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Sometimes the Words Aren’t There

I’ve been having trouble writing. No difficulties with ideas as it seems there are dozens of things that grab me and hold me in the moment, making me think, “Ah, yes, I want to paint this in words.” But the moment I sit down to do something with an idea it either remains frustratingly close at hand, bowling me over with emotion, yet granting me not even the plainest of words to preserve it, or it flutters away entirely.

This may be even more frustrating than lacking ideas. I’m toppling over with things to say, and the outlet I use to say them is broken.

Erin Coughlin Hollowell wrote a post on this a few weeks ago, or at least about her own version of this feeling. She mentioned something that rings very true for me as well when she said “I need to be able to drop into that deep quiet where my poems come from. That deep quiet has been very elusive.”

That quiet has found its own island away from me and forgot to leave behind a plane ticket so I could follow. There’s been so much going on the last couple of months that even though I have wanted to write, sometimes even desperately, I just haven’t been able to put anything worthwhile to page. My head has been wrapped up in car troubles and financial troubles and job troubles and health troubles and very not in tune with pretty words. Unfortunately.

What is fortunate is the fact that many of those things seem to have either straightened themselves out or are well on their way toward doing so. I’ll keep trying to write and maybe I’ll find my words again soon.

Erin also linked to another post within her blog, a recent one by poet Ada Limón, and I think it is a fantastic read for any writer, but especially poets. It is worth a few minutes of your day to look it over. For now though, there is one particular quote I want to share from that post, and these are the words I will leave you with for today:

“I suddenly feel like there should be a permission slip for writers. Something you can sign for someone that says, “You don’t always have to write. You have permission to just be in the world and grieve and laugh and live and do your damn laundry.”

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Creative Balance & the Message in a Bottle

Happy New Year! I assume by now everyone’s parties are over and day-to-day life is meandering along again as per usual (now that we’re nearly to the end of January). I’ve finally managed to stop writing 2015 on everything, but now I find myself writing 2017 or 2019 instead. No, I haven’t the slightest clue why I’ve skipped to those years.

Did you make any resolutions? I stopped making resolutions a few years ago when I realized I was turning them into a source of stress, worry, and yet another reason to feel not good enough when I fail. Now I write a pie-in-the-sky list of everything I’d like to accomplish. Each individual item is something that can be completed by year’s end, but the entire list as a unit, realistically, cannot.

Surprisingly this does not set me up for failure. Instead it ensures that I don’t forget about any of my projects unless I willfully choose to give up on them. It’s a focus list to keep me moving in the direction I want. If I reach the end of the year with a shorter list than I began it has been a productive year. I focus on ending each year productive in general rather than qualifying how productive it may have been.

There are several things I am focusing on this year, but perhaps the most important to me is what I am calling “creative balance”. Continue reading

I Remember, I Remember Everything

(This post may get a bit long as its topic is something dearly embedded in my heart.)

Two days ago the band Kill Hannah announced their final show on December 19th in Chicago. I will not be there, but my heart will.

I wanted to comfort you, so I said, “Shhh….”
– Black Poison Blood

I discovered Kill Hannah around the time their one big radio hit “Lips Like Morphine”  was on the air. A friend sent me to their Myspace page, telling me I simply had to hear this ‘new’ band that she was convinced I would love. The band was not new, but my love was instant.

I got my hands on the newly released album Until There’s Nothing Left of Us as well as the previous album For Never & Ever, then immersed myself in the music. At the time I was fresh out of high school and slowly, privately, falling apart. Music was the only real solace I had, and something about Mat’s voice shot straight to my heart. For the first time in awhile I had comfort and strength and belief.

Turn up the radio. I need it more than ever now.
– The Songs That Saved My Life

It was no time at all before I discovered they were about to be touring as an opener for Lostprophets. I knew I had to go. I had never been to a concert in my life, it would be a 7 hour drive, and my list of friends was lacking, but I had to be there. For me. For them. Continue reading

The Allowance for Hobbies and Dreams

Last week I was in a continuing education class for my day job in insurance. The class held perhaps 25 individuals from the area. Before the class began, the instructor asked that we introduce ourselves, state how long we’d been in the industry, the company we currently worked for, and what our hobbies were.

More than one person had no hobby. They either worked too much or lost themselves in the wants and needs of their family enough that they didn’t know what they liked as an individual.

One woman even said, “Hobby? I’ve forgotten what that is.” Continue reading

Answering Your Questions, Part 1

My goodness, where has time gone? This month has been an absolute messy whirlwind of real life and suddenly it is the 25th and I haven’t said a word here.

First off, congratulations to my two winners this year: Andrea Blythe and Ann Hart!

I hope to give more books away next year, so if you are following the blog you’ll hear the announcement when that happens!

Secondly, I’d like to thank everyone who left me questions to answer. You had some really fun and really insightful ones by turn, and I’ll do my best to give them a go.

Today I’ll answer half the questions, and hopefully I will have the other half up by the end of the week! Continue reading