The issue of “priorities” is always a bit of a bear for me, but lately … Since May, I have lost two friends who were writers. When I say “lost,” I mean they died. They were both writers who left things unfinished. Not because they were careless in their work or undisciplined or anything else like that, but because their time here was cut tragically short. They both left behind unfinished projects they loved and longed to complete. They left behind goals they had not yet achieved. Is there a writer living who doesn’t have incomplete projects and goals? I don’t see how there could be, because writing is an ongoing process, just like living.
Importantly, here is what neither of them left behind: people in their respective lives who now are in some doubt about whether they were loved by one (or both) of these women. When it came to caring for their friends and their families, they left nothing unfinished. I want to tell you things about each of them, but I can’t bring myself to use their names simply because I cannot do either of them justice. I don’t want to disappoint the people who knew them, but I have to write something down about them. Something that must be shared. Forgive me in advance for all the ways this effort will be lacking.
I’m not going to go into how each of them died – the sheer unfairness of both their situations will overwhelm me, and I might spin off into a rant as I am wont to do. Made for cliché, right? “Life’s not fair.” Yes. Check. Knowing that life isn’t always fair, and being able to say those words out loud doesn’t make it easier to take. The phrase is a crutch for us when we don’t know what else to say. I don’t know what else to say about either of their deaths, and I refuse to resort to that phrase.
My two friends were the same in many ways, but also quite different. I don’t even know if they knew each other, but they had quite a few friends and acquaintances in common. One (let’s call her “L”) had golden hair that was always doing its own beautifully curly thing, and ice blue eyes that were like tractor beams. Continue reading
Today is February 24th. It is 72 degrees and muggy, and there are flying insects swarming and dancing above my front yard. This is not the kind of winter day that inspires a poem. It inspires a head scratch. It’s just plain weird. Got me grasping at my roots…
My bones’ wrappings rendered worthless
and the chill goes all the way through.
I marvel that my blood doesn’t thicken
and slow in my very veins.
But here it is December
and the air is as it should be:
stinging and cracking.
The Indian Summer, another typical Carolina autumn,
has abandoned us just of late –
stayed right up through Thanksgiving.
My fingers are blue.
Thank God for Mammaw’s quilt.
I like to renovate and redecorate, so welcome to the new space. I have moved some things around here and also put some things on my website, which I hope you will visit. I changed the name of this blog to “Talking to Myself” because, honestly, I do that all the time. For those of you who previously have been eavesdropping, let’s review: I was toying with the idea of trying to develop a “virtual poetry group,” but after talking to some other folks and taking into consideration my other commitments and goals, I had to let the idea die. It was a nice service with some lovely flowers …
Something strange happened to me last April, during Poetry Month, which brings me to this next bit.
After taking a hiatus from the act of submitting my poetry for consideration for publication, I am back in the “Po Biz,” or, as I like to call it, the “Mostly No Biz.” Just kidding. Not really.
Look, “no” is a huge part of what poets do, and I am all right with that aspect of writing. With poetry – and forgive me if you’ve heard me say this to myself before – I take rejection as an invitation to revise. I read and re-read and re-read the poor little poems that come back to me, unwanted. Sometimes, I readily accept that invitation to revise, feeling embarrassed that I sent my poem out into the big world with its clothes on wrong side out. And sometimes, after I read and re-read and re-read, I think my perfectly appropriately dressed poem just needs to find the right adopted home. Continue reading
Hi all. Sorry for the extended hibernation. Changes are coming.
April is poetry month, and I find that wholly appropriate, moreso this year than ever before (do I say this every year?). In the region where I live, April is a changeable month, duplicitous almost. It has its warm, promising, lush green days, punctuated with the slate-gray, cold, wet remnants of March. It is exciting; it is a time that cries out for renewed passion; it is forlorn; it is a time that calls for caution. A person with a weather eye learns to manage expectations, to ration his or her hopefulness, to maintain contact with reality while still dreaming of new possibilities.
April is poetry. Continue reading