’m posting this because I can’t stop wondering what would happen if the each equally prolific and blow-your-mind talented tanka producer here and the haikuer here, had a baby.   Boggles the mind.

Where’s my petri dish.

 

Save My Ass or Save Face But Not Both: Follow Button Undeleted

I don’t know who originally said this but I’ve hung around the program long enough to know this to be applicable in many instances where one needs help, or needs to be honest, or ask for a pardon: You can save your ass or you can save face but not both. Gulp. (In my head I hear people saying, Yeees?  Was there something you wanted to say?) They all have one arched eyebrow.

Okay:  I had growing pains and ranted about how much work it is to be Followed, and about how I needed to get my own work done and um, didn’t have to time to say thank you to new Follows, or respond to (ouch) Likes of my work. Or time to go in and read other people’s stuff.

Now: I’m slightly abhorred by my own arrogance. And I apologize. Like many, I have a time management problem. Not a you problem.  I hope you will pardon my growing pains. And yes, come back. I have the time, found the time, will make the time.  I can’t do without community. I somehow forgot that it’s the backbone of this place, especially for this fledgling poet-wants-to-try-short-story writer.

PS  To the new-to-me writers that responded to the afore-mentioned post, behind whom I now get to tag along, thank you.

 

Note: Comments of the “never apologize” persuasion will be cheerfully deleted.