“We are all a little broken. But last time I checked, broken crayons still color the same.”
“No, Love, yeh can’ wrie-that!”
“That bid abou’ ‘ow sad yer life is. I mean, people ken only take so much abou’ yeh ea’in’ yer toffee in the closet.”
I sit back, stuck. But, I felt inspired to write because I felt depressed. Wasn’t that-
“No, Love. T’ain’t ‘inspired’ – leastaways, not by me.”
Huh. Well… I had another epiphany, back when–
“Definitely not.” Harumph. “We’ll not be bringing politics out again.“
“No ‘buts’ about it, young lady. No self-respecting writer would name a rant as ‘inspiration,’ either.”
I face another dead end as my cursor blinks in an empty page. What else can I write? Maybe poetry?
“Shtop rright therrre!”
But I only just–
“I-yuh know what you thought to do, and I’ll have none of it! Poetrrry must flow frrom an experrienced poet, one bending a keen earh to catch everry whisperh Naturre drrips like rrainwaterh!”
My cursor-blink fades to a black screensaver. What next? I consider artifical inspiration, then recall the disastrous consequences the last time I attempted that. I certainly did not need a Dionysus-like ghost to join the growing crowd in my mind; I’d crack for good. There was only one option left.
Excuse me? What? I feel a slight tingle, perhaps near my hippocampus.
“no. don’t. don’t give up. “
Who said that? I can barely hear you. I can’t even see you!
“i’m barely here, but i am here.”
“way back here. i am your muse.”
…Are you sure? You’re different than I expected. I mean, you don’t even have completely proper grammar- Wait! Don’t go!
“i’m sorry. so tired. but i am here; i am just not able to do much. yet.”
I feel panic. Well, what -what can I do, then? I obviously can’t write anything good without you! I can’t get anywhere near publishing!
“you’re fine and you know it. just keep trying. when you have more time, i’ll be ready. …readier.”
Wait! I -I didn’t even know you existed! And what do you mean about “more time?” How long? What should I do if I shouldn’t give up?
“few… years… more time… just… keep… writing…”
The tingle’s nearly gone. Wait! One more thing!
Who are all those others? Are they relatives of yours?
*sigh* “poseurs. don’t listen to them …unless it’s about politics. …or romance; you cannot write romance. au -au revoir.”
I’m alone -more alone. For a few minutes, I stare back at myself in the empty screen.
Oh, all right. I take a deep breath, tap a key to wake the computer, and start writing.
©2020 Chel Owens
For Diana, who has a much more intimidating muse. Sorry I’m late.
I’ve been on forced sabbatical lately, in case you didn’t know. I thought a break a wise decision, considering the recent birth/extraction of my newest male offspring.
It’s been harder than I thought.
To be honest, I’ve felt giddy every time I click all my e-mailed reader’s feed and DELETE them to oblivion. No, you don’t have to read those, I tell my over-stressed self. It’s comparable to ripping tags off pillows or eating chocolate in the closet.
To also be honest, I’ve really really missed reading what everyone writes. I miss writing what everyone reads. And, unforeseen by me, my inspirations/motivations/muse-ical thoughts have swirled counterclockwise in a porcelain bowl to the sewer.
I’ve also been finishing up my Pathways course on writing. I’ve had little difficulty with it, since I write all the time (and suspect that, alone, places my essays above the others when grading time comes around). However, last week saw me sitting at the proverbial empty screen, staring at the proverbial blinking cursor with the proverbial blank mind to match.
What has this taught me?
That’s right! -That I needed more chocolate, and music blasting in my headphones to block out distractions.
Besides those, I also need to keep writing. I need to keep reading.
Whenever I get hungry, I can tell how desperately I need food by the items I crave:
A healthy sandwich = Comin’ up on lunchtime
Frozen pizza = It is lunchtime
Granola bars and fruit snacks = Probably missed lunchtime
McDonald’s = Whoa, baby! Get that blood sugar up NOW!
The same could be true for my writing. In the absence of the wonderful community here, I’ve noticed I’m posting a lot more on Twofacebook -and we all know the caloric count of that shady place…
So, as I may, I’m going to pop in a bit more. Turns out my mental health needs it. Thanks for all the support in the meantime, especially those who’ve reached out via messages and e-mails. You’re the best; really.
©2019 Chelsea Owens
My paper curls
‘Round rising action arclines
Too green, yet, to burn
Too fresh for first-part fires
They smolder, forever young.
Written for Colleen Cheesebro’s Tanka Tuesday.
I love words, and I always have.
Whilst pregnant; my mother swallowed Agatha Christie and James Herriot and Ogden Nash, sending their formatted prose intra-umbilically to my formatting body. After I was out and able to lay still; the fare included A Child’s Garden of Verses, Shel Silverstein, Ramona Quimby, and Twig. Once literate by my own merits (and from my mother’s example); I devoured Laura Ingalls Wilder, Arabian Nights, Bruce Coville, and Anthem.
I vowed to read every book ever written. I thought my goal an attainable one.
In the meantime, my literary diet supplemented my grammatical learning. Unlike many writers, I do not have a degree in the craft. My teachers were Charlotte Brontë, Mary Shelley, and Douglas Adams. They taught me by example and expanded my lexicon to precocious measures.
In this way, I blame them for my problem.
I love words and am not afraid of them. I play with adjectives, verbs, and nouns like a small child with a treasure chest of his favorite playthings. Yes, I sometimes smash them together and finger paint a Jackson Pollock-worthy story. Yes, I sometimes roll terms into shapes like Play-Doh and end up with noun-verbs and adjective-nouns.
Every now and then I step back from my mishmash meter, sigh with contentment, and behold a magnificent mural.
Between times, however, my words have a tendency to cause mischief. I’ve used strong words to accurately describe my feelings, and inaccurate words in feeling ways. I’ve intentionally poked and stabbed to incite a reaction. A handful of times, I have drawn on The Power of Words to move a people to action.
I am, naturally, a novice at wordweaving. I worry at trying a spell when I haven’t passed all the levels. I tell myself not to dabble until I become a master.
I have also ticked some people off.
And yet, I cannot stay away. The bubbling brew of prosaic verse simmers warmly, invitingly, lovingly. Come hither, it tempts, I will not harm thee…
What say ye, wordspellers? How do words speak to you, how do you listen, and how (in turn) do you release the power that builds as you chant your incantations?
We’ve crafted for another week. Here’s what I created:
Wednesday, February 20: Is Harry Potter a good book? Read what I thought and what many insightful comments determined in “To Potter or Not to Potter?”
Thursday, February 21: “The Cure for Depression: Don’t Be Hatin’ on Medicatin’,” another suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.
Friday, February 22: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Peregrine Arc!
Saturday, February 23: Announced the 14th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. We’re doing parodies of pop songs. PLEASE ENTER!
Sunday, February 24: “Dot on the Brown,” my poem response to the famous Frank Prem’s “speck on the blue.”
Monday, February 25: “Wilhelmina Winters, Eighty-Three.”
Tuesday, February 26: An inspirational quote by Maya Angelou. Smile at home, everyone.
Also, noted that I now have 500 Followers! Thanks again, everyone!!
Wednesday, February 27: Today‘s post.
I’m a bit tardy posting today. I’d tell you my life story, but I know you’ve already skipped to-
All right, all right. The winner this week is Peregrine Arc.
One more minute, I snore
One more minute soon turns into four.
Six am workouts sound so good on paper, when imaginary me’s do all the work.
Can’t I clone myself or snooze my way to fitness? I squirm and think.
Out I put my foot, my toe wiggles ’round.
It’s my radar scanner to see if all’s safe and sound.
It touches the floor, the rest of me still covered up in bed.
Brr, ’tis cold, brr shivers and shakes alive!
Back into bed, abandon ship and this dread!
Isn’t there a clause in the Constitution,
against cruel and unusual punishment such as these coming to fruition?
It’s for my health, it’s for my well being
I’ll get up in second, and do some….more…pleading.
Congratulations, Mama Arc! You are the most terrible poet of the week!
Whenever I enter writing contests and the host/hostess says, “You were all so good; I just couldn’t choose,” I know she’s saying a load of crap. Yet, here I find myself thinking it nearly every week. You guys are getting so ‘good’ at being terrible poets. Pat yourselves on the back for the dubious honor; you deserve it.
We can’t literally all be winners, of course, which is why Peregrine Arc scooped you this week. Other poems had plenty of elements that were so. darn. clever. I chortled. I cringed. P. Arc’s terrible rhymes, meter, message, and overall relatability got her in to contender status. I believe the overall poem is what bumped her to first for me. There’s just something universal about the thing, even though it’s a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster in its final form.
As to the rest of you, let’s get these things cross-stitched and hung on Etsy walls. Read them all below, and try not to laugh:
Keeping Your Head When All About You are Keeping Theirs
A lazy man from Orleans
Slept upon a guillotine
The townspeople said, “Find some other bed;
if you sleep there much longer, you’ll lose your head”
Despite the people’s entreaties and pleas
He was only interested in catching some ‘Z’s
He finally compromised with the people of the town
And said, “So, wake me when the blade is half-way down…”
by Violet Lentz
I started off
Dangling the proverbial carrot
Buying a new truck- for work of course
Promising my undying support,
Because he knew he already had my love
When that didn’t work I tried reason
“I’m working three jobs
Buying the food
Carrying it in the house
Washing the dishes
What may I ask is wrong with this picture?”
Sly little smirk,
Toss of the head
Walk out the door was his only response.
Eventually the level of frustration was so-
That even I got tired of listening to myself
Sliding down the back of the bathroom door in tears
“You can’t go through life being nothing but a good…”
“Watch me.” He replied. And I did.
Now Cyril, you should be studying for your exams
and not sit around eating yams.
It’s driving me crazy that you are so lazy;
why can’t you be more like your sister, Maisie?
When you grow up and get married, I bet
you’ll get your wife to light your cigarette.
I shouldn’t have to articulate
that you need to motivate.
Get inspired by your sister rather
than obviously taking after your father
who is the laziest son-of-a-B
that nature ever could concei-
-ve. Frankly I’m at the end of my tether,
and you think that sitting around doing nothing makes you clever.
Maisie is an inspiration to us all,
and she’s already, at her young age, starting to be able to crawl.
And Auntie Doris, who frequently gets constipation,
should be another source of inspiration.
I knew this guy named Bart.
He was lazy, couldn’t get him to start.
To get him in motion,
without causing a commotion,
I walked by him and dropped a big fart.
I knew this guy named Bart.
He was lazy, couldn’t get him to start.
To get him in motion,
without causing a commotion,
I walked by him and dropped a big fart.
A Sloth Stuck In Tar
I can’t even believe
All day long I grieve
You said you’d move
You said I’d approve
I dared you to prove true
But in my heart, I knew
Your lazy known to all
A sloth stuck in tar
Instead of stand, you crawl
But now it’s time to improve
From this, you’ll behoove
Let’s make a breakthrough
Find something to do
Please and thank you!
Go to the Ant
Go to the ant, thou sluggard
Says the Proverbs of a holy book
So I went to the ant and asked
Why was I told to come here
The ant said, with a sneer
I don’t have time to talk,
Do you hear?
I walk miles to find food for my queen
And if I come back empty legged
She screams: “where have you been all day?”
I die after working hard for a few weeks
Who told you to come watch me?
I’ll not motivate you, you lazy scum
Because if I do you’ll die real soon.
Go home and drink some rum.
Get out, don’t slouch
As she came out that one so fat
I said yes please don’t sit in that flat
You must get out and go for a run
You know out in the sun is so much fun
get out get out and move that wobble
run up and down on the cobble
I don’t want to see that dent in the couch
I’ve had enough of you being a slouch
Laziness is only resting before working makes you tired,
so I’m writing this short poem before I get inspired.
This example will serve to show that being lazy
can motivate a terrible poem before it drives you crazy.
You’ve almost motivated me with your stories of laziness. I’ll post another prompt tomorrow; get around to it when you can and enter for next week’s glory and prizes.
“I urge you to examine your life. Determine where you are and what you need to do to be the kind of person you want to be. Create inspiring, noble, and righteous goals that fire your imagination and create excitement in your heart. And then keep your eye on them. Work consistently towards achieving them.”
-Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Life’s Lessons Learned,” April 2007
La inspiración existe, pero tiene que encontrarte trabajando. (Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.)
-Pablo Picasso, posthumously
Villasante, Tomás R., Las ciudades hablan: identidades y movimientos sociales en seis metrópolis latinoamericanas. p. 264 (1994)
After delving into lighthearted topics like Life After Death, I thought it might be time to hit a heavier subject today. Let’s discuss music.
Do you like music? Do you listen to music when you write? How about if you do other creative things; like painting, sewing, singing, dancing, acting, etc? I feel like creation comes in so many forms and even tried to capture that idea with poetry. I, myself, delve into other arts besides writing. I sing, play, paper-craft, paint, draw, and do not dance.
And I need music.
A friend of mine told me she doesn’t listen to music much because it affects her. That is precisely why I listen. Yes, with the mental and emotional issues I deal with, I am affected as well. I am moved to tears, anger, fear, resolve, sadness, or elation. Not only that, but I am moved beyond the slip of a shadow those two-dimensional words convey in print.
Take this angry piece I’ve listened to today:
I have played it fifty times because, when music influences me, I have to hear it over and over and over …till whatever feeling it ignited within is appeased and I can move on.
That’s not to say I’m a grunge rock groupie. Before Blackbriar, I swam the soporific currents of Chopin. This piece, in particular, was on repeat for a few days:
I haven’t talked to my husband much about my Chopin infatuation because he’s already a little sensitive about how much into The Awakening I was in high school. Chopin has brought me to new heights, however, even 169 years after his death.
In my defense, I am not the only author who has attributed inspiration to music, nor even to specific tracks. Stephenie Meyer, who wrote some sort of romance book you may have heard of, even lists the songs she “hear(s) in (her) head while reading the book.”
I’ve written two or three blog posts with a certain song playing. One of my favorites, Let’s Stay in Bed Today I wrote while listening to “Defcon 5,” by Book on Tape Worm:
I hate to end on a downer, so you’ll be happy to know that Wilhelmina Winters is often fueled by The Piano Guys:
So, is music your muse? What are some of your favorite jams?
Here’s what transpired this past week:
Wednesday, December 5: Should I Stay or Should I Go?, just my pondering on what comes after death.
Thursday, December 6: Skinwalkers, XLIV
Friday, December 7: Winner of The Fourth Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest announced. Congratulations, Michael B. Fishman.
I also re-blogged Susanna Leonard Hill’s children’s story contest. She does another around Valentine’s Day, so try again then.
Saturday, December 8: Beginning of The Fifth Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest (Enter it!).
Also, The Little Shepherd’s Lullaby. I wrote part of this as new lyrics to a song the children our local church ward (parish) are singing. I added, tweaked, re-worked, and submitted it to the contest with a minute to spare.
Sunday, December 9: Livelihood, a flash fiction entry for Carrot Ranch Literary Community. I put on my angry music, thought of the theme, and pictured paint gushing like blood onto a brick wall.
Monday, December 10: Inspirational Quote by e. e. cummings.
Tuesday, December 11: Wilhelmina Winters, Seventy-Five,
and The Bedtime Routine over at my motherhood site. My second son’s picture is in that article, though I generally prefer to use stock photos.
Wednesday, December 12: This post.
Last week, I had surgery. It was elective, so I’m not dying or anything. I just thought I ought to finally tell someone besides my immediate family. Also, ’twas the prompt for the first Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest I’m hosting (be sure to enter; you’ve got a day or so).
Because of this surgery, I haven’t been feeling up to snuff. That fact sounds a bit obvious, but was not part of my pre-surgery planning. I had the house clean, meals set up, rides arranged, babysitting for the day, and a prescription filled for heavy-duty Ibuprofen. In terms of what my recovery would be like, I think I thought I would just veg and write for NaNoWriMo afterwards.
Unfortunately, I haven’t found very comfortable positions to write from. Between the lingering tailbone recovery and the fact that the surgery was done near my midsection, I haven’t been able to wedge a typing machine in a sustainable place long enough to attempt much longer than a short story.
I have also been very tired.
-Not that surgery and recovery are completely alien to me. I’ve had an appendectomy and three C-Sections. Like pregnancy, however, I figured I survived operations in the past and was likely to handle another one just fine.
Then I get up and try walking.
By the by, if you’re considering an abdominal area incision, I’ve some quick recommendations:
- First, have people and/or devices around to retrieve things that keep obeying gravity.
- Purchase a heating pad for your back. Walking around like Igor for a day or so will really cramp up your muscles.
- Get a belly strap. I’ve used this amazing device after my C-Sections, and I rush-ordered one from Amazon last week after I could sit up long enough to do so.
- Surround yourself with pillows.
- Do not cough.
- Do not laugh.
- For the love of all that is or isn’t holy, DO NOT SNEEZE.
- Have a surface nearby that can hold your water, pain medicine, food plate, socks, stretchy pants, strap, ice pack, cell phone, etc.
Turns out, I really need a wider nightstand.
- Accept any offers of help! We have so many leftovers from dinners brought in, but now I don’t have to worry about lunches, either.
- I can’t think of anything else, but the list looked too short with nine items.
I’d like to say I’ve at least devoted my hours of recovery to introspection or philosophizing in preparation for writing, but that isn’t true, either. The last few days I’ve actually gotten a few armor set upgrades for Link in “Breath of the Wild.” Dragon hunting is a great time-killer and now I’m pretty much an expert on where they spawn.
I’ve not had the memory or focus capacity to create. Sorry.
So, let’s end this apologetic blog post by giving a short Week In Review. I know it’s Wednesday, but unconventional is my thing.
Wednesday, November 7: Track Memory, my submission to a contest that I should have waited till the 16th to post. Sorry, Charli.
Thursday, November 8: Skinwalkers, XLI.
Friday, November 9: On the Brink, a poem I wrote just before going under the knife and scheduled ahead, thinking, What if I die and this posts the next day and everyone is like, Whaaa-?
I also announced my intent to have a weekly contest.
Saturday, November 10: Official Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest start. YAY!
Sunday, November 11: The Apple Pie from the Same Tree, my real-life experience written for Carrot Ranch’s blog prompt.
Monday, November 12: Wilhelmina Winters, Seventy-Two.
Tuesday, November 13: Inspirational quote by Neil Gaiman.
And, my little contribution posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.
Today, November 14: This post. 🙂
Happy Wednesday or Whatever Day You Read This. May you have more mobility than I!