Sign My Petition! (And Other Insanity)

If my friend Laura were still with us, and she could’ve spent her birthday today following someone around just to get material for her next comedic essay, she might’ve picked me.  How might she describe this mess of a thing I laughingly called a schedule today?  I wish she were here to write it, but I’m going to try and tell it like I think she might have told it.

Before I launch into all that, because I’m as likely as not to forget it if I don’t ask now even though I did put it in the title:  would y’all sign my petition?  I want to change the name of “work out” to “work in” because, if I manage to get any exercise on any given day, it’s just because I worked it in.  And usually that results in my schedule not really working out.

Onward!

As with many a splendored thing, this new schedule I’ve put together for 2014 looks great on paper.   My first priority is writing, and I have rededicated myself to one project in particular (some of y’all who know me are thinking, She means re-rededicated).  It seems like everybody and her brother has a “strategic plan” these days,  so I came up with one of those to help me accomplish my 2014 goals.  You should know I have certain personal challenges which are relevant to this discussion: I am not a morning person and even when I wake up early, I cannot be sure I am a fully functioning human until about 10:00 a.m.; I do not multi-task, and I tell myself that multi-tasking is the work of the devil so I can feel better about not doing it; I am a slave to lists, so much so that if I veer from the day’s list, I will make another list just so I can catalog and check off the things I actually did do – some people call that a diary, but, whatever.   I’m also one of those people who gets more things done the more things I have to do. 

So.  Because of that last thing I mentioned up there, I thought concocting a daily schedule with “extra” things To Do built into it would be a great help to me!  Let that simmer for a minute… . Continue reading

Light and Dark

Image 2 - Version 2  I make no secret of the fact that I love where I live, and cherish it.  It’s a great blessing to me to look out my kitchen windows and see the lake that has played such a big part in my life.  If there is such a thing as mindless meditation, then I often am provoked to it, just staring out these windows.

Today, in our cove, the lake is that greenblack color – not the bottle green tipped with a hint of gray when the clouds and sun dance together on its surface.  This green is inkier, and the way the waves are moving just now all slow and languid, it is easy to imagine it viscous and even warm.

Image 1 - Version 2

Further out, peering at the merging main channel, all is some version of gray: dark water leads to a bright silvery line of mist on the far shore, up to a charcoal stand of trees, and up further still to the mop water clouds.

When I watch the lake move like today, I wonder if it’s all simply the force of wind and rain, or whether the old river’s current has it stirring all the way to its red muddy bottom, knocking loose the skeletons of the farms and homesteads underwater now – old tractors, barn remnants, rusted milk buckets, lockets, lies, guns, betrayals …

Image - Version 2Having lived near this lake most of my life, I love it and fear it.  It’s not the annual tales of the sighting of a hopelessly lost alligator, or the stories about the “catfish as big as a man” that scare me.  It’s the things men do, and have always done, that they bury deep, that might be buried deep right out there right now.  Deep, but stirring …

Today is Tuesday; Tomorrow is Not Guaranteed

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

Besides that, what am I supposed to wear?

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…

Last Winter

Damn cold.
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.
Continue reading

And She’s Off! Again …

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