Taking the week off

This is a time of year for family and friends.  I’ve been enjoying a quiet Christmas season this year and have decided to take the week off from writing.  The last few days have been restful and I’ve let my brain turn off for a while.

I’ll be back next Sunday with a real post, possibly another poem with the line, “and they went home by another road,” somewhere in it.

Till next week,


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Today is the day – winter solstice.
Shortest day of the year.
Start of a winter.
End of a year.

The sky is grey
and darkness drives me
indoors to the warmth
of hearth, kettle and kittens.

It is a time to write,
a time to reflect, to sit at keys,
and let thoughts flow.

But darkness clouds my brain.
Soon the long night will be here.
The sun just a memory
with hopes and dreams sitting on the self.

It is the kind of day that just needs to pass.
It is the kind afternoon when a fire and a cup of tea are all I ask.

Sitting, listening to my heart and soul
I hear nothing – no wind, no word
just the thundering of little kitten feet playing chase in the hall.

Boots the kitten rubs my legs
asking to sit on my lap
there she bats at the space bar
trying figure out what it is for.

Other kittens come and invite
Boots to a game of chase
and down the hall they run,
the little thundering herd.

The blank page stares back
as I think of the year that has been
of the year that will be
and my heart smiles as I feel
a little paw step on my toe.

The kitten opens her mouth with a silent meow
and settles at my feet to wait as I write
or until the game starts anew.

As I ponder the words flowing on the page
and consider the wisdom of the age
a paw and a small cry
bid me put down my burdens and come play.

Till next week,

Posted in General, Poems | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Wednesday Woodworking – Now it’s looking like something

Here it is, finally looking like something other than a pile of lumber:

The storage unit.  Doors are the next project.

The storage unit. Doors are the next project.

It’s hard to get a good picture of this because of the cramped space it is in.  The unit is 10 feet long and about 40 inches high and not completely square.  sigh…

Still, it’s just fine as a storage unit.  I still need to make the sliding doors and paint it – painting might wait till spring when it’s warmer outside.  I’ve got to this completed by new year as this is destined to hold all our Christmas decorations until next year.

With winter weather starting to hit us, I’ll likely be doing more scroll saw and small projects for a couple of months.

If you need me – I’ll be in the shop


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Book Progress

I’ve been at work on my cancer poetry book.  It is hard to measure progress, but I am up to 34 pages of stuff.  There are 18 poems and five or six pages of other ‘stuff.’  I am still not sure how it will end, but the structure is in place.  I’ve got an outline of sorts – well just a list of poem titles.  And like all things I do, I couldn’t sick to just one form.  In among the poems are bits of prose, notes and some that is hard to describe.

This isn’t the kind of project I can think through – it has to be felt.  That becomes most clear to me when I write a poem and re-feel the emotions of the event.  After all I am working under the notion that my poetry is intended to make you feel an emotion in response to the poem.  Sometimes I am trying to invoke a particular emotion – sadness, grief or hope.  It is presumptuous for me to assume that you’ll feel exactly the same emotion I had or that I intended, but still I want my readers to respond with more feelings and less with intellect.

The intellectual version of the cancer events I am exploring is simple and would only take a few pages.  Such an exercise might be interesting to some, but it fails to illuminate the human impact of the events.  We humans are complex creatures with both logic and emotions pulling at our lives.  For me, logic can be a hollow and empty experience, while grand visits require feeling to understand the awesome view.  Strip feeling from the world and the view from the rim of the Grand Canyon becomes a simple exercise in geology.  Hardly inspiring.

Inspiration or lack of inspiration is the place I’ve come to at the moment.  In most projects, I start off with great enthusiasm and after a while come to a place where my inner demons start throwing doubt at my soul saying things like:

“It isn’t very good poetry.”
“What do you know of poetics?”
“You’re the only one who will like this.”
“They say they like just because they are being kind.”

Sometimes the voices of doubt can crowd out the part of me that needs to tell this story this way.  It isn’t always easy to silence the critic.  Still, all self-criticism isn’t bad.  I’ve spent a lot of time editing what I have written – refining, polishing and asking the question, “Does this poem, stanza, line, or word, work to build the feeling or paint the scene I am trying to create?”

Answer the question ‘no’ and I make a revision.  Answer the question ‘yes’ and I move on.  Sounds simple, but it isn’t because between the question and answer a door is opened to the inner doubter and self-doubt that can destroy inspiration.

It’s a struggle at times.  I don’t want to give the impression that the work has stopped or that I fight for every word.  It’s been rewarding so far and there are a few poems and prose sections that I am very happy with.
The project is now in that place I some times get to with a wood working project.  The shop is filled with half made parts.  Parts in clamps waiting for the glue to dry. The shop is in disarray. Drawings are filled with corrections and the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that I’ve cut a critical part half an inch short.

So here is the update on my book.  It’s in pieces in my mind and all over my computer screen.  I’ve got six or so windows open with notes, half-finished poems, and the final manuscript where I cut and paste in completed poems.  It continues to grow and take on it’s own life.

It hasn’t told me yet when it will be ready to leave home.

Till next week,

Posted in Poems, Prostate Cancer, Writing | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments