Here’s a Wednesday poem. It’s inspired by Marie Elena and Walt over at Poetic Bloomings. They have a prompt there, and writing 50 lines like this is just a lovely challenge for me. Please enjoy my attempt. Hopefully it works.
Zero on Life
Why not Day Zero
Zero being the nothing
Zero all around me
me on top of all
me only not today
today rings no bells
today’s hardly here
Here’s no sun
here’s only dirty dishes
Dishes everywhere in magazines
screaming endlessly together
Together with cups
cups used of course
Emptied Monday coffee
emptied dreams of days
Days lined up in memory
days of no surrender
Surrender’s no key word
surrender goes with wars
wars killing people
wars on religion
religion being the omen
religion say God
God in various names
God bless them all
All Gods are God
all people is people
Peace on our doorstep
Peace in our hearts
Hearts of gold
hearts of fire
Fire in colorful flames
fire of deadly destruction
destruction of time
destruction of vast areas
areas covering nations
areas of flowers
Flowers in my hands
flowers providing life
Life of Wednesday
Do you take the blue cup or the red cup of coffee at 7-Eleven?
You might need a Danish to go along, I’d say – especially because “blue” means “right wing” and “red” means “left wing” here in Denmark so I would be pretty confused if I needed a cup of coffee in a 7-Eleven in the US for the time being.
Well, in fact I’d feel pretty odd to order a Danish.
Only for the time being we’re thinking of Sandy and we follow this huge giant, to be honest no one thinks of politics today here. We might drink our coffee, sort of color blind, and we don’t write any poems and we think of Pearl and all the other 400,000 people who had to be evacuated. In fact we think of all the millions of people who are right there.
For the next six hours we hold our breath and wish that people from the New York area (and the rest of the North and East Coast) can drink all the coffees they want, blue or red, tomorrow and have them enjoying all the good wishes from all around the world.
“Jacque, do you remember your poems on Poetic Asides back in 2009? Your poem with a couple who spend their honeymoon in Spain, in a hotel room, in a bed and this husband’s beard grows and grows – and the woman suddenly wonders: “I never knew I married Taliban?”
That is my favorite poem from Poetic Asides 2009.
Sharing humor means the world for me and your way of thinking opens up my mind again and again.”
Now Jacque, I also posted a free submission to you for http://www.thewritehelper.com so now, Jacque, you run along with all the other great poets!
I’ve been thinking about the results of That Poll on how our creativity and our loved ones interact. If you’re a numbers fiend, here are the poll results in order of how many votes each choice received:
Being part of a supportive writing community: 25% of the choices that people made included this choice
Being a writer is a lonely life; at the end of the day, your support system doesn’t do the writing – you do: 18%
My dear ones are supportive of my writing, so it’s never been an issue: 14%
Other: 13% (which included everything from meeting your friendly neighborhood librarian – a great idea! – to waiting to show your work in real life print )
Creating a supportive community: 10%
Putting a firewall between my writing life and my other life : 7%
Therapy : 2%
I found a lot to be heartened about here : for example, that many of us have supportive people to hang out with when our daily support system isn’t quite working for us.
I’m also impressed at the complexities we encompass: we can simultaneously love people and understand that they can’t be everything to us all the time; we can be solitary in creation but we nurture that process through interactions.
In short, we’re good at casting a wide net to help ourselves create, whether that net grabs us a “room of one’s own” or a support system to be part of.
One thing I didn’t poll on is the professional support that creative people sometimes need/choose to have: editors, agents, publishers, typists, translators, transcribers, teachers, writing groups. I’m going to let Andrea introduce her wonderful editor, but I wanted to mention the editing company because Write Helper is running the Burning The Midnight Oil Poetry Contest, a rare contest that provides cash prizes for the winners, plus a free critique for all entrants. So if you’re a poet casting your net for new places to place your work, the contest is open now through next week (Oct 31st) – throw your net out onto the waters, see what comes back to you !
[ina’s note: This was supposed to be Monday’s post, but we had a time dependent notification to put up yesterday. So, we’re having coffee a day late. Y’all don’t mind late coffee, I hope? We can even make it decaf if you like 🙂 ]
So if your name is on the list, please go to the website and read more about Amy‘s contest and tell us here within the next week if you want to use your free entry – and if you do, I will contact you and give you a code you must use for your entry.
A month ago I offered a prize of kr. 100 and we ended up honoring two poets and divided the 100 kroner note into two 50 kroner notes. Only I wanted to honor all the poets who came by and supported us and now, that’s what I am doing today (each entry costs 7 dollars and that’s more or less 50 kroner).
Now you 11 poets – now you have a chance of winning prizes of $100, $50, and $25 because that’s what Amy is offering over there for her winners.
Ina and I will be standing out somewhere on the sideline biting our fingernails and now and again cheering: GO, GO, GO!
The strange part is that we tend to tell everyone how those who surround us respond instead of describing what we do. Heartbreaking descriptions pour out, like this from Judith on She Writes: “I was surprised at how many of my friends were not supportive when my novel was optioned for the big screen. My husband said it was because they were jealous. I didn’t want to believe him. I thought good friends were happy for each other when they achieved some success. My husband’s response was, ‘these were not your good friends.’”
And Dana writes: “Happy to vote on that question. I’ve had an in-law that wasn’t supportive at all, but then she was never supportive about anything and hence the word ‘had.’ My immediate family, very supportive. This community was incredibly helpful (without really knowing it) during some of the down times.”
The answers are pouring in from (literally) all over the globe. So we decided to extend our poll on how creative people manage the intersection of the creative life and a social/family life until Wednesday of next week to give people a chance to chime in.
Many thanks to those of you who’ve already taken the survey – what a fascinating array of approaches, analyses, and resolutions are being discussed! Once everyone who wants to has a chance to votes, we’ll post the results. Look for them late next week.
In Our Books is taking the day off. Well, not really, but Ina (that’s me) is in the depths of Ugly Data Analysis Hades (do not get me started) and Andrea is in the basic-services-for-living-aren’t-working-and-don’t-even-ask-about-internet-connectivity Ring of Hell that Dante would have written about if he’d known about it. So this is just a quick hello to our lovely fellow creatives and a reminder to add your input to our poll before we close it on Thursday night, and a promise that we’ll publish poll results on Friday. Oh, and a kitten.
Hello, dear readers. A knotty problem today, waiting for your thoughts.
A blog I follow has a post about a problem that many writers I know (and many more that I’ve only read about in biographies) seem to run into (in Western cultures particularly – some day we’ll have to talk about why there’s so much variation in attitude between cultures). The author describes the problem like this:
You see, friends, my immediate family simply doesn’t understand me. They don’t know why I like to do what I do. They don’t have any interest in things that I love. They just barely fall short of making fun of me for doing what I am so passionate about..It’s all about being true to oneself, isn’t it? Rarely an easy thing to do, but made even more difficult when those immediately around you will not lovingly accept it.
The trope of the Misunderstood Writer has a long and venerable history. But behind the trope is a truth that many writers live and struggle with every day. It’s a little annoying when you’re confronted by a relative stranger at a party or a school meeting who comes out with: “You’re a writer. How do you pay the bills?” or “I don’t remember hearing your name – are you any good?” But it’s just plain hardwhen this vibe comes from someone you care about, or love and trust, or someone to whom you’ve devoted your own life.
I want to dispel a potential misunderstanding here: the author of the blog, Cooper Robbins*, is not a whiny wanna-be (“If I only had a supportive family, I’d be a best-seller, but no, I’m so beat by the end of the day I’d rather watch re-runs”); this is an author whose creative life includes a novel, a screenplay, and a fair amount of “&c,” on top of maintaining a home and taking care of young ones. Her post (and this post) aren’t about people who want to be writers but don’t write…this is about how we as writers keep writing in the face of resistance from those whose opinions we most value.
Camouflage, demonstrated by the Graceful Kelp Crab
Robbins does this in part by developing and participating in supportive writing communities – in a way, that’s what her blog is about. Some people (and I include myself here) have a sort of damn-the-torpedoes approach, which generally involves shutting certain people out of the creative part of one’s life. Other people hermit (to hermit: to isolate one’s self, creating a shell, and then decorating it with camouflaging materials, such as PTA meetings or banker’s three-piece suits, as needed).
So here’s my question. What do you do? What advice would you give to Cooper Robbins about how to cope with being surrounded by people who are either baffled or skeptics? NOTE: The poll should let you vote for as many choices as you want – if it doesn’t let you, tell me and I’ll go give it a strong talking to 🙂 [IOB: ina]
*unsurprisingly, this is a nom de plume – sometimes everyone needs a place to vent. I happen to have a venting blog too, and no, I don’t link it to my name and, no, I haven’t and won’t link it to this blog. Which probably says something, don’t you think?