I Found More Poetry Under The Lounge

 I find poetry in all kinds of places, often under the lounge and I found some more there recently.

Right now the end of winter is approaching here in the southern hemisphere (not that we had much of a winter where I live – what happened to those good old fashioned frosts we had as kids?) and with it the promise of hay fever, runny noses, itchy eyes and a cursing of all things frolicking. The first and last poems assembled here, Magnolias and Windy Days, are inspired by the wintery season.

Magnolias

As I drive past
The magnolia blooms
A thousand sunrises
Of pink to white and
A thousand sunsets
Of white to pink
Simultaneously

Standing By

I stand in the longest corridor
possible, pretending I’m Red 5
barrelling down the trench
avoiding laser blasts
to my office door

The Last Page

When you close a book
Do you think it will be
The final time?
Never to peer
Between the pages and
Read the tongues of men
Again

My Companion

I walked in darkness
But was never afraid
For I felt your hand
In mine, or around
my waist, looped over
my shoulder as my light

Generations

She watches
grandmother’s knitting
learns the art of rhythm
the pulse of long thin bones
curses the dropped stitch
like her grandmother

Windy Days

I imagine with each 
breath of wind
the trees ask
for our silence
a gentle ‘Shhhh’
simply to listen
to our own
heartbeat
Which poem resonates with you?

Breaking the Drought

Today marks the end of the rather intense Chaotic Marking and Editing month  for work: Trial HSC marking and 6 Major Works for my Extension 2 students. I can, if I want to, break the writing drought. And there’s a couple of lessons to share.

Firstly, returning to projects after the drought. I said a few weeks back I would be absent, and for the most part I was. My works in progress were put on hold and I can now return to them.

But not yet. Why?

Because I am absolutely knackered mentally, emotionally and physically. Today is a day of rest. Well, sort of. Washing done, biscuits made with Miss #2, couch time watching footy with Miss #1 and a gig to play tonight.

The adage, often said in all caps and repeated as a mantra, YOU MUST WRITE EVERY DAY, is in my mind, piffley twaddle. It would be ideal to write every day but the caveat is that every person is different, their schedules are different and you work out when and how you fit writing, or any creative activity, into your schedule.

During this last month, I gave myself permission not to write because I knew when the time was done I could return to it. It has been a writing drought. However, while washing up last night I had another idea for a poem to include in my verse novel, The Broken Chord. I found my notebook, scribbled the idea and returned to washing up. This is still writing. 

Secondly, the month of Chaotic Marking and Editing abated, I began to reflect on the work of my students. I posted this to Facebook and I’ll reproduce it here.

As I prepare for my Extension 2 English students to hand in their Major Works on Friday, I have a new credo as a teacher. And it comes (with a slight adaptation) from Doctor Who.

Great men (and women) are forged in fire. It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame.

To completely misappropriate the quote and apply it to teaching, I am very proud of the work my students have produced. I am proud because they took on a challenge some of them were unsure they could tackle, and they have known what it is to work hard. And succeed.

As a teacher, I get to light the flame in my students. I want to instil in them a love of learning, not just my subject.
Sometimes that flame is encouragement, words of praise and congratulations.
Sometimes it’s telling the student the hard truth.
Sometimes it’s confronting their attitude, beliefs, values, and sometimes it’s supporting them.
Sometimes it’s asking them how they are, acknowledging their presence, saying hello as they enter the classroom and wishing them a good day as they leave.

To light the flame is to wish my students the very best in their endeavours and to do things better than I ever could.

I hope I never run out of matches.

I still need some rest before I tackle my WIP. No rush. It is knowing your creative cycle and how to ride it. It will take a little while to break the drought and gain momentum in my writing but that is fine.

How do you break the creative drought?

This Is How We Should Make New Friends

How should we make new friends?

I am a shy individual who masks it with bravado and a quip. New social situations makes my underpants an uncomfortable shade of brown. But it’s good to make connections with new people. Makes the village more welcoming and hospitable.

Here’s how I propose to do it: Everyone needs to carry a novel.

In a new social situation the novel is a means of beginning a conversation. We can talk about the book, what we liked, didn’t like, read aloud our favourite passages.

And when we’re finished, we can swap the book with the person we are talking with, read it and return it when done, or pass it on to the next new person we meet.

And it would be even better if it’s our own story in the book we give away. That way we must trust the other person to treat our book with respect and kindness.

And there should be blank pages for the new person to add in how we met, what we talked about, what the day was like. Then we can pass it on, receive the new person’s book and add our own details. If we happen to cross paths again, we can catchup on what has happened.

Imagine all the people’s stories we could read.

This is how we should make new friends. What do you reckon?

 

How Do You Make Something Creative and Cool?

How do you make something creative and cool?

I like seeing what people are doing with their creativity. Sites like This Is Colossal are a constant inspiration for what people can do. I love watching my mates Deane and Gary post their photos on Facebook, and through my twitter feed I see some very creative ideas.

I’ve seen cartoons drawn on Post It Notes, drawings scribbled on plastic lunch bags, bird cages suspended above a narrow laneway, umbrellas suspended in a similar way like a hundred invisible Mary Poppins.

And it’s brilliant. And so very cool.

So when I came across next earth is now on tumblr, I was intrigued. And even more surprised when I found out it was a writing friend, Daniel Ritter. I only made the connection when I saw it linked via his Facebook page. So I asked him about it.

In Daniel’s words, “(It’s) sort of an alternate reality experiment. Approaching it as if the photo/narrator is experiencing delusions that aliens or some other unknown agency has taken over the world, but he’s the only one that has noticed.

So far, this has been random, pants, discovery, stack-on-the-weirdness approach. Names have been named, rules have been established, so, it could be developed.”

They fill their zoos with us. Their zoos overcrowd with halfbreed children. They refuse to euthanize. They install …buttons under our feet. We do the dirty work, step by step. They’re absolved of murder.

They fill their zoos with us. Their zoos overcrowd with halfbreed children. They refuse to euthanize. They install …buttons under our feet. We do the dirty work, step by step. They’re absolved of murder.

You make something creative by experimenting, and Daniel has done this so well, playfully taking a foray into an idea and seeing where is goes.

And this is what makes creativity so very cool.

Follow next earth is now on tumblr
See what Daniel is up to on twitter @ReginaldGolding
And go have a sticky beak at his blog, Grounded Stories

 

Throw Out Thursday – Showing Your Work

For this week’s Throw Out Thursday, I’ve collected the random poetry I wrote with Year 8 last term. The focus was on haiku.

It’s a great way of introducing students to a poetic form and while there is a beautiful simplicity to haiku, there is also great depth and complexity in the form when explored.

But this is about throwing stuff out. And these are haiku I wrote on the board while my class was working. I believe it’s important for my students to see my writing, correcting, experimenting and exploring creatively.

Haiku with Year 8

Haiku with Year 8

Winter Haiku

Winter Haiku

Summer Haiku

Summer Haiku

 

Noodle Worms

Noodle Worms

Noodle Brain

Noodle Brain

Creativity is about experimenting, exploring, examining, and having a whole lot of fun.

These are brief experiments and part of the process of improving my writing craft. As Austin Kleon says, “Show your work.” You get to see a little of the word wrangling I do to.

Dare you to have a go at something creative.

Answering a Six Year Old’s Question

Yesterday my second daughter (aged 6) was playing with my Lego Star Wars Micro Fighters. She has played with them more often than I have because of current work commitments.

My daughters often see me at the computer where I am either working (prepping lessons for school), goofing off on social media, or working on a story. And more often it’s the six year old who asks, “Why do you write stories?” 

And I am completely flummoxed for an answer. At least one she’ll understand.

I have an intellectual answer for her; a rational explanation of my thinking behind creativity as to why I write stories. And for all the intellectual rigour, philosophical posturing and rationale, the best answer is, 

“Because it’s fun.”

Scraps of Paper Under the Lounge

Another set of #micropoetry gleaned from my twitter stream, collected here for your reading pleasure and deconstruction.

I like writing them because they are often quick, spur of the moment ideas, thrown down on my Ipad and sent out into the nebulous ether of the interwebz.

It’s a form of disposable creativity, like Hansel and Gretel leaving breadcrumbs behind for others to follow my example. Later this year I will be relaunching posts on creativity and why I think EVERYONE should be creative.

I hope something like this inspires you to do something creative.

Cameras For Eyes

The camera downloads
Our memories
Stored in another brain
So we can promptly
Forget
And cannot prove
We ever existed

Boredom

Bored, he watched sands
Trickle through the waist
Of the egg timer. Paused
Between starting anew
And waiting for it to finish

Making It Better

But a Band Aid makes
everything better, he cries
offering up the token.
I’m sorry, says his father
But Nanna has died

Musical Mayhem

In her hands
A wooden spoon
and metal mixing bowl
struck together
a ringing, pleasing tone
striking again
she discovers music

Burning Bridges

He flicked the switch
Burned the bridge
Op’ed a gaping chasm
Then offered tools
To build a better bridge
Than the one before

I Give You My Heart

I handed over my heart
To my beloved
In the most convenient package
A plastic bag
Grabbed from the pile
Behind the kitchen door

The Journey

The journey
Of a thousand miles
Begins not
With the first step
But in firstly
Packing a pair
Of clean undies

 

Do you have a favourite, or if you were to rewrite one, how would you do it?