Music and Family (and a Crowd-Pleasing Singalong!)

In my family, it’s not a reunion unless there’s music. There’s always a guitar or three, someone singing, a harmonica and a mandolin in the background – you get the picture. A family day just isn’t complete without some good noise. And now that Graham’s family is part of my family and vice versa, it seems only right to share the music. Which is exactly what we did this past weekend.

And of course, I want to share it with all of you, too. 😊

So, here’s a favorite of mine and my dad’s, written by Gillian Welch:

And here we are goofing off on a crowd-pleaser, Wagon Wheel, with a family singalong and a cute mash-up.

We had so much fun, and I think the family did, too. I hope we all get to come together again soon, but until then, I’m grateful for the time we had, and for the happy memories.

A Weekend Break

Graham and I will be spending time with family this weekend. We’ve not seen some of these folks in ages, and we’re so excited. 🙂 So, in light of that, I’ll be taking a short break from posting. I’ll be back on Wednesday, June 22nd, though, hopefully with some good stories to share and good memories to keep.

Be sure to check back next week, and in the meantime, happy creating, y’all!

Hungry (A Poem)

Today, I woke up
(late, but)
hungry.
To eat, sure –
I’m always that kind of
hungry.
But also, to see –
to read,
to write,
to ponder,
to listen
and hear
and learn,
to know.
I am so
hungry,
in fact, that I think,
if I lived a thousand years,
and wandered
the whole world,
I would still
never be
full.

Reflections on an Accidental Week of Writing Poetry

I mentioned in Friday’s post that last week’s all-poetry theme wasn’t intentional.  The fact of it is, even though I pretty regularly post poems here, I’m always sort of amazed that I’m writing them at all.

I’ve never considered myself to be much of a poet. In high school, I hated the lessons that involved writing poetry – not as much as anything to do with math, but a lot. In college, I stayed very (very) far away from any class that would have had me writing poems, a policy that kept me from getting a concentration in creative writing. And even as I started this blog, and my current creative writing journey, I remember thinking to myself: “Well, I can write anything but poetry.”

It’s all very strange, because I love poetry.

I love reading it, performing it, pondering it, memorizing my favorite poems and quoting them, usually in full and often at inopportune moments. And so I asked myself, over the weekend, why I’ve always had such a hard time with the idea of writing it. And I think the answer is really simple: I don’t feel like I’m good at it.

Rest assured, I don’t need validation or compliments here, though kind words are always appreciated. What I’m getting at is, I think, a larger issue in our culture, whereby we seem to be operating under the incredibly damaging and entirely false belief that if you’re not really good at something, there’s no reason for you to do it.

Not a great singer? No karaoke for you. Go sit in a corner and be embarrassed at your wobbly warble.

Not a good runner? Find another form of exercise. No running groups for you! You’ll slow everyone down.

Can’t draw? Get out of here, false Picasso. No room for your stick figures on this canvas.

And I’m sad to say that for the longest time, this is how I felt about poetry. It doesn’t come naturally to me, and I’ve read so much good stuff (hats off to you, poets of WordPress!), and so I fell into the trap. Why even spend my energy on it? No future for me in it, so it’s a waste of my time. I’ll never be great, so why do it at all?

Except, I was wrong. Of course I was wrong. And these last couple of years have been a journey of discovering just how wrong I was. Because the why has nothing to do with greatness, or compliments, or money. The why is so simple: I enjoy it.

I’ve found, as much to my surprise as anyone’s, that I actually, truly, completely enjoy writing poetry. It makes me happy. I love the rhythm of sound and silence, and the way the words dance when you get them just right.

For me, there’s joy in writing poetry, even bad poetry, and that’s enough.

And frankly, that’s enough for anything – drawing, singing, running, writing… You don’t have to be an expert, or a natural, or even any good, to enjoy something. And enjoying it is reason enough to do it. Life is just too short to live it without joy.

So here I am, a not-very-good poet, clacking away on my keyboard, enjoying myself and appreciating that poems exist in this universe and I can write them (sometimes badly). It’s taken me years to get here, but I can say confidently, in this moment, I write poetry.  

A Naani Poem (or, A New Way to Say I Can’t Sleep)

Finishing out this week of poetry! (It wasn’t intentional. I guess I was just feeling poetic. Not mad about, it, though.) Here’s a naani poem for the June poetry challenge over at Fake Flamenco:

Staying up to greet the dawn,
to welcome the new day –
once a pleasure,
now a curse.

As with many of these challenges, I’ve never tried this poetry type before, and it was a lot of fun! I like learning different ways to put words together and create music out of sound and silence. 😊 If you want to give it a go, as well, I think you should!

It’s always good to try new things, right?

Hello, Summer (A Poem)

Hello and
warmest welcome to
the bluest sky
and greenest green –
it’s good to see you.
Hello to long days
and lightning bugs,
and a breeze that
hugs trouble away,
to a season of rain
and sunshine,
and a time for
holding on.
Here and gone
in a lightning flash
and a thunderous song,
we know you can’t last.
But hello, old friend,
for while you’re here,
and soon enough
back again.

What I Know About Love (A Poem)

Powerful,
poetic,
proud,
all around,
and resoundingly not
a finite resource.
No one can
stop it
restrain it
or legislate it
even if they hate it.
To dam it up
hide it
flee it
fight it
deny it
is a worthless war
of losing battles.
So drum it up.
Choose it.
Ally it.
Sing it.
Say it.
Be in it.
In short,
I can sum up
what I know
about love
in just two words,
and it’s this:
IT IS.