Poetry & Words

The Battle Between Blogger and Writer

The Battle Between Blogger and Writer

I feel stretched out, sometimes, pulled and twisted and at odds in the middle between the world of the writer and the world of the blogger. One is born a writer, but made a blogger.

For the writer, the sky itself shouts and whispers. Words fall down all around me from the sky, and I gather them up by the armfuls and pour them into the lines, giving my book a little shake at the end to settle in the errant punctuation.

But the blogger writes for function and purpose; proposals and contracts call for a practical list of countable tips that scrape away the cloud-words and add in keywords which screech and rasp against the lyrical rhythm.

For the writer there is always more to say — an endless spring of words to channel into funnels and sift, the gold letters glistening against the dross. But for the blogger, it’s never enough. The blogger must pour stats atop the words, and must toss the words together into a promotional salad, mixing up the letters every which way, until they’re poured out onto the editors’ desks and extruded through the constricting channels of social media.

The writer in me is always battling the blogger.

And the blogger, against her own will, must fight the writer.

“Out of the red and silver and the long cry of alarm to the poet who survives in all human beings, as the child survives in him; to this poet she threw an unexpected ladder in the middle of the city and ordained, ‘Climb!’” -Anaïs Nin

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Poetry & Words

The Place Where Time Can’t Find You

A Place Where Time Can't Find You

Everyone needs a place where time can’t find you, where the landscape swallows time the way the water gulps up the shoreline every second of the day. This corner of the world is detached from time, wholly present, endlessly still, yet always in motion. The water sees to that.

It’s good to disappear sometimes.

It’s good to be suspended in that ethereal space between perpetual motion and perpetual stillness.

As bloggers, our livelihoods are attached by a fragile string to algorithms and engagement and content. We feel a constant push to be active, to be relevant, to be on top of the ever-raging onslaught of consumer habits and user trends. We photograph, we edit, we caption, we package, we sell. We ride the waves of Instagram stories and live streams and pin boards and tweets.

But photographs don’t last, here, in this empyreal place. Oh, photographers have tried: these deep-ridged trunks and these limestones cliffs dissolve into silvery liquid depths on the developers’ trays — but then fade again, swallowed by time. And as I stand here, I put the camera back into my bag, reverently. This moment exists so deeply outside of time, that to photograph further is to crush the gossamer wings which bore me here.

Few things are constant. Grace, the tide, His omnipotence, eternity. These rocks of chalky white have not always stood sheer, have not always born sturdy roots of cedar red. But they have outlived me — and outlived Instagram — a thousand times over.

A place which swallows time also swallows up egotism, and vain ambition, and leaves only perspective behind. Existence is not dependent on audience. Performance is not dependent on audience.

The water in this bay does not stop faithfully sweeping up shore, the cliffs do not stop holding up the trees, the sun does not stop feeding chlorophyl green for mere lack of audience.

What is the reason you picked up the pen? What drives you to tap away at a keyboard and scribble fragments on napkin shreds in the wee smalls? Were you born with the incurable drive to find the one shareable Facebook meme that will allow your analytics to exceed last week’s numbers — or were you born with a story inside you?

I see the story in these cliffs, in the sky, in the tools left in the white clay dust beneath the crumbling foundations, in the iron anchors sinking, in the blackened chimneys still. And through this dimmed glass, I see.

The beat of my soul pulses to a rhythm composed  by all the unphotographable places I’ve stepped inside. These northern cliffs, that impenetrable eastern curtain of iron, the southern mountains edging closer to the Equator. My heritage, my culture, every place my footprint has pressed. This is my soul, my heart, my life, my story.

I can’t iron this all out and square up the edges to place it neatly into Instagram. You’ll never see it there. But if you listen quietly, you can hear it, in a place that swallows time.

You have this, too. It’s not just me.

You have moments you can’t contort into a photograph. These are your illuminated treasures. Pull them out of the ash. Hold them up to the Light. You are a blacksmith. The fire refines. And these words are molten in a way photographs will never be.

Lift up your tools, face the fire, and write.

Poetry & Words

POETRY & WORDS :: The Muse of Realization

“And what do you do?”

“Well, um, I like to write.”

“Oh, interesting! What do you write?”

“. . .”

The Muse of Realization - On yearning but not knowing what to do - via Oaxacaborn

Someday, I want to have an answer to that question.

Right now, when the words “I like to write” slip out of my mouth, I hear instead “Well, I like the idea of writing something someday.”

But no person ever became a writer by thinking about it.

I think about plenty, though. It’s just been a long time since I’ve written.

Today I thought about how today’s sky was softer than yesterday’s sky; how today’s sky made Florida less of a seven-letter-word and more like something that might even be able to someday remind me of home. I thought about how the back of Aveline’s head still smells as pure and perfect as it did two years ago, and how when I go home my own momma pulls me close and breathes in and says, “Mmm, you smell good.” I thought about how I wanted to be able to do the same thing years from now, and then I thought about how, really, years aren’t given. Years are loaned, and years aren’t ours alone to hold.

I thought about heaven and how the soft sky would one day split, and I thought about the colors that would pour down. I wondered if there would be more than cerulean and midnight blue and the lavender of heather after the dew.

I thought about how music notes are really alive on their own, and I thought about how individually they dance, and how together they become something new every second, something beyond corralling with words.

And I thought about this earth, and the countries on every part of these sphere, and the children on the streets and in the orphanages, and the children with no homes. And I thought about how I don’t know how to help them and I don’t know what do, except that I need to do more. And I thought about all the tears I’ve cried over this, and how a burdened heart alone can’t change the world.

And I thought about all the times I’ve thought and not written, and thought but not acted, and thought but not done.

And then I remembered Wendell Berry, and the Muse of Realization, and thought about how maybe this place in the journey is exactly where I am supposed to be.

“There are, it seems, two muses: the Muse of Inspiration, who gives us inarticulate visions and desires, and the Muse of Realization, who returns again and again to say “It is yet more difficult than you thought.” This is the muse of form. It may be then that form serves us best when it works as an obstruction, to baffle us and deflect our intended course. It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.”

I want to sing.