Poetry & Words

POETRY & WORDS :: Writing Every Morning

An Exercise in Writing Daily“It is by sitting down every morning to write that one becomes a writer,” says Gerald Brenan. “Those who do not do this, remain amateurs.”

I do not want to remain an amateur.

And so, this ordinary morning, with my bowl of ordinary cereal, with the sounds of an ordinary washing machine swish-swishing in the background, I sit down to write.

I do not have hours to type, I do not have hours to think. I do not have a quiet room and an empty day holding nothing but blank pages and shifting letters. Instead, I have the luxury of a room bursting with life, bursting with shouts and squeals and sliding-off-the-couch thumps. I have a morning with coffee and a three-year-old, the latter holding more energy than the former promises.

And so, I write.

And I walk out into the heat, into the sweltering summer, toward my wild-child’s first swimming class, and into this new habit of daily writing.

We can both try something new.

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Poetry & Words

POETRY & WORDS :: Sojourning is not a rhythm

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The words get lost in the days, lost in the shuffle between high tide and low tide — the choreographed swap of sand and sea — lost in the couch cushions, like copper coins, lost in the fray, lost in the routine between breakfast and sunset.

This, of course, is exactly when I should be writing. Words are spun from the gossamer threads which wrap around our days. I can see them, glinting, drenched from the downpour, drenched from the puddles, drenched from the spray.

“You write while you are alive”, Anaïs Nin said. “You do not preserve them [living moments] in alcohol until the moment you are ready to write about them.”

And so, alive, I write.

We stick pins in a map and wonder which one will hold. We squint at the horizon and see mountains through the mirage, and yet, the pillar stands still. The life of a sojourner is not a rhythm of motion and stillness, like the poets would have you believe. Sometimes, there is no rhythm. Sometimes it is abrupt, sometimes it is whiplash, sometimes it is an awkward slow dance, a holding pattern at best. Sometimes, you fold up your belongings into a square, and load the truck, and don’t look back when every inch of you longs to cling to the roots you tried to push into the broken ground. But most of the time, you stand.

You stand even when your feet so dearly ache to run.

Life in Photos, Poetry & Words

POETRY & WORDS :: Maybe I’ll Write

White Ceramics and Lucky Bamboo

Eiffel Tower and Washi Tape

Grey Dotted Paper Lantern

Pablo Neruda

Blue Toile Pillowcase

“Wonder Aveline the Super Dog” has finally gone to sleep, Josiah is at a Sigur Rós concert, and I am here in a quiet house with a lovely plate of food and silence.

Maybe I’ll watch a movie, maybe I’ll write a bit more — not here, mind you, but elsewhere, and just for me.

Sometimes I think that’s the only way I’ll ever write a book is if I tell myself all the words are only just for me. Sometimes when I’m writing for you, I let you get in the way. Sometimes you scare me, and I let that fear change how much of the story I tell.

I’ll never write a book if I write it for you.

So maybe tonight I’ll write for me. Maybe I’ll finally open up that lonely document called Chapter One, and maybe I’ll begin it like this:

“I lived in the South the year I turned thirty. At least, I thought it was the south. It was well below the Mason-Dixon line. It dangled into the ocean, for crying out loud; wedged between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic. But people said it wasn’t the real South. The real deep South, they told me, was further north. …”

Poetry & Words

POETRY & WORDS :: Let the words fall again

Technology as a hindrance to overcoming writers block

Mason Jennings has a new album, due out November 12 (11.12.13). I haven’t really listened to any of the sneak peeks yet. But I am struck by the way he wrote this album.

“After nearly a year of writer’s block, Jennings holed himself up in a cabin with only a handful of tools at his disposal: a guitar, electric piano, bookshelf, notebook, tape recorder and one 90-minute cassette.

…’I was overwhelmed by all the technology,’ Jennings says, ‘and it was getting in the way of the true core, the mystery of songwriting.'” [via this article.]

I love that.

Maybe when the writing stops coming, maybe it’s because I’m letting things chase the words away. Maybe I need to chase everything else away, and the words will return.

I want the words to fall again, like delicate leaves, slightly broken, let loose from an autumn tree. I want them to fall again, to gather around my feet, to follow the path they were meant to flow in the middle of the silent forest.

Maybe I need to chase away the howling wind.