You and Me

On the first day of the world

You stapled me to the floorboards

Too busy watching the stars

To see me bleeding at your feet,

Too far away for me to touch your peach skin

But close enough that I could smell your dandelion scent.

I am still here, as are you,

Though an eternity has passed,

Long enough for your hair

To tumble out the window

And weave among the constellations,

Long enough for your blown breath

To spin the worlds upon their axis

And give life to dirt,

Long enough for my blood to turn to rubies

That catch enough starlight for you to turn

And see Me.

Discarded Light

So, I recently wrote the poem Ink Dreams for an assignment in my poetry class (Yup, I’m taking a poetry class this semester. You are hereby warned of the incoming poetry), and I’ve gotten a great reception from you all. The assignment was to write a poem with this prompt: “_____ drips from______ fingers while they sleep.” In addition to Ink Dreams, I wrote one other poem and I have decided to send it out to you for feedback. It is a little less refined than Ink Dreams, but that is mainly because I am not sure what to do next. Enjoy!

 

Sunlight drips from your fingers while you sleep

Past the hangnails, the torn fingertips,

The clinging ingrained dirt

Pooling on the floorboards,

Rippling over the discards of your life,

That have attained so fine a layer of dust

That it floats when you open the window to elicit a breeze

In your stagnant body.

You lay in the middle of your circle of sunlight

But cling to the darkness under your pillow,

Basking in the shadows

And fearing the light.

Advice 2

So, I had to give up on NanoWrimo. School decided that this semester wasn’t quite hard enough, so it procured three research papers and a creative writing portfolio for me to put together and then lumped on top of the pile of misfortune two final cumulative exams on the same day.

Great.

So, I have a partly finished novel that I am forced to put aside until the semester stops dogging my heels. In the mean time, I am also taking a larger hiatus from here. Don’t worry, it is only three weeks. I will be back before you know it. I do, however, want to offer this to you until then.

So, my creative writing professor here at college is Dr. Robert Vivian, a man who walks around the world in perpetual wonder. He is amazing and offers some of the best advice when it comes to writing that I have ever received. This is my third semester in a row with him and I regret nothing except that I have taken all of his creative writing classes and can no longer continue (though, I am currently trying to devise a way to change that… we shall see). His curiosity about the world can never be fulfilled and he is continually astonished by the beauty he is surrounded by.

Seriously. You may think I am exaggerating, but I am not in the slightest. He refuses to hold his creative writing in a normal classroom because he feels his mind is too confined and moves them permanently to a corner in the library where we are surrounded by books and that unique smell they give off or the basement of the chapel where occasionally piano music drifts through the floorboards as we work. He offers assignments where he simply gives us a list of characteristics and asks us to write a story where they are all included, has us create a fictional town and then insists we propagate characters to fit inside, takes us outside to sit in the sunlight on the lawn and write about a ray of light on some object, or sends us on a scavenger hunt for the last half of the class period to find the oldest book in the library and then write about it (by the way… I highly suggest you do these prompts. They are quite engaging.).

So, I have decided to share a bit of his wisdom with you. He is a firm believer that writing comes from a place of other, a dream space that sends us inspiration to the point where we are simply a conduit of words and phrases to place upon the page… sound familiar? Yeah… kind of like my theory about my Muse. That probably explains why I like him so much. The following link is a paper he wrote about the writing process and I do hope you will take the time to read it. He wrote it several years ago, but it is still relevant to what he teaches and the writing process in general. He explains his theory in more detail within and I think it will help those of you who are actually managing to finish NanoWrimo or simply write and are looking for some new inspiration/writing advice.

http://www.sosyalarastirmalar.com/cilt1/sayi3/sayi3_pdf/vivian_robert.pdf

Godspeed!

Reborn

I am sitting on a porch and listening to the Rain,

straining for Thunder and wishing for Lightning,

and thinking of times past,

before responsibility,

before I had an inkling of what it means to be an adult,

though I still am not so certain what that entails,

before I left my childhood home for a new one,

before I sheltered myself inside of my mind

and imagined.

 

When I was young and all the world was new,

when I had no notion as to who Mother Nature was

or why adults always complained about her,

and instead understood the rules of hide-and-go-seek,

tag, and the floor is lava,

Rain and Thunder and Lightning helped me to realize

all that I did not know.

My family, often unpredictable, sometimes volatile, and usually so loving as to smother,

found solace and kinship, understanding and peace, in the fury of nature.

With a father who works construction

there is little time at home for bonding

and the only moments that offered any peace, any pause in our lives, was Rain,

when the ground grew muddy and no work could be done.

My mother would stop baking, cleaning, and fussing,

my brother and I would cease fighting and playing,

and join my father outside

to sit on the porch and listen and watch

and, occasionally, talk of unimportant matters that were quickly forgotten.

 

Now, as I sit on the porch railing of a house I have never been to before,

in the center of a college campus busy with activities,

breaking from a life rife with strife,

I can reminisce for but a moment

before the students leave their studies to venture abroad.

Watching them race through the rain,

I realize that the droplets cause a childish reaction in everyone who passes

as they laugh and scream, jump and run,

as if all the years have passed away

and, once again, they are children splashing in puddles.

One girl takes off her shirt and runs to her house in her bra

and I feel resentment, though I do not realize the cause at first.

 

I wish I could do that.

Strip and run, laughing and screaming, through the rain,

letting it course along my skin,

caressing the secret places that I keep hidden

and washing away the dirt that I don’t even know is there.

I wish that I were comfortable enough with myself

that I could ignore the prying eyes

and let Nature touch me directly.

 

Then the peace is broken as a friend joins me

and ushers me back to my room,

all reminiscent thoughts banished

in the wake of homework and deadlines and applications.

I take off my sandals and cover my phone,

preparing with marked efficiency for an inescapable walk

through the rain with no cover,

where I will surely be soaked to the skin.

 

Yet, as I separate from her and walk alone,

I feel a giddy glee bubble up

and I start deliberately treading in the puddles,

kicking the water until it fans in front of me

and then flipping my foot into the droplets that still hang in the air.

I turn my face up to the sky

and hope my hair will hold some of the essence, the smell, of the rain,

the perfume of peace and hope.

 

And as I enter my room

I strip off my wet clothes and stand in my underwear,

looking at myself in the mirror

under the harsh fluorescent lights,

water dripping from my disheveled hair,

skin lightly glistening when I move,

and no longer see any flaws,

but a girl who has become a woman

without losing that which made her a child

and has been cleansed by the rain

despite the best efforts of her avoidance and fear.

 

I do not know this woman,

this stranger born of the rain

who stares at me with a mysterious smile

and confident eyes.

But I will.

With time we shall meet in the middle,

Me, shy, uncertain, doubting, and

Her, self-assured, confident, outgoing,

and together will step into the rain

and erase all precepts of being separate,

of Her and I,

and instead become Me.

Stories From Our Pasts

Imagine a six-foot tall, broad shouldered imposing man riding a unicycle down a city block, holding a baby underneath his arm and laughing while his short, five foot four dumpy Italian wife runs after him screaming.

It’s one of my parent’s favorite stories, how he carried me down half the block while my mother panicked and shouted, “Give me back that baby!” My father’s face always transforms with the telling, his cheeks growing rosy and his eyes sparkling at the recalled mischief while my mother huffs in remembered frustration. It goes hand in hand with the story of my father taking me to the neighbor’s house to get my diaper changed in fear of the poop, or of him throwing up off the front porch after I threw up in my crib and, upon smelling the vomit when reentering the house, continuing to the back porch to throw up there. These stories inevitably bring another to all of our minds, one that I can actually remember and still makes me laugh upon thinking back upon it.

When I was growing up, we lived in a small suburb and my aunt and uncle were six blocks down the street. It was common for a family bike ride to culminate there. We spent enough time visiting that I still feel comfortable walking in without asking and could probably find anything you were looking for in the house.

In this case, though, the trip to visit was via unicycle and it was just my father and me.

I was probably four or five years old, still small enough to ride on my father’s shoulders. He placed me up there, warned me not to pull his hair, and popped up onto the unicycle. After carefully balancing back and forth by the porch so he could grab a beer for each hand, since he didn’t want to impose when we arrived, we cycled off down the street.

Now, unicycles are trickier than bicycles. In order to get off, you have to fall forward and reach back to catch the unicycle with one hand, and the problem with this particular incident is that my father’s hands were full.

I remember that we were at a point in the sidewalk where I had to duck a little to avoid some low-lying, bright green branches and the movement must have triggered something in my body, because I farted.

Naturally, I did what any child would do upon thinking about farting while sitting on her father’s shoulders: I snickered. And as I did, I started to fart more, which then induced me to greater hilarity and more farts. With each laugh, I rocked back and forth and yanked on my father’s head, causing him to turn this way and that as he tried to balance.

My father started off asking me what was so funny, but soon he started to laugh with me, so that he was teetering back and forth on the unicycle with two beers in his hands while I clutched at his head and he couldn’t get off because he couldn’t catch the unicycle.

When he asks me what was so funny today, I just shrug and say, “It was.” In fact, it still is, even more so when I picture what we must have looked like. Can you imagine seeing a six-foot, broad shouldered man riding a unicycle with a farting young girl on his shoulders yanking on his head and both laughing hard enough to induce tears?

Then the conversation will move on to the hole that my brother dug in the sandbox that was as deep as he was tall, the giant snow pile my father made in our front yard after plowing one year that caused my brother to bust his lip or how my parrot fell down the stairs while yelling for my mother. One guarantee I can always give is that if you place my parents in a relaxed, stress-and–worry-free-guaranteed atmosphere with friends, they will start telling stories. It is one of the few times I can see them smile so much and the flashbacks to the past are a welcome release to happier times after so much focus on the future.

Dreamy Inspiration

Sometimes, after waking from a particularly vivid dream, I feel like something is missing. I’ll find myself reaching for objects that aren’t there, trying to accomplish tasks that are beyond my ability, and searching for thought processes that I’m sure I was thinking just a moment ago, though I don’t know what they are. I just feel my mind reaching for something and whenever it isn’t able to grasp it, I find myself feeling confused and sad, like I’ve lost something important.

I have come to suspect that my mind is looking for creation, the power of changing the world around me to create something more that is only possible to attain in a dream. When nothing changes, that is when I realize what I am doing. The realization doesn’t end the feeling, though. Instead, it intensifies as I actively search for it along with my subconscious.

The lure of writing grabs me best at such times. Throughout the day, all I will want to do is write as I go to classes or work and run errands. I spend the day as though I am still dreaming and the world around me becomes secondary. It is times like this that I understand how some people could become lost in their dreams. When dreams become so similar to, or even take precedence over, reality, it is hard to break free. So I just take advantage of my extreme introversion at such times and use my wildest imaginings as inspiration.

Take A Break

I am an easily stressed person. Even if my life is going considerably easily, I still find ways to become stressed. I’ll worry about things coming up in a couple of months or how tired my parents are starting to look. When I have a reason to be stressed, it consumes my thoughts and I have trouble sitting still even if there isn’t anything I can do about right at that very second.

So, sometimes, I just have to find a way to escape.

Now, normally my escape is books but when I’m in college, reading for fun is not an option. It instantly consumes me and the option of actually doing my homework becomes more of a suggestion. So, I’ve turned to coloring. For Christmas, I asked for some coloring books and now, whenever the stress becomes too much, I turn on some instrumental music and color.

There isn’t much that can make my mind go blank, but coloring manages splendidly. It takes the knot of frustration, fear, and… just general angst and smooths it out gently, as I’m rocking slowly in a boat out on a lake with the sun shining down and warming my skin and a light breeze wafting past my cheek. It gives me the inner peace that escapes me most days.

So today that is what I want you to do. No, not color (unless you are inclined to do so, in which case I heartily support you). Today, I want you to stop and take some time for yourself. Do whatever it takes for your inner peace to smooth over your soul. We all need a break sometimes.