Tag Archives: just because of thoughtfulness

August Round Up Part 2

Now that August has officially ended, and Spring has knocked politely on the front door I can wrap up the last of this month’s pieces.

And now, as adults, at a family gathering around a meal of spaghetti bolognaise, abbreviated as ‘spagbol’ – one word, not two – we each cut our children’s spaghetti; fragmenting sentences into phrases, clauses and syllables caught between the tines of forks and uttered between lengthy pauses while conversation pools in puddles of sauce.

The temporality of whiteboards and their content, known to me as a teacher, also makes a great canvas or notepad. I can write on it, amend, and take a photo to preserve it then erase it as if it never existed.

I rub the scar tissue on my knee, the geography of brothers
a reminder of when I had pieces of gravel scrubbed from my flesh
after you had pushed me onto the bitumen
the playful violence having given way to silence in later years
because we never found the words to replace our actions

I’ve had this used drum head for a while and I loved the texture that happens when a coated drum head deteriorates and I wanted the texture to reflect the tone and content of the poem.
I finally got around to finding the right words. I’m not happy with the penmanship; maybe I should have used a different handwriting style. However, I like the content.

1 Object/2 Poems

tongues of flame above our heads
descending to our mouths, our lips
duplicating another tongue withthe anticipation of consuming
tongue-twisted ecstacies of abandonment
unto one another
burning twice, existing briefly

 

tongues of flame
the revolution of the insolent
indolent
insouciant
ashes in the wind

fragmentary colour/blooms quickly then disappears/a father’s anger

Advertisements

Three Words for the New Year

In the light of celebrating the changing of the Gregorian calendar into 2018, let’s acknowledge Greg’s dating nomenclature: Happy Greg’s Day!

But, another three words to define this changing of the calendar on the wall, the diary on the desk, the scraps of paper used as notes and the back of my hand useful for the writing of lists, is to refocus the directions, habits and purposes of what you wish to achieve.

These are my three words for 2018: Patience, Fortitude, Tenacity

They are defined by my theological outlook and perspective, and have connections to events and situations that have impacted, are impacting, and will impact me. The changing of a calendar date doesn’t mean that all the craptacular events that happened last year haven’t continued on this year; I still have to deal with them. They impact myself, my family, my creativity. 

To be honest, 2017 was a year of continuation of years of crapness that feels like someone having handed me a never-ending roll of toilet paper. It helps clean up the mess but the mess keeps on coming. I didn’t, and haven’t, dealt with some of it well and the effect compounds into multiple areas but especially my creativity. 

No new stories written. Nothing published. Ideas planted, germinated, rising about the soil and scorched by the sun. It’s been a barren few years in terms of creative output. 

So how do these words help me refocus for the coming year? It’s about forming positive habits and achievable steps, looking at the long term destination rather than short term gains or (potential) rewards. 

Patience – like that of a saint. The ability to weather the storms and circumstances, and to travel when the conditions are good. To me, it’s having a longer perspective, a focus on the horizon and not simply the step immediately in front of me.
It’s a cultivated habit, a fruit of character and personality. To keep doing the work, not seeing the reward, while others around you are blessed and keep on going with nary a care in the world. I will have my reward in this life, or the next. Not to be distracted by the success of others (applaud them, support them, champion them) because they have done the work that is required. 

Fortitude – defined as courage in pain or adversity. Basically, above all, to stand.
So much has sucked away the creative impetus and momentum over the last few years and it has taken up a significant amount of emotional and mental energy. Often it’s painful and demoralising. Especially when it’s not happening to me specifically but to close family members who you take care of. It’s hard to see someone you love in pain and there is not much you can do except hold a space for them, and yourself.
Sometimes I feel like an anchor point for those around me but I’m afraid I’ll lose my grounding. But, digging in and digging deeper. 

Tenacity – keeping on when all you want to do is give up. And I’ve been feeling like giving up a lot lately. Had a rough gig on the weekend; it wasn’t a train wreck in terms of my drumming but for whatever reason it felt awkward and crap and at the end of the gig I wanted to break my drumsticks, sell my gear and quit playing drums. 
But that is one gig. I will have other bad gigs, I am sure. I’ve also had great gigs. Each day is a chance to refocus, start afresh and be thankful for mercy and grace. I’ll be looking at the next gig this weekend not through the lens of the past gig but at the possibility of what awesomeness it could be. Back to the practice pad.

Im summary, three words are meaningless without a plan to make them a habit so I’ll keep making notes, keep reading, keep writing. 

What would your three words for the year be?

Handwritten Pages #16

 

Autumn of Cheeseburgers

I walk through the autumn of cheeseburger wrappers drifting on the updraft of car exhaust with only enough change in my pocket to buy you and me an ice cream cone.

I Am… a poem

I am…
husband
father
brother

I am…
teacher
writer
drummer

I am…
pen
paper

tabula rasa

I am…
a mirror
a window
a picture frame

I am…
a magpie
an orchid
the creek

I am…
afraid of dying,
spiders
failure as a definition

I am…
teaching
learning
enquiring

I am…
lost
searching
finding

I am…
hoping
hopeful
hopeless

I am…
random notes
an unfinished manuscript
a story untold

I am…
a dog-eared page
a folded corner
a bookmark

I am…
a comma
a semi-colon
a question mark

I am…
The Joshua Tree
Vivid
Dogman

I am…
Genesis
The Psalms
Lamentations

I am…
a believer with doubt
doubt disguised as faith
faith seeking understanding

 

I was tagged by a friend to explore this statement, “I am…” and to compose a poem based on it.
It reminds me of YHWH’s declaration to Moses, “I am.” It’s a name, and with a name comes a declarative  statement of intention, purpose, identity.
And this poem explores aspects of my own identity, how I see myself, or how I want to see myself. I think I could have go on for quite some time with triplets of statements but I stopped myself.

Try it for yourself and see what you come up with. There is no form you have to follow; I choose triplets but you could use couplets or quatrains. Nor do you have to start each section with “I am…”. I chose to separate the individual triplets as independent images/ideas/thoughts. You may want to simply compile a single list. It’s up to you.

New Year, New What Exactly?

It is the year 2017, according to the Gregorian Calendar. It may as well be Year 42AMB (After My Birth). Or Year Zero with the way the leadership of the world is going.

Reflection: 2016 was meant to be the Year of Getting Stuff Done.

Stuff didn’t get done. 

Because reasons.

Some within my control. Others outside my control.

And it was the most frustrating year regarding my creative output. I realised it’s been two years since I’ve written a complete short story. The most output I had was the rough draft of a verse novel (still incomplete) and part of a novella. I had done little pieces of writing but there was a host of reasons that kept me from putting in the work and making it happen. 

It’s not trying to make excuses, although I can do that with the death of two significant people during the year. It’s an acknowledgement of what I did not do. I can use the word ‘failure’ without it becoming a label to wear.
I failed to complete projects.
I failed to write.
I failed to make time to work out what I wanted to do.
I failed to plan.
I failed to pursue my creative desires.

I did do things that kept me thinking about writing and creativity, like my zentangle poetry. More importantly, I gave myself permission to put it aside for the sake of significant priorities. And that’s ok. 

But with the end of the year, taking a break over January, I needed to move beyond the sloth and slump and take on a new perspective. In speaking with some close writing friends, we try and find a single word to help guide and focus our creative work. It took me a few days to sort it out but my key word is “Intentionality.” 

If I am to pursue the creative goals I have set for myself I need to be intentional about the work I have planned and the work I plan to do. Which leads me to how I want to approach the new year.

DO THE WORK.

If I am to be intentional in my creative work, I therefore need to DO THE WORK. That work might involve planning a new short story, creating a new zentangle poem, writing a new piece or editing a current story.

It needs to be planned, deliberate, month-to-month goals and outcomes. One month it might simply be planning and note making for a project. Another month it might be actually writing a short story or pushing towards the completion of the verse novel or novella. At the moment, this month is given over to completing a vignette collection.

It’s a new year and a need for a new perceptive. Therefore, I will be intentional and do the work.

How about you?

Handwritten Pages #5

I grew up in a house with a corrugated iron roof and loved hearing the sound the rain made on it. It’s a familiar sound and a familiar memory and I used it as the basis for an idea developed below.

IMG_20160609_080729

Like the wind picks at the corrugated iron roof, this memory is a scab I have picked at for years and years.
I have scratched and scratched.
Sometimes out of curiosity, out of a need to understand; to comprehend how we failed to relate to one another. Or out of frustration and anger at failed intimacy. 
I retreat into the solitude of the bedroom, into a book and a pen and bury myself beneath headphones where the music thrashes and yells and pummels.
And like the wind, I return to pick at the scab of memory.

Handwritten Pages #4

Sometimes it’s random images that lodge in my head like a splinter. This is one of them. I think there’s more to this story but I’m putting it aside for later to see what grows out of the compost heap.

IMG_20160603_100132

The child stood on the crest of the hill overlooking the city. She turned her eyes upwards to the uniform inky expanse of night sky. It was spotted with dots of white; a scattered litter of light like tissue fragments on a black jumper in the wash.
Turning her gaze downwards the city lights exploded in a galaxy of white, orange, red, blue, green.
She bent down and performed a headstand, inverting the world, and for a brief moment she believed the earthly heavens were brighter than she ever hoped for.