#Poem ‘Half Lives’ #ThursdayInspiration

I was scrolling though the blogs I follow when I came across Lucysworks.com and I read her poetry contest prompt, which were the following lines from Pullitzer prize-winner, Wallace Stevens, and I was inspired at once.

“Elysia, these days, half earth, half mind;
Half-sun, half thinking of the sun; half sky,
Half desire for indifference about the sky.”

–– “Extracts From Addresses To The Academy of Fine Ideas.”

Well, here’s my poem, sorry it’s a bit dark, but that’s where the prompt took me this time. It would have suited Halloween! 

Half Lives 

You ask me what’s wrong,
‘I’m living half a life,
Trapped in half a world,
Surrounded by the others
Who are half dead.’
You point to the sun,
‘It’s whole, not half,’ you say,
And I’m wondering
How half of you can see it all,
When I know it’s torn in two,
Mutilated forever.
I remind you,
‘We can no longer be whole,
not now that we have half a mind.’
But you insist,
‘I love you as you are.’
You lie.
‘You don’t love him,
My other half,
The one facing the ashen ground
On the dark side of the moon.
He needs all your love, not half.’
Half of you cries and waves goodbye,
The other half holds my lifeless hand
In your mouldy fingers.
Two half corpses in two half graves.  

#IWSG Why do I write what I write? @TheIWSG #amwriting #WWWBlogs #amwriting

This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts and concerns about our profession. By the way, all writers are invited to join in!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for the November 4 posting of the IWSG are Jemi Fraser, Kim Lajevardi, L.G Keltner, Tyrean Martinson, and Rachna Chhabria!

November 4 question – Albert Camus once said, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?

insecure-writers-support-group-badge

This is a question I rarely ask myself explicitly, but I do think about the answer, because so many people ask me, and on this occasion it’s the Insecure Writer’s question for the month, so I’ll do my best to reply.

As I understand it, this question has two parts, a) why I write and b) why I write what I write.

a) Why do I write?

I write because I can’t not write, the same as I can’t not think, or feel, or walk, or talk.

Once I learn to do something which is useful and rewarding, it becomes part of my life and I can’t unlearn it or undo it.

I can’t stop writing a poem when I see a beautiful image, or have an emotional thought, or memory.

I can’t help carrying a notebook and jotting down ideas for poems or scenes for my books, and I’m sure I’ll never stop doing it, in fact I shudder to think I could ever stop the creativity flowing through my mind.

Now to the second part of the question, b) why do I write what I write?

I write about topics which I feel strongly about. This doesn’t mean I’m on a mission to change or improve the world, I would never be so presumptuous, it just means that I write about what is significant for me.

I write poems because I love capturing my emotions with a few symbolic words and giving them an artistic shape and sound, based on syllables and rhythm or rhyme.

I write Victorian novels because I admire Victorian authors who gave me so many hours of joyful reading and inspiration, and in so doing, I offer them my humble tribute.

I write about Jane Eyre, because when I first read it in my early teens, it was the first novel that inspired me to even think about writing myself, and I’ve never been able to get Jane Eyre out of my mind.

I write my blog because I want to reach out to and communicate with other authors and readers. It’s thrilling to know I can ‘meet’ and interact with other people who I’d never be able to reach or talk to or read about in my day-today life, if I wasn’t an active blogger.

I could go on, and if we could sit and chat with a coffee, a tea, a beer or a glass of wine, depending on our mood and the time of day, we’d share more ideas and reasons, because I’d love to know why you write too, and of course, why you write what you write.

Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to like and/or share and/or leave a comment 🙂

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#FridayPhoto ‘Walls’ #Photooftheday ‘Home Sweet Home’

Within city walls
Streets are calm,
Houses safe,
Home sweet home.

Cruel worlds lie beyond,
Banish pain,
Exile joy,
Home sweet home.

****

Within These Walls Home Sweet Home.

As I was walking by the ancient walls of the city of Cordoba, first built by the Roman founders of the city, around the second century, and later reinforced by subsequent conquerors from central Europe, the Visigoths,  later Muslims from North Africa, and finally the Spanish Monarchs from the north of the country, I was wondering about our need to conquer and feel safe from subsequent conquerors.

We have been building walls around our houses and cities for centuries and and now, two thousand years on, we still need to feel safe. Now the enemy is a virus, not an army, but we still retreat back within our walls, because the safety we perceive in the prison of our own making, is more important than the  happiness we give up by not venturing outside.
Home sweet home.
****

#Wednesdaythoughts Gibbous Moon and Happy Birthday #poems

Waning, Gibbous moon,
Broken yet proudly shining,
Facing morning sun,
Slowly shrinking into black
Ebbing then swelling once more
Like our lives, our hopes, our dreams.
****Happy Birthday

Be safe, be happy,
Wherever you are,
Laugh like the child you were,
Smile like the woman you became,
In my memories and my dreams,
You’re always there,
Unforgettable,
Unique,
The other half of my youth,
The one who left too soon,
Be safe, be happy,
Wherever you are.

Full Moon Rituals and #Tanka #WednesdayThoughts #WWWBlogs

The moon shone last night

Like a beacon in the sky,

I watched, mesmerised,

As she glided serenely,

Granting my dreams and  wishes.

I took these photos last night, from the window of my study, as I was editing one of my almost finished novels. It’s not full yet, the Harvest Moon will be tomorrow, 1st of October, but it was so mesmerising that I started on my monthly full moon ritual, which I’d like to share with you today.

Firstly, I’d like to say that although I haven’t copied it from anyone, I can’t say I’ve invented a ritual to the full moon, which is something that has been happening, in one way or another, probably since the first human looked up and saw this beautiful planet (I know some experts say it isn’t a planet, but others do, and I’m not going to get into a semantic or scientific argument here, I’ll just go ahead and call it a planet, because I want to endow it with all the majesty it deserves).

I usually feel energised and optimistic around a full moon, especially as I’m able to watch it shrink and grow every night, as I live in the south of Spain, where the sky is often clear. So, I seize this welcome enthusiasm to boost my creativity and I also reflect on the past month and plan my goals for the month ahead.

I’m going to share my own 3-step ritual, which I’ve developed over some years. It works for me, and maybe it will work for you, as it is, or with some adaptations to your lifestyle and preferences.

I use the words goals and wishes interchangeably, depending on my mood, but I think we’re all aware that a wish is a goal without a plan and a wish really needs to have a plan to happen.

I open a notebook I keep for this sole purpose and follow this simple but empowering process.

Step one: Major Goals / Wishes

I think carefully about what I want to accomplish in the coming months and write down three goals or wishes with three main words only (articles, prepositions etc. don’t count).

It’s really important to be specific and clear. This step usually takes the longest because often we’re not really sure of what it is we want exactly, and that may be why we never achieve it!

Here are three examples:

  • Balance Mind and Body
  • Finsh my Ongoing novels
  • Improve my relationship with my sister

This first step is the most general, but it’s important think carefully about what you want to achieve and be specific.

Step Two

Take each goal and set three sub goals. That means three things you must do to achieve the major goal.

So for example for goal number 1: Balance Mind and Body, your three sub-goals might be:

  • Take a 30 minute walk
  • Eat a healthy diet, and
  • Challenge your mind to grow

Step Three

The next step is to take each sub goal and write three more sub goals for each one.

So the whole thing would look like this:

1.     Balance Mind and Body

1.1 Take a 30 minute walk 1.2 Eat a healthy Diet 1.3 Challenge your Mind to Grow
1.1.1 Buy suitable shoes and clothes

1.1.2 Set a time for walking

1.1.2 Prepare a playlist or audiobook

1.2.1 Find out about sensible diets

1.2.2 Buy specific book/s

1.2.3 Plan a weekly diet

 

1.3.1 Listen to a Ted Talk and comment

1.3.2 Read a self-help book

1.3.3 Learn a new language/hobby

2.     Finish my ongoing novel

2.1 Set a time to write 2.2 Activate my creativity 2.3 Read a variety of genres
2.1.1 Collect notes and outlines

2.1.2 Reread everything I’ve written

2.1.3 Plan my next steps

2.2.1 Start writing morning pages

2.2.2 Interview my characters about novel

2.2.3 Journal with questions before sleeping

2.3.1 Read similar books to my own

2.3.2 Read latest bestseller

2.3.3 Read a completely different genre

3.     Improve my relationship with my sister

3.1.Make Contact regularly 3.2 Set up a monthly meeting 

 

3.3 Understand my negative emotions

 

3.1.1 Send weekly text-message

3.1.2 Phone every 8-10 days

3.1.3. Remember significant dates

3.2.1 Invite her to a family lunch

3.2.2 Ask her to go shopping with you

3.2.3 Visit a common relative together

 

3.3.1 Investigate about sibling relationships

3.3.2 Write an imaginary dialogue with sister

3.3.3 Learn about meditation and relaxation

All in all you have 39 general and specific goals, which will help you achieve your dreams/wishes/goals.

I don’t usually prepare a chart like this one, I did that for your benefit, so it would look clearer, but I’m actually thinking of using it myself!

What I do is write each goal and sub goal on a new page and include notes as I revise, which I do regularly, including new ideas and acievements.

At least once a month when there is a new full moon, I revise my goals, reset or modify and do the same process all over again.

It does take time, I usually take a couple of evenings at least. You’ll find that most of the time is devoted to thinking and writing goals with clarity, there is a great power to writing it all down and holding yourself accountable for what you do to fulfill your dreams, because it’s not enough to just look at the moon and wish, you really have to do something about achieving it, too!

Finally, I’ve learnt never to be hard on myself, sometimes things don’t work out as planned, life happens, there are hold-ups and changes of plan, that’s why I revise and go ahead. Life is a journey, not a destination.

Ink and Blood #Poems inspired by #Poet T. S. Elliot #Bornonthisday

Blood and Ink

You ask me why I write

And I answer, frankly,

To shed the excess blood

Threatening to drown me

If I stop spilling it

Wildly, mercilessly,

Over the blank, white page,

Begging to be tinted  

With the secrets of my soul.

 ****

T. S. Elliot was born on this day, 26th of September, in the year 1888. His famous quote, ‘The purpose of literature is to turn blood into ink’, reminds us that writing a poem is often a painful and emotional, soul searching experience.

Find out more and read some of his wonderful poems here 

By Lady Ottoline Morrell. Public Domain. Wikimedia.org

Writers translate feelings into syllables and words which are painstakingly plucked from our conscious and subconscious minds and poured onto a blank page.

As I wrote in a previous post, writing a peom is, ‘excruciating, disturbing, and always frustrating, but there’s no alternative. It’s the only option for the poet, condemned to pursue that perfect combination of phrases, sounds and emotions, she will never find.’

And yet, it is cathartic. There is peace, for a while, when a poem is completed. And then, we begin again, because the search for the perfect poem may be closer, but it is never over, is it?

 

 

Writers in #Autumn #Tanka

Writers in Autumn

Season of Memories,
Weighing heavy on our hearts,
Bursting to be told,
Minds whirl with inspiration,
Words pour out like aged wine.
****

Welcome back to my blog!

I hope you’ve been coping well with the uncertain and unexpected times we’ve all had to deal with.

Some challenging situations have come my way, as well as the epidemic we’re all coping with, fortunately the storm is ebbing, and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

However, not everything which has required my undivided attention has been disheartening, I’ve also had the joy and privilege of meeting my fifth grandchild, Marcos, who is a real blessing for our family.

I always feel a bit nostalgic in September, after the long summer months and change of season, but I also have lots of new projects on the go, which I’ll be sharing with you shortly.

Meanwhile, stay safe and be happy!