Monday, January 21, 2013

Open Editing #1

So this is my attempt to live out courage in writing. This poem is very much at an in-between stage, I haven't even begun to look at arranging the lines - visually, but feel free to suggest anything. I've changed everything so many times that I really don't know what exactly needs improvement. But I do feel sort of an unfinished, dissatisfaction with it..maybe it just tries too hard..any thoughts??

sing the demons.
        “Sleep close, soft dreams -
the winter moon’s rising,
         a dead air drowns the night.
The time has come for dreaming.

Don’t wait; don’t cling
         to beads and lose
the chance to see ahead.
         Cover the Icons,
put out their lights -
          close the way for them.

With bread and cream at table, smoke and sweat -
          bodies tangled. Lie still while we
and the dead come calling
           to dance along your palm in moonlight;
and sing tomorrow’s song.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Tea Tins and Ritual

I’ve been lucky this week. I picked just the right day to ride along to Portland with my husband. I spent the day basking in 60 degree sunlight, wandering the bookstores and picking up fantastic thrift-store necessities. My favorites by far are the tea tins - a set of three, made in England, and just the right sizes to house my coffee and two best beloved (after Weekend Morning) teas. I have a basic, organic Irish Breakfast tea in the smallest tin, and will very soon have Simpson and Vail’s Smokey Siberian in the mid-sized tin. I can’t wait. I haven’t actually had my Siberian tea in years, but it’s left such a mark on my mind I can’t forget the late-night taste of it.

The tea tins are in a way, representative of my renewed commitment to ritual and beauty. Like the life I’m trying to build, they’re beautiful, orderly, and simple. They store things that would otherwise mess up my shelves. And they’re beautiful..I’ve been trying to do things gradually - I don’t like to be gradual, I like to jump into things with so much enthusiasm. But my enthusiasm is hard to maintain, and when I’m too eager, I cut out things I should have kept, and keep things I should cut. Just as I do in my writing. So I’m slowing down, settling into rituals, welcoming the silence and the imperfection that comes with reflection. I’ve spent the morning cutting out the unbeautiful: words, phrases, dust, and junk; drinking tea with scones and cream; stoking the stove against the wind and cold. Our warm days are done, the windchill is bitter and the sunlight can only warm the soul, not the air.

On the advice of some friends, I’m planning to delve into my writing by posting poems here more often. Open and ready for critique. My hope is that it will encourage more dedication to the improvement of my craft. I’m also removing myself from the internet on the weekends to welcome in the peace of those days and nurture my little family more with my full presence. I love the new goals that come with each new year, especially those that slowly reveal themselves. The wind is loud now, a Friday wind, full struggle and anticipation. Yarrow is napping under blankets on the bed and I have a stack of poems to prepare for new eyes. Enjoy the weekend.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Courage in Writing

 I have fantastic new stationary. And this morning, I’ve started writing letters again. I love the process of writing letters, but like most of my writing, I have trouble actually sending them off. There is always that moment after finishing when I sit down, reread what I’ve written and think ‘oh no, I really can’t send this off. I need to rewrite everything!” I don’t complete things well. I’m always thinking of new and better revisions. I am like Oscar Wilde, working all morning to take a comma, and all afternoon at putting it in again. But beautiful paper, nice pens and dark, refreshed typewriter ink are helpful. Sensory things like that make me write better and with more confidence than I would otherwise. My poor husband is always complaining that I steal his art pens and use them up making lists and writing journal entries, or letters that will never be sent.

I’m trying to be more ‘daring’ in my writing. Not that my writing is dull, but I’m not daring in that I don’t like to finish. I like to edit and re-edit, I like to loose papers and leave things undone so that they remain safe potentialities..not grown and gone and away from my loving neglect. So I have hastily written letters to send off to friends and family who will (hopefully) not judge them harshly, and poems that will be done enough for editing by others by the end of the week piled on my desk. I’m being reckless with my words, and enjoying it, for the moment.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Slow Life

It’s been nice to write slowly these past few days. I’ve spent more time cleaning (the unending battle), and redecorating a bit. My desk is clearer than it’s been in a long time, in part because Yarrow has stolen my typewriter, which is out of ink, and caused it to be set on her desk (the tea-box) so that she can write long letters to Jesus or whomever. I’ve been enjoying the best pork I’ve ever had, and planning for spring - which is my favorite occupation when the snow makes it impossible to act on any of those plans.

I’ve been more unsocial than usual the past couple weeks - I think I’m still in recovery mode from the Christmas-Wedding-New Year’s extreme, though Hannah’s wedding was so perfect, and so beautiful, with Christmas carols before the Mass and enough love to carry anybody through the weekend! But Epiphany, I did manage to pull myself together enough for a friend’s “Twelfth Night” party..which was more refreshing than anything: just eight of us, good cheese, great coffee, amazing coffee-cake, and Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” to read through. I read Viola, and felt a peace in the English Major part of my soul. It was lovely. Yarrow acted the part of Audience, clapping loudly and yelling out “yay” at various intervals..especially the end.

Christie, over at Spinning Straw into Gold, will be reading Harry Potter this year, and sharing her reflections. I’m excited to see what she thinks, and a little worried, as most of the people I know from the blogging community are fans, and if Christie joins them, I’ll be all alone.. So I’ve decided to read the books with her this year, and share my reactions as well, I haven’t read any but the last book in years, and who knows, maybe I’ll enjoy it, either way, writing reactions is always fun. So I hope you don’t mind, Christie..I promise not to ruin your first read, and to only post my responses after your’s!

In general, I think, unless I get very passionate about something. The rest of January might be very much a collection of moments and tiny reflections. At home I’m sort of setting the stage for the year, settling in and looking around a bit. I’m finally getting that library membership - the one that costs $30 a year because my town is too small to have it’s own library. The wind is effusive this morning. Not angry or wild at all but all the trees are dancing, especially the big, ugly, leaning pine down the road. I alway say I want to take it down - it makes my whole world look out of order, but I do love watching it wave.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Writing Together

California has put us out of rhythm. Last night, for the first time since Christmas, Yarrow was asleep before 9, and even then I stayed up late, feeding the stove and watching the stars. Napping is also a struggle, so we’re ‘writing’ together today - a process that involves way too many “uh-oh”s on Yarrow’s part (taking a bite of the deceptively attractive yellow crayon - oil pastels taste terrible! Dropping said crayon again and again and again; watching in amusement as Luba steals the cheese) and many joys - she is a very confident artist. Each drawing was pointed out to me as “pretty” -except the one she declared “WOW!” with all the excitement in her little being.

I am less productive, but I’ve had three cups of good tea, a beautiful dish of yogurt and mild success writing (very mild). Susanne Nance is playing good music on the radio and the stove is crackling merrily. Luba has not stolen all the cheese, yet..I know at some point I will have a moment to catch the poem in the back of my mind - if it’s still there. Right now I can feel it, but the words won’t come, and each little “uh-oh” makes them hard to see. I wonder, if I made a huge platter of popovers and set them out with blackberry jam and butter, coffee and cream - could I tempt my little poem back to me?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The New Year

I’ve been away, in California for four days watching a dear friend marry her beloved and begin a new life. It was lovely, one of the loveliest weddings I’ve ever seen: we sang Christmas hymns and celebrated under a full moon in weather that felt ridiculous under the light of Christmas candles and Holly wreaths. The ceremony made me miss my husband - snowed in at home with pork and presents and our sweet, neurotic dog. I came home in time for the New Year, jet-lagged and sleep deprived. I’m looking forward to 2013 - the year I will leave my 20s behind forever, the year I will - finally- do the many things I have collecting on resolution lists from year’s past.

The morning, only the second day of the year, is colder than we’ve had for a long time. I don’t remember a winter morning this cold last year - even on the nights I stayed up to feed the stove each hour. We’re better insulated, both by our own work and by the early storms that buried us in snow. I’m eating oatmeal and drinking the first of many cups of coffee as I watch my husband walk the long driveway out. I don’t have defined resolutions this year. 2012 had some of the best moments, and a few which stand alone as the worst moments of my little life, and I’ve been ending the year with a sense of renewed direction, not always well-lived out, but active and growing. I am, more than ever, resting in the hands of God and offering my life up to him. Waiting for him to show me the new year rather than planning it, or searching it out in cards and fire. Blessings to all in 2013, may it be everything good to you all!