By the way, one of the most profound things said to me in recent years was by this artist we had the chance of meeting a few years back when picking up a painting.
He was finishing his degree and going back to school in his forties. He was reflecting on the students in the class, who when posed a question had an insatiable desire to answer the question. And to be right. When really the professors often asked open-ended questions as well as questions where folks just don’t know the outcome. There may not be one. If there is one it might not always be the answer. Who knows. Point being, no one, he felt, could really sit with the silence of considering the question.
Anyway, this artist identified the driving emotion behind these incessant questions as fear, namely fear of the unknown and said, “Isn’t it great when you don’t know?”
Isn’t it great when you don’t have the answer?
you are just a barking dog
you are the the inconvenience of waiting in a line
you are the crack in my neck when i stretch
you, i don’t care about
you i don’t care who is annoyed by the way in which i move
you who acts angry
you pierce through none of my guard
you who talks to me like a little girl
you who talks to me like i can’t comprehend
you who don’t like my music
you who don’t like how i speak
you who must take up more space than you need
and want me to give it to you because you think
i will fight you
or won’t fight you
you who are my friend but act like you hate me
you who don’t trust me
you who can’t see me
you who don’t care
who looks at your phone while walking
walling off yourself to what world you are in
i’m not angry at you
you i know you more than you
and you who is more than the you i see
you who i burn to see
you who i want to be around
you i’m so anxious to see
you because i think you are more than the you i know
you i hope you want to show me that
So, for the past almost year, I was doing a poem or short story a day every day on this blog. I learned a lot about my creative process during this time and happened on a type of writing I really enjoy. But towards the end of the year, I began to feel overwhelmed with the challenge I had set for myself. Putting myself out there, even when the poetry was not great, is not so bad, but sometimes you feel you’ve hit a streak of something that isn’t quite working. I did need a break. What I like about most about my creative process is that I let myself do whatever I want to do. I don’t really get into rules or any of that because that’s just not how I care to explore.
But then I thought, what if I did give myself some fallbacks, which would allow me away to keep on going and maintain the airy, lighthearted sort of approach I keep to writing.
Here are some things I know I will probably always write about. Particularly because I find them endlessly fascinating.
nature in general
the night sky
things that shimmer
things that glow
the beat of music
the sound of voices
things that twinkle
things that shine
things that have an outpouring kind of quality
things that others apparently don’t notice
I mean I could keep going. I’ve learned that what I’m attracted to writing about basically all centers around wonder and inspiration. And I’m going to do it a stream of consciousness fashion. That’s how I write poetry. I just write what I feel.
Anyway, so I’m going to come back from my break. And I think I’m going to write poems most days. I find I get into a good flow on my commute. But whatever, to each their own. I may play with themes and I may take more pictures to incorporate or inspire the poem.
We’ll see where this takes me, but feel free to read what I write here. I will be putting out a collection of poetry this year. And if you come across any pictures that look like they reflect the above things (or are just plain cool), please send them!
perhaps it would be better to take a break
to be silent for a while
and not say anything
but simply sit
we’re not stupid
we don’t buy
what you say
you can’t force a false narrative
The old man had a sense of direction that some would call uncanny. It was a gift to know where to go in a moment’s notice. Trouble was, it always came up in the moment. Not days or years ahead. No. It was was precisely in a moment. Sometimes they were questions that took years to figure out.
The question looming in his mind was how to bring the girl back to the village. He’d turned it over in his head for years. It weighed deeply on his conscience from the last time he’d seen her and sent her off deeper into the forest.
He had flashes of dreams where he saw what she saw. A great beast that followed her every move. Rains that threatened to wash the ground she stood on away. He could hear the silent cries echoing into the distance.
But none of that mattered. Something dawned on him all at once one day. The realization, the answer came on him all at once. It was the reason past plans had failed. They didn’t go far enough. This was so much simpler. The only way it would work however was if he found her first. And she could have been anywhere at that point.
Still, he had to try. And with that he packed what was left of his things. And he went running into the green.
first touch of water
it’s colder than you think
it’s going to be
but you’re held
and in that
consuming you to the core
at the same time as
the surface shiver
jolts you awake
and yet you feel warm inside
though you crouch inward
you feel the binding warmth
and you don’t want to let go
but you do
exposed once again
to the cold
brightness of the world
and you exhale
shake it off
relaxed as you stand up
without the experience of cold
as you look forward to meet
The day after the rain stopped, the girl came upon a kind of cave. It was a makeshift shelter built from the natural deepening of the rock. There were twelve paintings or groupings of markings inside.
It was evening and the light from the moon was the only way she could see inside. Tracing her finger over each symbol and picture, she wondered…
who made these?
She had never seen anyone in the forest, but here were all these paintings and so far away from any of the towns she knew around. How did it get out here and why put it so far away from everywhere else people would see it?
Some had very intricate designs and details. It must have taken a long time to do this. She walked from one to the next staring at faces. Birds and plants. An animal she had never seen before – one she didn’t know the name of, but looked very intimidating. She watched the animal for a while and it reminded her of something she could quite figure out.
As she stared at the paiyings she followed the lines from one to the next. Her eyes felt heavy. She heard a low hum a high-pitched buzz and then suddenly, silence and a flash.
an old woman tending to a fire
part of her face hidden in shadow
outstretched wings of a bird
looking up to touch a feather
the deepness of the air
a drop of water plunks into a pool
and the circles
the ripples form
drop of water, as if suspended in time
lying in a bed waking from fevered dreams
looking to the arms
seeing they are drenched in sweat
a yellow flower
old woman laughing
and the animal lunges
red spots on green grass
rustling brown crumpled leaves
a trail of incense
and tall trees
light in back of clouds rolls across the sky
And she blinked. She looked around. The paintings were still there.
Barbara Jwanouskos, thinking, remembering. My first teacher in playwriting – really, the first teacher that taught me how to write and parse out creative thought – was Naomi Iizuka. Among many things that have stuck with me over time is how she would describe beginnings and endings. She asked us to take notice and reflect […]
Sometimes, darkness covered the land and sky with a density so thick, you could almost touch it. There was nothing to be agraid of, but when everything was very still. So quiet, not a word, it was hard not to feel as though something lurked and loomed from the outer edges of the deepness. Staring back from out into the night. Not a sound not a word. It was the kind of gradual awareness of a presence that within the darkness, in the depths of the sky across the land, the closeness of the night felt like a blanket covering wrapping up those who lived below. In a way, for a select few, perhaps, it was comforting.
Eventually, eyes adjust to the dark and then shapes of the tall thick trees could be made out. The ground was soft and though covered with bushes, small plants and debris. The seasons were turning and so the air began to feel cold and enveloping As if it would drift straight through you then into the beyond. Walking at this time of night took great skill and concentration. It took time and patience.
There was a large tree within the forest that provide a welcome respite on the journey. it was a place that felt more protected than the other trees around it. She went to this tree. This is where she sat and listened with wide eyes until she didn’t remember anything from the world in front of her. Scanning the horizon and looking to the brightness of the stars. It wasn’t until a ray of light rested upon her cheek, that she looked around realizing she had fallen asleep. It was as though she had drifted to distant lands and worlds and then was back again in an instant.
Everything looked so different during the day. Was no longer confined and dense, but open space and trees that went on forever. It was though she was in the middle of no where.