Friday, June 28, 2013

Reclaiming that's what she said...

Normally I write about my writing, you know, hi! Writing blog.

I want to share something entirely different. I created these and I will now present them with no further comment:

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Poems & Pride

I have to admit to you that I'm an unabashed cry baby. The littlest things make me cry: MIA's Bad Girls, the Rod Stewart-written Enterprise theme song, losing my car keys... I think you get the point. I accidentally ran across this collection of poetry Today and I want to share it with you. 

As Pride month winds down, and a giant crack of thunder shakes my house, I was reading through Audre Lorde's selection and I felt that tight lump in my throat and tried to choke back the tears. Poetry is where I first found people who, if not like me, were othered in parallel ways. I found voices and lives in those words that told me that I wasn't alone and that I wasn't a freak... or that I should revel in my freak, dance through moments of isolation. I know I've talked about Allen Ginsberg before, and the importance of the Beats in my life, but around the time I found Allen, I found Audre, I found Sylvia, I found Anne, I found Byron, I found collections of poetry transcribed from voicemail poems from then-current poets, I found so much. 

Frequently, I didn't know that these poets were queer, just that they were different. One of the amazing things about the last decade (or so) is that queer history has become more visible. Finding out that people who I really looked up to, whose words meant so much to me, were also queer was/is a revelation. I think, if anything, I would like to take a moment to recognize these unconventionally invisible coffee-table poets. Their love and struggles is what drove their writing and it's important that we see that and recognize the whole of their work.

So if you have a moment and the inclination, please take a moment to read through some of these poems. 

By Audre Lorde

I have studied the tight curls on the back of your neck   
moving away from me
beyond anger or failure
your face in the evening schools of longing
through mornings of wish and ripen
we were always saying goodbye
in the blood in the bone over coffee
before dashing for elevators going
in opposite directions
without goodbyes.

Do not remember me as a bridge nor a roof   
as the maker of legends
nor as a trap
door to that world
where black and white clericals
hang on the edge of beauty in five oclock elevators   
twitching their shoulders to avoid other flesh   
and now
there is someone to speak for them   
moving away from me into tomorrows   
morning of wish and ripen
your goodbye is a promise of lightning   
in the last angels hand
unwelcome and warning
the sands have run out against us   
we were rewarded by journeys
away from each other
into desire
into mornings alone
where excuse and endurance mingle   
conceiving decision.
Do not remember me
as disaster
nor as the keeper of secrets
I am a fellow rider in the cattle cars
you move slowly out of my bed   
saying we cannot waste time
only ourselves.

Friday, June 21, 2013

A morning thought on editing

...and it's all I'm capable of in the morning.

Sometimes editing poems is like doing a word problem in Math. You have to pull out the variables that help you find the answer. If you don't cut out the superfluous variables, you reach the wrong answer. A good editor helps you trim the fat for a strong, solid poem.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A mobile post about submission and the past

The pesky cats pulled out the power cord from my laptop and now it is drained of juice. 

Do you ever get writing fevers? Today was wrought with a kind of fever. I suspect it's because I was looking up lit mags for submissions, an overwhelming experience that triggers every rejection memory. Holy hell! 

I've been working on my tiny manuscript that I plan to self publish. I finally got through all of Rachael's revisions. My next step is to have some of my non-workshop writing friends critique and hopefully review it. The goal, with this tiny thing, is to finally bury the poems of my past. I want ton give them a proper burial, one that honors the few words that I really love from college, and start a new life. In the process, I feel totally vulnerable, raw, and opened. It's very uncomfortable.

In a couple hours, I'm meeting with an old friend for coffee and a discussion about poetry. I'm stoked. I have missed her immensely- and missed our creative energy.

I feel like I'm careening down a rocky hill on a cart. It's exciting  but I know I'll be lucky to escape with only scraped knees and palms.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Rambling about deadlines

This deadline thing has been working pretty solid for me. I pushed out two poems last night (although I really only like 1 of them, but hey, whatchya gonna do?) despite some serious happenings.

I miss sharing my new poems in this blog. I've been contemplating content that I can share besides my inane babbling. Rachel and I have been discussing the merits of YouTube poetry (as Steve and I have discussed). It's a thing I might end up doing. I feel like I need to clean up my account so that it's less more professional and less personal, but I just can't get rid of the videos on there. Am I a media junky? Maybe I need to just start a separate yt account. Or I could make my brother's graduation "private", I guess. It's been years, but I'm still so proud of that booger.

How do you feel about prompts? Useless or useful? When I was reading Jeff Goin's You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) he talks about how important it is that you focus on the meaty (my word, not his) writing and not waste your time on things like prompts or other distractions. I think that's a little severe. Personally, I lack the ability to focus that intensely. Look, it's ADHD, I have problems with shinny squirrels. Give me a break. I found that allowing myself play time (prompts) gets my juices flowing and sometimes those prompts become a real thing.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Thoughts on a getaway or retreat or writer's shack!

I want one! Somebody, how do I make a writer's shack? And by how, I mean make one for me; because I'm useless with a hammer. And by useless, I mean that I'm lethal. I do mean that. Seriously, how amazing is Dylan Thomas' writing shack? Amahzing.

Have you ever done a writer's retreat? I've always wanted to. If I owned land in the country, I would run my own writer's retreats. As is, I think it's a wee bit out of my price range. There was even a point where I started planning one with like-minded friends. I'm rethinking this. I might come back to it. There are cabins I really like, that aren't that expensive, that I could probably convince some friends to go in on it with me.

Just thoughts for the night.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

3 poems down and feeling a bit full of myself

Good evening, friends and foes. How is your candle burning?

I didn't quite meet the deadline I set, but I had the wrong date for the workshop, so I guess it evens out. I just finished up my third poem and I'm pretty proud of myself for keeping up with this. Yeah, buddy!

I got a text from a lady rabble rouser in our workshop today that made my heart burst into a thousand sparkly hearts. It read something to the effect of (and I'm paraphrasing) "I've been writing a lot, lately! This workshop is really kicking me into gear." Me too!

When I started kicking around the idea of starting a workshop, it was a desperate attempt to impose some accountability and hone my craft with like-minded folks. Since I left college, it's been a struggle to make myself stick to some kind of writing schedule. "Muse" can only take you so far, kids. I'm not a huge believer in consistent inspiration, but an avid follower of the idea that we should write, write, write until our fingers fall off. Even (and especially) if it's crap. Writing is not like riding a bike, and if you don't use it, you lose it (I swear, no more cliches). The workshop took many forms before I finally just bit the bullet (woops) and made it happen- and it continues to grow organically with our needs and goals. I'm pretty proud of all the women I've written/critiqued with; proud that we're sticking to our guns (rut ro, another, I lied).

I just have to keep telling myself: I will get published, I will get published, I will get published, I will get published.

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Poems shmoems and butterfly wings


We meet again, fateful reader. I would say faithful, but I think we both know that this is an on-again off-again relationship. Look, no judgments. We both have shit to do. We're both busy people. I get that, you get that. We're all good.

My mother and I were going through boxes in her basement to get stuff together for a yard sale on Saturday. Let me tell you, good reader, it was a blast from the past. It was like digging through my childhood. I found a poem that I wrote in elementary school. I would have saved it and shared it with you in it's unabridged form, but there were ziplock bags of butterfly wings in the papers and I freaked out and threw them in the trash. Allow me to offer you the abridged version that I remember:

I'm free, I'm free
I'm free, I'm unbound
I'm free, I'm free,
I'm free, I'm meaningless.

I read this poem to my mother. It was very difficult to read while laughing so hard. My mother giggled, and as I finished, her face flashed mild shock.
"God Kirstin, you were dark even then!"

It didn't help, I'm sure, that I was gesticulating wildly while I read. I'm free (throws arms wide), I'm free! (throws arms wide), well, you get the idea. Perhaps I wrote this about the beginning of summer? We will never know.

Look kids, this is what happens when you eat Gothios for breakfast and read books. You get all of your bad poetry out in elementary and middle school. It's important to get that out of your system. Write all the dark-black-void-of-my-heart poems you can so that you can move on. It is an integral time period in a developing poet's life.

And now for something completely different!

I'm one new poem down. It's killing me not to share it. Turns out, I really like doing that. Sharing. Hoping to have another one under my belt tonight. In fact, tonight is devoted to poetry, poetry, poetry. Hopefully my (horrible, no good, very bad) allergies agree with me.

Optimistic. I was reading an article that my former English Proff posted about how people drown and I suspect it may work it's way into a poem. Drowning is really creepy, you guys. One of the most depressing writer-suicides (in my opinion, and excepting Sylvia Plath, who obviously wins every depressing award of all time), was Virginia Woolf's. Rocks, pockets, into the River Ouse. Peace-out.

It's quiet. That's what the article said. From an observer's perspective, there isn't thrashing around or screaming, you just bob in the water until you can't hold yourself up anymore, or you don't get enough gasps of air, and then you drown. Quietly. Maybe you scream into the water. You are trying so hard just to get your head to the surface, to gasp for air, that you don't have the time or energy to holler for help. I wonder if your mind is quiet during this struggle, or if it's deafened with noise, if you hear your heartbeat like a scream. And then there's this.

At some point during your childhood or adolescence, somebody has asked you this question:

Would you rather die by fire, ice, or water?

If they haven't, allow me to ask you... would you rather die by fire, ice, or water? My response, without hesitation, has always been ice. I like the idea of falling asleep. The idea of my flesh melting from my semi conscious body, or the futile, quiet underwater struggle doesn't appeal to me. I have since learned that the smoke will, most likely, asphyxiate you before you die by fire. Maybe I'll amend my answer, at some point.

Also, just in the off chance that my parents are reading this (hi, mom!) this is just morbid, idle speculation. I have no intention of dying by fire, ice, or water. I am immortal. I have inside me blood of kings. If I die, remember, it's because there can be only one. I give my power to Adrian Paul in the form of sweet, sweet lightning.