findingtimetowrite

Thinking, writing, thinking about writing…

Archive for the tag “fear”

Meretricious

I am always late for the event (not even elegantly late, but REALLY late), but do join us over at dVerse Poets Pub for the Open Link Night.  Today it’s all about the poetry of the everyday, the mundane, the meretricious…

 

‘Awkward,’ he said,

dashing out of her bedroom and into her brain.

Forever to measure the yokels who followed,

the husband found wanting,

the wood left entangled,

the burbling of Jabberwocks

that filtered and flitted,

never to be caught again.

 

So they lived and soldiered on,

grim lines they furrowed,

objective: silence.

Not the harmonious calm of unspoken shared thoughts

but the hush for fear of a storm.

So they dealt with the past.

Not brushed aside but lulled,

put to pasture,

With nervous asides for skittish breaks.

 

Non-mention will cicratize the wounds.

Commuter Paradise

Credit: freedigitalphotos.net

Newspapers and gadgets are props

covering the hollowed glaze of non-looks.

How to avoid searching too deep,

meaning best left formulated by others,

through shopping sprees and TV,

in front of which you fall asleep.

 

With pendulous lids and bags dangling on hips

they shuffle along, spilling on platforms,

thundering the footbridges with their cadences of resignation.

Sleep-flushed faces in the dank reek of stations at dawn,

they come and go,

and in their tread I detect fear

of letting down,

of being let go.

Crime Fiction Fan

On the page she strides boldly

through gore, spattered, flung

arms dramatic, brain sharpishly screwed on.

No suspect is spared, no plotline too raw,

she ventures where others gasp, look away.

And she knows at least sixty ways

to dispose of a lover.

 

Yet the glimpse of a needle

makes her gibber to nurses.

She watches crime on TV through

chinked fingers and wine,

she dithers at shadows, jumps at

rustles in the road. A floorboard

creaking in the night sends her diving.

 

Scurry, scurry, little paws,

the horror of that nib on paper!

 

 

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

The Remains

Like little birds startled by crumbs we scatter

for cover when the big words come,

the ones stripped of any art, the ones that singe,

mostly avoided, successfully dodged those lumps of dry bread.

 

Keep truth abay with a light swathe, a gauzy cloak of

half-heard, half-uttered little drones of

nothingness, conventional riffs of jazz, too polite to improvise.

A necklace of platitudes we spin for each other:

barbs disguised in vanilla puddings

to be uncovered by the archaeologists of

our dead love.

 

Blocked

Word by word they sucked it

void of treasure, dry of sap.

The lotus seed burst not into bloom that year.

Bit by bit they chiselled

away at its proud likeness.

How hurtful, how convenient

when friends hurl friends to oblivion.

 

Clenched, jaw-like,

in a world of its own hating,

we shivered with the knowing,

we struggled with the touch.

The gush has settled down into a mere trickle

and mud is silting oddly the channels of delight.

 

We sigh and add more caustic

as inspiration dies.

Guess the Title

The challenge for this poem, should you choose to accept it, is guess the title (or the ‘subject’ of the poem).  I know, I know, sometimes a poem isn’t ‘about’ anything, but this particular one was written in response to a very specific fear (some might say I have too many fears in general).  A much earlier version of this poem appeared in the online multilingual literary (and arts) magazine http://www.respiro.org/

First the little slip.

Name much praised

remembered slightly aslant

like a jigsaw piece chewed and frayed

not quite fitting in its groove.

 

Then a petulant rewrite

of yesterday’s events:

a pout of a travesty

bearing no semblance, no cause, no fruit.

Too stubborn to admit all is haze and indifference.

 

Next, the heartbeat stop before mad scrabble

and dig and delve

to capture that elusive frame

in the broken film of the mind.

 

Finally, the chasms beckoning:

throw self in?

chuck pretence out?

make way for shadows,

population of yesteryear?

 

Darker and darker the woodland cover

hunched, stop-cock breathing,

waiting for the elliptical, haphazard flux to cease

the lynx-bared jaw of foaming bite

those fixed clear eyes of poison fire.

 

Precarious rock after rock

the chamois cleared.

But only just.

 

Next day

next week

its foothold less secure

chasms will close in-

to beckoning pools of blankness.

 

Who Needs Writers’ Groups?

Like Murakami, I tend to draw parallels between running and writing.  I did quite a bit of running when I was in school, but then forgot about it for years and returned to it fairly recently.  I am a long distance runner, not a sprinter (and I see myself as a novelist rather than a short story writer or a poet).  I am an avid consumer of magazines and books about improving your running and writing skills.

But, despite all advice to the contrary from these magazines, I do not have a running partner.  I prefer to run on my own.  Maybe it’s because I use running as a way to clear my head, maybe it’s because I am too embarassed that I may not be able to keep up with other runners, but I have steadfastly avoided running clubs. And the few wild stabs at running with a partner have ended in miserable defeat: one got pregnant, one fell and dislocated her hip, one ran off in the woods without me… and I have sprained my ankle three times on such occasions. Must be the multitasking (running and talking at the same time)!

Same with my writing.  I was doing fine on my own, thank you very much! No need to share.  However, in running, I did notice after a while that, if I did not have a race deadline or an accountability partner (a coach or a knowledgeable running partner), I began to slacken.  I began to find excuses for not running. I suffered from injuries. I stopped entering races.  You can see how this analogy is going.  I began to fear that my ‘ivory tower writing’ was making me self-complacent, self-absorbed and completely cut off from the realities of writing life.  A crippled, lazy, eternally unpublished, armchair runner/author.

I had been too afraid, too ashamed, hyper-sensitive and nervous to join a writing group.  Until I started this blog, I had hardly ever shown my work to anyone (and I made sure that I told no one how to find this blog at first).  Then the readers, the likes and the comments started coming in.  I began to think: ‘There, sharing your work with others is not that bad after all!’  Now, I know you are all nice folk out there, who bother to comment if you have something nice to say.  Otherwise you just move on to the next webpage or website. So it’s not representative of the ‘real’ world.

But I had made a start.  I was no longer quite so private, quite so timid.  I thought it was time to face my demons (and no, I am not referring to the other writing group members here). There is a rather well-established writers’ group in my area, one that organises conferences and invites well-known writers to run workshops, but I’m still working my way up to that level of public scrutiny.  Instead, I found a very local sub-set of this group.  We meet at someone’s house in idyllic conditions: a converted blacksmith’s cottage with a sunny terrace overlooking a stream. It’s a small group and each of us has about 20 minutes for reading and debating. It was my first proper meeting this weekend just passed, and perhaps they were all being especially nice and friendly, so as not to scare off the newcomer.

What I had feared most (other than being ripped to shreds upon reading the first paragraph or stanza), was that the experience would be useless.  In other words, that the other participants would be too polite, making all the right noises, nodding and agreeing, but giving me nothing to work with, no constructive feedback.  Or else that they would just like or dislike something at a visceral level, offering no reasons, no suggestions for improvement.

So, in other words, I feared blandness and rejection.

Instead, I discovered some interesting people, fascinating stories and poems, beautiful images and language…  and really helpful remarks.  Such as: ‘I’m stumbling a little when reading this line, is it the punctuation mark that makes all the difference?’  ‘How about breaking the lines down this way, would that open it up?’  ‘If you cut the first sentence out,  or even the first paragraph, would this story lose anything?’

Yes, that’s the kind of nitty-gritty advice that makes one leave with a (good) furrow in your brow and a sizzle in your belly.  Especially when it’s followed by a ‘I love the joy, the sound, the colour of this piece.  I want to read more!’  I look forward to reading and listening more.  Here’s to conquering your fears and to continuous improvement!

 

Feed Me

What I want and what I need

what I want to want

and what I think I want

are different

and changed again.

 

Praise sandwiched in snide greens  I can deal with.

But praise unbound leaps and gags the wary mind.

 

So feed me:

News in small digested parcels.

Awe in sane confects I can see and understand.

Joy in self-contained units, allotments of peace.

Lust in sanitised tray with neat compartments.

Change in easy gulps, fear in whispered inklings.

 

Feed me when the world turns colder.

Don’t open what I cannot bear.

Close the door, the draughts, the weather…

I fear ‘too much’, I crave no more.

Who Is It For?

I will be honest with you.  I started this blog without any thought that anybody would actually read it.  I only told two people about it (or that I was thinking about it).  It was more like an online diary, a place for experimentation, a means of holding myself accountable for writing every day.  I would not post every day, because some things take longer to write, but I would know if I was working or not.

It was to be a place of searing honesty.  Somewhere where I wouldn’t be able to hide behing my professional mask, my deadlines, my other multiple roles.  It was to be me vs. myself in the ring, two sumo wrestlers trying to outface each other. Only the opponent counted.

And then I discovered that I was being watched, that there are people reading this.  Complete strangers, some of them.  Who take the time to comment or ‘like’ my outpourings.  I had never dared share my writing before.  I had always been afraid of … being told that I can’t write, shouldn’t write, should stick to the day job etc. etc.  I feel raw as a newly hatched chick, I shiver a little in anticipation.  I am honoured and humbled.  Thank you, dear readers.

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