Tag Archives: writers

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.

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My Shopping List of Regrets

if i collected
all my shopping lists of regrets
i would take a permanent marker
erase them all
and make a black sky
to populate with stars

To Become A Whale – Book Review

“To Become A Whale” is the debut novel by Brisbane-based author, Ben Hobson.

This is the blurb from the publisher, Allen & Unwin:

To Become a Whale tells the story of 13-year-old Sam Keogh, whose mother has died. Sam has to learn how to live with his silent, hitherto absent father, who decides to make a man out of his son by taking him to work at Tangalooma, then the largest whaling station in the southern hemisphere. What follows is the devastatingly beautiful story of a gentle boy trying to make sense of the terrible reality of whaling and the cruelty and alienation of his new world, the world of men.

The novel is coming-of-age exploration of masculinity; one version of Australian masculinity that the reader is presented with. But no judgement is given. The reader determines how to understand the parameters and boundaries of 1960’s masculinity and how it measures up in the new millennium now almost two decades old.

Walt is a man respected on the flensing deck for his hard work, commitment, while his solitary nature isolates him from the company of other men. One of Walt’s crew, Phil, is a man who wants to play guitar but works the whaling station only as a job. He is another whose belief in the strictures of masculinity are limiting on the perception of himself.

The brokenness of Walt’s understanding and perception of his masculinity is as blatant as his mangled hand and framed by the nature of his work: deconstructing whale carcasses into constituent parts, unable to see the beauty of the whole through the nature of his work. Unable to understand and come to terms with the nature of his own grief. It’s this framework that he wants to impose upon his son.

Death is an ugly reality for young Sam: that of his mother, the work on the whaling station, his understanding of masculinity and his emotional self as the novel progresses. But through death comes rebirth. 

For me, the distance of the novel’s setting from current events is what allowed a range of questions to be asked about the role and nature of contemporary masculinity. It is a definition that is particularly complex yet rigidly defined in parts of Australian culture where normative masculine behaviours are exemplified through sport, violent behaviour, stoic emotional retardation. As a high school teacher, I could see this novel having a place with Year 9 and 10 boys.

The novel has drawn comparisons with Tim Winton and Favel Parrett, and those comparisons are warranted; there is not a wasted sentence. This is a nuanced novel. There is a beautiful sense of space for the reader to inhabit within the descriptive style. You feel the prose move with the tides and the heaving carcasses of the whales.

This is a remarkable debut novel and I thoroughly recommend it.

Zentangle #21 Looking Glasses

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Looking Glasses

eyes are
a looking-glass
see
and imagine another world
and wonder
“Have you been here before?”

This piece is for sale $15AUS (inc postage to anywhere in the world). For an extra $2AUS you can get a set of zentangle postcards.

zentangle-postcards

If you wish to purchase this piece, leave a message in the comments and I will get in touch with you via the email address you use when posting a comment.

Also check out Zentangle #20 Patched Together Plasticine.
For sale
HERE.
Calico tote bags featuring “Coloured Pencils” and “Stupid Question” and postcards are available for sale HERE.

Buy TWO zentangle pieces for $25 (inc. postage anywhere in the world).

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 #15

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     She ties the dressing gown around her waist. Lines up her toes where the metal coping separates the hallway carpet from the bathroom tiles. A diver’s stance. Anticipation of the tiles’ coldness.
     She steps. Plummets. Side steps the bath mat. Plants her feet squarely. Small ripples quickly subside. The cold tiles prickle the soles of her feet until it stings. Tapers off to an equilibrium.
     Repeatedly she will lie on her back on the bathroom floor undressed. Lets the cold of the tiles fight with the heat of her body. She relents. Acquiesces. Adds a layer of permafrost to her heart against the fire of her mother’s tongue.

Zentangle #9 Cinema

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CINEMA

retreat
to witness
the cinema
in your soul
shout and scream
“I want 
to believe
I’m just so!”

 

The alternative title for this poem is “Existential Bullshit” because nothing says existential, nihilistic angst crisis than an appropriation of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.” 

On another side note, I will soon be making my zentangle/blackout poems and Handwritten Pages available for sale. Stay tuned.