Bones (A Poem)

I carry it with me,
this bag of bones,
of broken down building blocks.
These I have gathered,
these moldering bits of a million little memories,
times and places and people,
thousands over the course of a life,
tucked away for safekeeping.
It drags behind me,
clatters and clacks in a diabolical cacophony.
Always I carry this calcified collection,
but only a few can see,
and those few know the weight of it themselves.
They carry their own
bones in sacks, dangling from weary hands.
Why is not the question.
It is when.
When to open it?
And which.
Which to choose?
And how.
How to fit that one fragile bit into the puzzle just so.
Oh yes,
the burden is heavy,
and every day it grows.
But for those who carry the bags,
curate the bones and create new skeletons,
there is no greater treasure.

Practice Makes Perfect (A Poem)

One, two, three
Chapters
Lines
Cups of coffee
Thousand words

Not quite done

Write it down
Write it down
Work it out

Find the phrase that
Makes it perfect
Over and over
Then and now

“Time, time, time
See what’s become of…”

My work
My mind
Too much
Or much too finite

Practice, practice, practice
The difference between:
Talent
And
Mastery

Patience, patience, patience
Is a virtue
Is a struggle
Is the space between
Good
And
Great

Not there yet, but –

Almost, almost
Always almost
Forever so close

Keep it up,
Keep it up,
Keep up the fight

It’s the plight
Of the creative soul:

To make it beautiful
But know
It will never be whole

What do you do when you’re feeling uninspired?

I’m having trouble thinking of what to write today. Normally, I work on posts a week or two in advance – though I don’t always post what I’ve worked on – but lately, life’s been too chaotic for much in the way forethought.

So, I found myself today doing what I normally do when I’m feeling uninspired, and I looked through some of my favorite pictures. I came across this one, from a trip to Alaska back in 2016.

I’m not sure what it is, but something about this photo just speaks to me today. Maybe it’s the way the water is just so calm and clear. My mind certainly isn’t lately. Or maybe it’s that the pebbles all seem to fit together just so, like they were meant to be exactly where they are. Maybe it’s the slant of the light on the ripples, beautiful and brief, and now memorialized forever in a snapshot.

And I don’t know what I want to do with it. I’m sure, though, that there’s a poem or a story in it somewhere.

So, we’ll see, I suppose, and hopefully I’ll wake up feeling better and brighter tomorrow, because I’ve promised a short story on Friday, and I keep my promises. 🙂

For now, I’m curious. What do you do when you’re feeling uninspired? How do you fight feeling…just, meh…when you’re writing? If you have a good tip or any tools that you use, I’d love to know!

P.S. – Thankfully, we didn’t get a lot of ice on Monday evening. And also thankfully, it looks like we might actually get some snow this weekend. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

A Note on My December Short Story

I’ve been plugging away at my December short story this week. I think I like what I’ve got and where I’m going. My original goal was to post it today, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. So, I’ll try to post on Friday. It’s a Christmas story (I think), so it would make sense to post it on Christmas Day (I think).

If not by Christmas Day, then it will be next week.

By the end of December, there will be a new short story on this blog.

I don’t struggle with deadlines, I think, so much as I struggle with ideas. I’ve got lots and often I’ll start a few different stories at once and see which one finishes first. I’ve started two different stories for December, and I like them both. I’ve put in a similar amount of time on them at this point, but I think I know which one I’ll focus on in the coming hours/days.

I don’t know yet quite where it’s going, but I’m looking forward to seeing how it gets there.

I think that’s my favorite part of writing, at the end of the day. I love the journey. I love starting with almost nothing – a character, or a sentence, or a setting, or a few lines a dialogue – and building a whole world in the course of just a few pages.

There’s nothing quite so tantalizing and terrifying as a blank page.

So, onward, and we’ll see where I get to. Or rather, where the story takes me. Somewhere good, I hope, and a bit Christmas-y.

What scares you the most about writing?

Someone told me once that they wouldn’t be brave enough to write, and that I must be very brave to try. I’ve been thinking about that this week, as 2020 comes to an end and I set goals and dream dreams for next year.

I’m not a very brave person. Truly. I’m afraid of heights, snakes, flying, germs (ESPECIALLY NOW), crowds, ladybugs (Don’t ask. I don’t know either.), and the dark. Yes, the dark. And yes, I am in my thirties.

When I decided I wanted to write – really write, and make a career of writing – it wasn’t out of courage. It was out of desperation. I felt like there was nothing else in the universe I could do, and do as well, as write, and that if I didn’t get my words out there, part of me would just…shrivel up and die. And I felt like I was perilously close to that happening, and I couldn’t let it. I couldn’t lose myself.

I know. It sounds very dramatic. I’m a Leo. And an only child. And a retired theatre kid.

But the sad truth is, writing scares me, too. I figure anything worth doing should probably scare you a little, and sharing my thoughts and my fears and my hopes and my demons with the world is pretty frightening.

The thing that scares me the most, though, more than anything else, is that once I write and put my words out there, they don’t belong to me anymore. They belong to anyone who reads them. And once I’ve sent my poems and stories and essays out into the great, wide world, I hope they’ll find the people who need them, who want them, who will love them. But I know the world is not a safe, kind place for stories.

I write anyway. I think that’s the thing about life. You’ll always be afraid, and you’ll live anyway. Boats are safest in the harbor.

But that’s not where they’re made to be. So of course, I’m afraid to put my writing out there. But I do it anyway, because stories are meant to be read. And words are their own kind of magic. And I’d rather use the magic and be afraid than live a life without any magic at all.