A Sonnet Attempt

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Glad is the girl who finds comfort in word,

wraps up in blankets of poetry, prose.

Hides from the fears and the worries she knows.

Flies far away on the wings of a bird. 

Problems she faces are quickly obscured,

As off into lands of the story she goes.

She sets aside all residual woes,

As the line ‘tween fiction and fact is blurred


I soon return to my temporal home, 

Life calls my name, obligation does croon. 

I set down the pen and bookmark my sheet,

Throw out my coffee and reach for my tome,

Scoop up the papers and books I have strewn.

Fortified, ready the day now to meet. 





Ask Me

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This semester is my advanced poetry workshop (having the word advanced in the class title makes it sound like I’m a lot more of poet than I am). My first assignment was to write a poem based off of William Stafford’s Ask Me (If you’re only going to read one poem please read the Stafford one), I had to use the first and last lines of the original poem as well as the same number of lines. I actually wrote two poems because the first time I wasn’t entirely clear on the details of the assignment but I kind of like them both. Attempt #1:

Ask Me
Some time when the leaves have turned to gold ask me
words that I have spoken. Ask me if I made promises
I could not keep. Circles have been run.
And steps have been retraced again
and again. I have traveled with the same people in the same directions:
ask whether they have helped me move on
or if I am still traversing the same spots.

I will listen to you without running.
You and I can watch the trees as they shed the summer.
We are sure that it is only a matter of time
before the green returns, green that cannot last
but is never truly gone. What is now will not be tomorrow
but may be next year.
What the leaves say, that is what I say.

And here is the poem that actually meets the requirements:

Ask Me
Some time when the river is ice ask me
words that I have spoken. Ask me if I told stories
that were not my own. Adventures have flown by,
some seized and some let go. Ask me
who I have taken along and who would not
venture with me, who has spurred me on
and who has tried to slow my journey.

We can talk together.
We can watch the still water
churning within, full of its own stories yet to tell.
It waits for spring to start again,
showing us how to move forward, refusing to settle
in any one place for long.
What the river says, that is what I say.

What we talk about when we talk about cake*

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I think one of  my problems is balance, in writing I mean (my balance in real life isn’t so great either due to perpetual sinus issues, but that’s not what this is about).  I lack the ability to find a middle-ground.  When I develop a character I either write pages and pages of background on their life until I know how old they were when they lost their first tooth, what their favorite cereal is, and what brand of toothpaste they buy. This is actually sort of what you’re supposed to do when you first work on character development, but I’m usually using it to avoid actually writing a story (because that involves conflict and I am so non-confrontational I don’t even like to introduce it into the lives of the people I make up).  The alternative of course is when I get in a hurry and  start a story where I spend the first several pages referring to my lead as __________ , or (need to pick a name).

Characters though, really aren’t the worst of it. For instance, writing a description of a blue sky could go one of two ways:

a) The sky was as blue as the bluest sapphire, it was luminescent and the color of a robin’s feather. It was as blue as anything she had ever seen. It was bluer than the cornflowers in may, bluer than her little brother’s eyes, and bluer than the ocean. In fact, in her mind it had redefined “blue,” everything blue she would ever see for the very rest of her life would now be held up to the standard of this blue.


b) The sky was blue.

I once wrote a short story for a class in which I avoided an important conversation that was occurring in the kitchen because I wasn’t sure what I wanted them to say. My teacher called me on it, which meant that for the revision stage of class I had to figure out what exactly my two main characters were talking about (I had been hoping that if I sent them to the other room everyone would forget about them until they came back). I (probably unfortunately) decided they were speaking of cake (I think this is probably because when I revise I eat constantly and so I had food on the brain). The two sisters talked for over a page about cake and ice cream, but what they were really talking about was ongoing arguments and their complicated familial relationships (basically all of the conflict I work to avoid).  I went from no conversation to an overly convoluted, heavily symbolic conversation which revolved around dessert (one of my favorite subjects).

But perhaps the worst area of my pendulum swing writing habits is the fact that sometimes I have nothing to write on this blog at all and sometimes, I write long, fairly rambling posts that have almost nothing to do with their titles. (See above.)

Now go find yourself some cake, you earned it if you made it this far.

*I definitely borrowed most of this blog title from the title of Raymond Carver’s collection. Also, I’m sorry if you were hoping for a post that was actually about dessert.

It’s All About Me!!!!

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My first post of 2013 is a vain one, as it is just a collection of facts about me.   These are some of the things about me that are likely weird and irritating, but I choose to believe are cute:

When someone waves awkwardly it instantly endears them to me.  This is because I too, have a waving problem.  When I see someone flap their hand at me  like they’ve lost control over their fingers (in a way I am familiar with) I so appreciate the effort put forth despite inability, it makes me feel important.  Also, it’s nice to know I’m not the only human being who can’t grasp basic motor skills.

I am clumsy.   I trip on nothing.  My feet get in the way of, well, my feet. I can also walk into the same desk corner/wall/article of furniture over and over again without ever learning that I should take that turn just a little bit differently, or just actually pay attention to what I’m doing.

I am absentminded, kind of.  Really I am fairly conscientious with a near-pathological fear that I am absentminded.  I remember to put the keys in my purse but freak out five minutes later because I can’t remember if I remembered to put the keys in my purse (I have dumped my purse out several different times, in multiple locations).  I become convinced that I forgot to fill out my time card, when in reality it was complete on time and exactly the way it’s supposed to be. I don’t forget to put my name on homework assignments yet as soon as I turn something in I become positive that it is the best paper I’ve ever written but it’s unintentionally anonymous. (My caveat is that sometimes I am completely spacey and do totally inane things.  So perhaps my fear of absentmindedness is in fact, legitimate.)

I laugh incredibly easily. I laugh at movies, t.v. shows, websites, books, things my friends say, things the people at the table in the restaurant next to me say, my dad’s insistence on wearing the paper pirate hats in Long John Silver’s, things I see on billboards, faces my little sister makes at the dinner table, this commercial (every time), the list goes on and on. Anyway, I laugh easily and I laugh hard. Things that could potentially make other people chuckle mildly or smile to themselves cause me to laugh audibly and obnoxiously, while convulsing as though I’m being poked with a cattle prod. Another thing is that I don’t really like my laugh.  One of my best friends has an adorable laugh, it the cutest giggle I’ve ever heard. I am not so lucky; my laugh (which as I’ve already pointed out, I hear all the time) is something I’ve come to terms with, but not something I find very pleasant to listen to. I’m also a crier, (under the right circumstances most of the above list can also trigger tears) which is worse than the laughing.

I don’t write enough, partly because I’m lazy but partly because I’m afraid. I’m worried that if I write more I might find out that I’m actually a horrendous writer, and I don’t really have a backup plan. So, the plan for this year is to write a lot more and to be okay with writing a lot of really bad stuff.  This is because I hope that this will help me to get over my fear of writing really bad stuff (this is not to say that I am intending to write poorly, or that I’m not hoping  to actually write some good stuff too). Part of this plan is to be ok if everything that I just wrote in this post falls under the “bad stuff’ category, (which is pretty likely as I’ve just used the word “stuff” four times in the last paragraph…oops, five).