Thursday, November 23, 2017

Mind's eye

Thanksgiving week at assisted living

I go into my mind’s eye
when I can’t see people.
I try to remember what they look like.
Do you do that, too?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

NaNo - Author's Note

Not sure where in the book this will be, but it came out of my head tonight.

Author’s Note
Feeling morbid.
Feeling alive.
Feeling out of control.
I feel like my brain has been on speed
Thoughts trigger thoughts
Which trigger more thoughts.
They come in a rush.
Too fast to get them all down.
My fingers can’t keep up with my head.
Thoughts keep me from going to bed,
Wake me during the night,
Follow me during the day.
Thoughts exploding in my head
On the pad of paper next to my bed
On my phone
On my laptop.
So many thoughts
It is almost overwhelming.
I’m getting lost
And yet I feel found.
Thoughts exploding
Surround me
Like a wildfire.
Which at some point will burn to an end.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved an unhappy person like me.
I once was lost, and now I’m found.
Was blind and now I see.

I almost said fool instead of wretch.
But then I looked up wretch and saw that it
Accurately describes me.
Not always, but sometimes.
“an unfortunate or unhappy person”
I don’t like the other definition,
Which is why I refuse to sing that word,
“a despicable or contemptible person”
Why would anyone call himself that?
I may be a foold sometimes.
I may be unhappy,
I may be writing stories about dead people,
And that may make me unfortunate
But it does not make be despicable.
I would rather that no one feels contempt towards me,
Although I am sure that some kids do.
I’m a little different.
And I know that sets me up.
It’s easier to bully someone who scares you
Than someone you truly understand.
There’s a saying my dad uses,
“Ignorance breeds contempt.”
So, yes, maybe kids think of me as wretched,
But I don’t give a fuck.
I am who I am.
And if someone thinks that makes me descpicable or contemtable,
That is their issue,
Not mine.
As the other saying goes,
“Sticks and stones may break my bones,
But names will never hurt me.”
Which isn’t entirely true.
The names hurt,
But knowing that it isn’t my fault
That they choose to call me names
Or treat me like crap,
Knowing it is their action, not mine,
That helps with the hurt and
Lessens the pain.
Not pain-free,
Not wretched.
But Amazing grace os a sweet sound.
And I was once blind to how life works
But now I see.
I am in control of my destiny.
I’m the one creating a book of characters
No one has ever met.
That is power.
That is satisfying.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believed.
Ah, grace.
What do I believe in?
I’m still figuring it out.
But I do know
That I believe in something
And there’s a good chance that
I’ll never totally figure it out.
Such is the spirit that lives within me.
I believe in my soul.
I believe in me.
Whether anyone else does or not.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

NaNo - husband and wife

Wife, Mother
I only had one son
He’s married now.
Lives in a brick and wood house
In a quiet neighborhood
On a dead end street.
Some days I just can’t understand
How i raised a boy
Who now gives his lawn a crewcut
Every week,
And finishes it off with meticulously trimming the edges
With his gasoline powered heavy duty trimmer.
Every week.
How did this happen?
So obsessive,
So exact,
So unyielding.
So unmindful of the impact his actions have
On the environment.
So close minded and religiously patriotic,
Which I didn’t understand
And now I will never understand.

Is his mindset a reaction to the freedom he had
As a child?
He was my only but I tried not to hover.
I tried not to be the mother who said,
Wait until your father comes home.
I tried to be the mother who listened,
Without criticising,
The mother who also had a life,
And didn’t want to give up on enjoying life.

I tried not to interfere when
He went through his phases,
Long hair, short hair,
Talking back, not talking at all
Smoking, drinking,
Did I give him so much freedom
That now he needs order?
Or is he trying to show his father
How to be a man.

George, Husband, Father
She never did figure out what a mother is supposed to do.
Sure she gave birth
To a son,
Who would carry on the family name.
But she never understood how to discipline,
All she wanted to do was love.
Luckily, he saw right through her
As I did
And grew to be the man he was meant to be.
I guess he admired me
More than I realized.
Because he became more than my son,
He became my clone.
Funny, how that worked out.
I was always worried that
Her love would raise our boy to be a pansy.
For a while I thought he might wind up gay.
All that worrying for nothing.
He grew up to be strong, like me.
A man.
Who knows how to get his way
And how to put up with women
In a way that they think
Means we care.
We don’t.
I think I loved her when we married.
But over the years love wasn’t the point of it.
I had a job to work
Money to earn
Son to keep in line.
I let her do what she wanted
And made sure that at the end of the day
I was the one in charge
And my boy knew it.
She didn’t fool him
Or me.
I raised a son into a man.
By being the strength she never could be.
Yes, in a way.
I guess it depends upon how you use it.

Friday, November 10, 2017

NaNo - Chap One - Anywheresville

Chapter 1: Anywheresville
Anywhere you want it to be.
This town once had dirt roads,
And wooden clapboard houses
With big front porches,
There used to be a parade
down Main Street
on Memorial Day
Soldiers, old and young, would march
The high school band played,
Children waved flags,
Cheerleaders waved their poms and cheered,
The mayor strutted,
The fire truck sputtered
And it seemed like everyone in town
Was either in the parade
Or on the sidewalk watching.
Everyone except the few
Who couldn’t walk
And didn’t have anyone to push them.
And, of course,
The hospital patients couldn’t go.
And no one thought to bring the crazies from
the asylum on the edge of town.

Anywheresville grew,
Which most residents thought was good.
Stoplights were added
Office buildings seemed to get built overnight,
The state thought it would be a good location for a community college
So they built one,
Professors came,
Students came.
Fast food restaurants opened.
A developer bought up some farms
and built a mall.
The community college built dorms
and added some four year degrees,
More professors came,
They had PhDs,
and were tenured instead of adjunct.
Growth is good, the mayor said.
Growth is good, the business owners said.
Growth is good became the mantra.
Growing, growing, growing.
The state assemblyman started to visit more often.
He talked about growth, too.
And change.
And progress.
And how he would get the state to help.
Which was why we needed to vote for him.
Aren’t parades great!

NaNoWriMo - Prologue

National Novel Writing Month is November 1-30. I decided to try it again this year and started my usual YA coming of age story written in verse. I didn't have an outline or clear plot and after a few chapters I decided to switch gears. Since I write in verse and have trouble developing plot lines, characters, and dialogue, it might make more sense to write something in the style of Spoon River Anthology. And since it is verse, why not post it on my poetry blog. So, here we go. 

Prologue or Introduction - I’m not sure what the difference is:
The library had a banned book display
Complete with police tape.
One of the books looked familiar
So I picked it up and flipped it open.
Spoon River Anthology.
It was poetry,
Instead of being about feelings,
The poems were all about people.
So I read the back
And thought, whoa, this is stories about dead people,
Based on some dude walking around the graveyard
Which is kind of creepy.
But instead of writing something boring,
He wrote it like poetry,
Like a song.
Like a bunch of songs and poems
About dead people.
And I liked it.
My mom noticed me reading it.
She went to her bookshelf,
And pulled out her old copy.
I knew it looked familiar!
Sometimes my mom surprises me.
I didn’t think this would have been here style.
She said it was one of her favorite books in high school
And she still opens it up sometimes
And reads a story or two.
I don’t know if I should think that’s cool
Or if I should be worried.
I’ll go with cool.
Probably everyone reads books about dead people.
My mom
Reads the one that’s poetry
That sings
To her and me.

So, here’s my idea.
Because I like to write so much,
My teacher challenged me to write a book.
A novel, he said.
So I started one,
But it wasn’t going anywhere.
I couldn’t figure out what I wanted the plot to be.
I had one main character but couldn’t figure out
The other characters.
That’s what I mean about it not going anywhere.
It was just this girl
Talking in a journal,
About her life,
One day at a time.
Sounds familiar, huh.
Sounds like me,
‘Cause that’s what I do.
Which is why my LA teacher thought I should try writing a novel.
He knows I write.
Every day.
He hasn’t seen anything from my journal
Because I would never share that with anyone!
But I’ve brought in poems
And songs
And shown them to him.
He thinks most of them are pretty good,
And not just for a high school kid.
He thinks a few of them are good,
And that is really cool.
So, when he suggested I try to write a novel,
I said “Sure, why not.”
And here I am with a novel
That is done after five chapters.
Five short chapters.
It’s not done because I actually wrote a story.
It’s done because I am done with it.
And no one is ever going to see it
Because it is crap.
It’s like my journal,
But instead of being real,
It’s fiction mixed with real thoughts.
Sort of based on me
And my family
And friends
And classmates
And teachers
And pretty much everyone I know
Especially people who annoy me.
Not exactly interesting reading for most people.
And, as I said, no plot.
There is no story.
It’s just words.
More blah, blah, blah
In a blah, blah, blah world.
No one needs more of that.
So I hereby declare it officially done.
And if I had printed it
I would now dump it in the recycle bin.
Instead, I will let it live in a folder on my laptop,
And start over.
From the beginning.
New idea.
I’m not touching the old one.
It wasn’t working.
I’m starting a whole new thing.
And it will be my version of Spoon River.
Instead of using gravestones
I’ll take names, gravestone sayings, news stories
Facebook posts,
Whatever, wherever,
And make up people’s names and lives.
This is going to be interesting,
A combination of morbid curiosity
Fiction and my usual thought process.
That means a bit wacky,
And a little bit all over the place.
I’m not good with straight lines.
And researching for this should be way fun.
Pinterest may become my new best friend.

I’m not sure it matters who I start with
And at some point I’ll even come up with
The name of the town and maybe even a county and state.
For now it will be named Anywheresville.
I kind of like that.
Maybe I’ll keep it.

Welcome to Anywheresville.
If you choose to read this book
You will get to know a variety of people
From around the world
Who chose to visit or drive right through
Or live
In Anywheresville.

If you choose to read this book,
You will read verse instead of prose,
Because that is what I write.
That is my preferred means of communication.
That is how I process my life.
And here we go.
Now entering Anywheresville,
It could be anywhere.
It could be everywhere.
This could be you.