Saturday, November 22, 2008

#138 Grateful . . .

I’m grateful for my cot.
It’s everything I’m not
portable, comfortable, and shiny.
I’ll disassemble it in just a month; I must
take all my courage. I’ll thrust
it into storage, where it shall not
travel south by plane like me,
where once again, I’ll be free
and on the road.

Instead I’ll fall limitless into summer – yahoo!
Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, and Peru,
they all beckon me south,
filling my eyes, ears and mouth
with delicacies and dreams unexpected.
I only ask what harm,
with my writer’s notebook under my arm,
could I come to – so unprotected,
as I embark on a low-key, six-month travel,
what mysteries soon to unravel?

A teacher once told a student never to write a poem that rhymes. I say, “Why not?” Although I’m grateful for family and friends, for each day that brings sunshine, libraries, art, and writing into my life, and my husband most of all, even if he adores football, we’re getting ready to travel to South America for six months. We leave December 31st, so this poem came this morning as a kind of preparation, just in time to be grateful again to the wonderful community of writers on Sunday Scribblings!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

#137 Stranger . . .

What could be stranger than
walking on two legs, bisected
by knees that bend only backwards,
or feet adorned with just five toes,
and hands with four fingers and
only one opposable thumb?

What could be stranger than
breathing air instead of water, or eyelids
that blink up and down?
What could be stranger than speaking words,
having a birth day, or eating fish but not the bones?
What could be stranger than putting on a watch
as if we could measure time?

Read other writings in response to this week's prompt from Sunday Scribblings, stranger.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Unguarded Utterance . . .

Just a note to say my poem "History Lesson" was listed on "A Dozen Poems this November," chosen by S. L. Corsua and highlighted on her poetry blog today, Unguarded Utterance. That's a first! Thank you, S. L. Corsua.

The other eleven poems listed made for interesting reading, if you are so inclined.

On writing query letters . . .

Each day that I write, I've been editing and revising my historical novel, Standing Stones. Two resources have been very helpful -- the generosity and insights of writers participating in the Internet Writing Workshop and Elizabeth Lyon's Manuscript Makeover. Today, the Willamette Writer's newsletter highlighted a You-Tube presentation by Elizabeth Lyon, my editing heroine, speaking on query letters (just 8 minutes long).

I've heard other writers say that their characters come alive, hold conversations, and otherwise pester the writer to tell "their" story. I always thought this was silly, but in this second year of writing, my characters have begun to infiltrate my dreams. I awake with whole scenes that need to be integrated here or there or new insights into my characters that really do tell me what's next or explain what happened. Some days are slow. I feel inept as a writer. But then, a bit of research opens up new understanding or confirms what I thought I knew. And so I persevere. Perhaps one day I will actually finish this book and be at the stage to write that query letter. For now, I just write.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

#135 Scandalous . . .

This week's prompt from Sunday Scribblings is Scandalous. Today is Election Day. I don't want scandal. I'm not sure I even want long lines at the polls. I'm still remembering the scandal of the Bush/Gore election decided by too few votes and administrative fiat in Florida. I'm hoping it doesn't come down to that, again. The real scandal for me is in not trusting the process. So today begins far too early, not even a thread of poetry, but feelings of hope and a sense of dread.

Yes, I've voted. Yes, I live in one of those states that my sister mistrusts, for we vote by mail. "How do you know where your ballot goes," she asked. She works at a big city hospital where nursing staff will take turns covering each other so they can vote.

"It's all too complicated," my cousin said. "We should just get rid of the electoral college." She lives in a town of 26,000. She told me they have one polling station. Checks and balances.

Both of them will stand in line today, for as long as it takes. Only one of them is voting for the candidate I support. That's not the scandal. That remains with commentators who whip up our feelings with loud voices. Or maybe scandal remains with those funny voting machines that misrecord our votes (I actually experienced this long ago). I still hope to celebrate this day. Change is needed. Not scandal.