Monday, February 29, 2016

"Words" by Virginia Woolf

"Words belong to each other...Of course, you can catch them and sort them and place them in alphabetical order in dictionaries. But words do not live in dictionaries; they live in the mind. If you want proof of this, consider how often in moments of emotion when we most need words we find none. Yet there is the dictionary; there at our disposal are some half-a-million words all in alphabetical order. But can we use them? No, because words do not live in dictionaries, they live in the mind."

I agree, words live inside the mind.  What is written is of direct correlation between mind and heart.  If I could not feel or remember the feeling, I could not properly demonstrate the rhetoric of my own poetics.  Nor could I comprehend it from that of others.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Personal Journal Writing: Why Journal at All?

The first time I ever began a journal was probably around the 5th grade.  Back then (in the early nineties) this tiny black journal with dated pages (and matching lock/key) served as the place where I could freely write my inner-most thoughts.  Of course, being about 11 years old, this was limited to silly school-girl crushes and cat fights in the bathroom with the school bully (amongst other things which were top-secret).  If memory serves me well, I vividly recall tearing the journal to bits after my sister was able to break into it.  I vowed I’d quit writing in a journal, but of course I didn’t.  I picked the habit back up during high school so I could record more important things, like grades, the books I’d read, future plans, and yes, more about those inevitable crushes.

I’m thirty-four now, and I still write in my journal on a daily basis.  All those aforementioned journals lie in a box on the top of one of my much-filled bookcases, but they aren’t forgotten!  These books, and pages, are filled with pieces of my life.  Reflections I’ve gathered, things I’ve figured out.  Accounts of dialogue and memories I cherish as well as those I’d rather forget, yet learned so much from.  I plan one day, very soon, to display these journals on nice shelf somewhere, as they truly are the words of my life.

There are many benefits to daily personal journal writing.  For me, what I love most is the freedom.  My journal serves as my tiny world, cover to cover.  The place where  I ask and answer questions (and prompts found in other places).  This save cove, away from the storming ocean of the world, is where I can be totally authentic in my voice and in what I choose to say, remember, reflect, analyze, record, remember, and say.  With this freedom comes a deeper sense of authenticity in which I better find myself.  In actuality, one of my main reasons for journaling is so I can find myself.  Through journaling daily and answering prompts, I have been able to discern the things I do and why I do them.  So not only do you get to freely be creative, but also gain insight and a wealth of wisdom for better living!

Many times I will become angry or hurt by an event or words, and with those emotions comes a strong sense of confusion and dissatisfaction.  Yet when I delve into my journal and analyze what made me angry, it’s almost as if I am excavating below the deepest layers of my psyche to actually pinpoint the exact reason as to why this thing made me angry and oftentimes it has more to do with a faulty way of thinking than the actual event/words.  That is just one benefit of journal writing.  Through daily writing you can figure out your preferences, passions, likes, dislikes, the memories and events that have been (and are) effecting you in negative (and positive) ways.  And if nothing else, a journal is a place where you can go for privacy, to make sense of your world.

The next best thing about journaling is, there’s no limit as to what you can put inside your journal.  Magazine articles, inspiring pictures and quotes, favorite song lyrics, pictures of those you love, ticket stubs and other memorandum…you can draw, doodle, paint, collage then combine with snippets and pieces of your own writing.  Anything goes!  Finding yourself can be so much fun, so start today!  Below are some journal-writing starters for you.  Some are questions and others are open ended statements.  Answer them any way your heart desires, so long as you’re not too careful, and you’re honest!

A Few Basic Journal Writing Prompts:

1.  It was a dark, stormy night...
2.  My morning ritual is...
3.  Poetry and Coffee
4.  Some day's last too long...
5.  Three things that make me ecstatic and happy...
6.  The old vintage diner was full of interesting patrons...
7.  The summer brings many things beneath the wind of her wings...
8.  The most secretive thing about me is...
9.  When I feel empty, I can usually fill myself with...
10.  I feel most alive when...

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Word List Wednesday #4

This week I decided to give myself a freebie.   And although I didn't use a wordlist, my own poem about home, or the longing for home, was inspired by the poem titled Leaving Tulsa by Jennifer Elise Foerster.

I meant to pull some words from her poem, but after I read it my hands just began to write.  And so I allowed them the freedom. 

The City You Left Me In

I wonder how I came to be
So far from home.
What strange-wheeled attractions
Brought me to this vast arrangement
Of crowded houses and streetlights
The villain teenagers have shot out,
Colorful billboards waving their
Lies across the slippery concrete horizon
Like a piece of paper in God’s right hand
Or a postcard from Uncle Joe, bent into
The wind, never fully read.
This city is one huge slab of
Machinery-paved graffiti, each
Unfamiliar face an unspoken word ‘no.’
I watch city-slickers and small kids
Whine and grovel in backseats of cars,
Together yet alone, and wonder again
Why my brain chose such a place
And why my legs keep making me stay
When surely somewhere, miles behind
Me beyond footsteps re-traceable,
There’s a slanted perch of rock,
It’s stone made smooth by centuries
Of rain, and its sun-warmed seat awaits me
Between a density of evergreen
And a woodland too full of life
And sounds to ever feel alone again.

I want to climb back into the history
That carved me from those hills, the
Ever-rolling horizon of clouds and treetops
That filled the backdrop of my childhood.
I want to gallivant with the deer,
Dip my fingers into the free-flowing
Wild-water of a mountain stream
And fill my mouth with the sweet song
Of it’s freedom; I want to talk to the trees,
Feel the shifting feet of unseen things
That I know continue to walk into and
Across the empty trail my feet left behind.
My body hates this city, I've grown stiff 
of it’s hard streets and the unfriendly
Faces of modern-day pedestrians caught
mid-stride against the ego of some complaint.
Hate, a word that once said, can’t be undone.
The fluorescent grit of this bent-in-upon stone
Is making me old before my time,
Ankles weighed down of what it used to mean to be me.
And somewhere in the fresh-leafed Appalachian hills
An Indian Summer is swaying new blooms into
The old breath of the Hercules beetle.
It’s a place where my feet belong,
the olive branch of my new beginning,
and so I must go back again.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Ani DiFranco: ''Coming Up''

When angry at the unjust of this world, I just listen to some Ani DiFranco.

Listen and read.   There's no need for commentary, her words are enough!

our father who art in a penthouse
sits in his 37th floor suite
and swivels to gaze down
at the city he made me in
he allows me to stand and
solicit graffiti until
he needs the land i stand on
i in my darkened threshold
am pawing through my pockets
the receipts, the bus schedules
the matchbook phone numbers
the urgent napkin poems
all of which laundering has rendered
pulpy and strange
loose change and a key
ask me
go ahead, ask me if i care
i got the answer here
i wrote it down somewhere
i just gotta find it
i just gotta find it

somebody and their spray paint got too close
somebody came on too heavy
now look at me made ugly
by the drooling letters
i was better off alone
ain't that the way it is
they don't know the first thing
but you don't know that
until they take the first swing
my fingers are red and swollen from the cold
i'm getting bold in my old age
so go ahead, try the door
it doesn't matter anymore
i know the weakhearted are strongwilled
and we are being kept alive
until we're killed
he's up there the ice
is clinking in his glass
he sends me little pieces of paper
i don't ask
i just empty my pockets and wait
it's not fate
it's just circumstance
i don't fool myself with romance
i just live
phone number to phone number
dusting them against my thighs
in the warmth of my pockets
which whisper history incessantly
asking me
where were you

i lower my eyes
wishing i could cry more
and care less,
yes it's true, 
i was trying to love someone again,
i was caught caring,
bearing weight

but i love this city, this state
this country is too large 
and whoever's in charge up there
had better take the elevator down
and put more than change in our cup
or else we
are coming

Sunday, February 14, 2016

By Candlelight!

"Midnight Study Session"

I’m awake; I am in the world-
I expect
no further assurance.
No protection, no promise.

Solace of the night sky,
the hardly moving
face of the clock.

I’m alone- all
my riches surround me.
I have a bed, a room.
I have a bed, a vase
of flowers beside it.
And a nightlight, a book.

I’m awake; I am safe.
The darkness like a shield, the dreams
put off, maybe
vanished forever.

And the day-
the unsatisfying morning that says
I am your future,
here is your cargo of sorrow:

Do you reject me? Do you mean
To send me away because I am not
full, in your word,
because you see
the black shape already implicit?

I will never be banished. I am the light,
your personal anguish and humiliation.
Do you dare
send me away as though
you were waiting for something better?

There is no better.
Only (for a short space)
the night sky like
a quarantine that sets you 
apart from your task.

Only (softly, fiercely)
the stars shining. Here,
in the room, the bedroom.
Saying I was brave, I resisted,
I set myself on fire.

--"Stars" by Louise Gluck--

Created for the 'Candlelight' theme at Cheeky Challenge.

Children Make the World Go 'Round

"Library Daze"

"I could never have dreamt that there were such goings-on
in the world between the covers of books, 
such sandstorms and ice blasts of words,,, 
such staggering peace, such enormous laughter, 
such and so many blinding bright lights,, ,
splashing all over the pages
in a million bits and pieces
all of which were words, words, words,
and each of which were alive forever
in its own delight and glory and oddity and light."

--Dylan Thomas--

Created for the challenge at Take a Word.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Word List Wednesday #3

This week I challenged myself with some words from the poem Full of Rain, The World by Ramola Dharmaraj as it appeared in Best American Poetry 1994.

Word List:


I was inspired by the mystical reflection of the twin flame and the push and pull idealization of lost love.  Perhaps we are just souls dancing across the bodily dimensions of each other.  Maybe our hearts touch in other ways that are unknown to this physical realm.

The Unopened Thing Between Us

I always imagined the movement of your
Lips and hands, a sort of rain,
Words like water, quick and swift
And slowly moving south, and your
Eyes, two magenta spheres of blue sky,
Un-blinkable of new love, you’d hold
Their conscious hostage to watch me sleep.

My nights alone with only the black
Beep of untouched promises across a screen,
Words as flat and unbreathed as the dark square
Of window space whose dark question ground
Desire against my hands like stone against the
Stalk of what was never said.
And my throat, swollen of soliloquies,
Always murmuring a breath-full of stars
Against silk pillows where your head
Never laid, a sort of mishap we stumbled into,
A space meant for your face, never filled
And so I’d run my hands across the lumps of fabric,
Each ruffle a smooth-skinned contour of your muscle,
my mind too brittle of your absence to un-imagine.

All those moons I could not sleep, slumbered thought
Would churn my brain of you:  part-secret
And part obsession, I’d imagine the blink
Of your sleep-heavy lids and watch the morning
Sun slowly plow the sky westward,
Silently willing time to guide you closer to me.
Silly girlish wishes winnowing beneath
The empty thread-spool of my unspun heart
Spelling seconds backward, wishes swelling
From my chest like grainy seeds I sprinkle 
into sheets full of dreams that slowly disappear.

A Fishy Theme

"Walking the Muse"

"If you are a dreamer come in
If you are a dreamer a wisher a liar
A hoper a prayer a magic-bean-buyer
If you're a pretender come sit by my fire
For we have some flax golden tales to spin
Come in! 
Come in!”  

― Shel Silverstein 

Created for a challenge at The Three Muses.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Music & Morning

"Calm Morn"

Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain-tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;
Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
With ugly rack on his celestial face
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace.

Created for an art challenge at Digital Whisper.  

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Noteworthy Links Thursday #4

For the last year or so, I have made it a daily goal to read an article, a poem, and a short story via the internet each day.  I make sure that all the material has free availability (no pay or subscription sites).  My hope is to represent the vast amount of free education/ information/ literature available via the internet.

Here are the best of my reads for this week.

Short Stories

The Other Woman by Lana Weinstei is much more than what you think.  This very short work also depicts just how dire the effects of too much social media.

"I walk out the door and the chill blast registers as real life."

If You're Having Trouble Getting Started by William Olmstead has a twist that will leaving you pondering the importance of writing...even just a little.  The ending entails an ironic, yet fruitful question for those of us who dare attempt to write.

Juno’s mother shook her head and waved a dismissive hand.
“What a waste. What can you really say in one sentence?”

Winter Break by Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah captures a moment of mortality and circumstance of a situation uncontrollable with it's realistic account of a meeting of two friends.

I could see her brown eyes in the light of an approaching car. They reflected our terrible mortalities, hers and mine.

I read all three of these stories from the archive at Everyday Writer.  This website showcases short works and fiction by a variety of writers and genres.  They also host a free magazine and occasional short story contests.  It's definitely worth a browse.


If all the bare branches and the sharp whip of winter wind has got you feeling meloncholy, Wisp by Johanne Boulat will, perhaps, allow you to see these dead waving weeds in a different light.  This is particularly so for me, as I live near the Appalachian.  I am surrounded by dead things the winter brings.

"It was the flesh of clouds

The breeze of opened reveries."

Reading the small collection of poetry by Christina Murphy felt much like taking a mini-vacation via the screen.  Her work is hosted at a new online literary journal Scarlet Leaf Review which is due for their second issue in mid-February.  I really enjoyed perusing their content.

a town where the mermaid

is a run-down bar and fishing nets hang 
on wooden walls,

the sea nearby rocks
in fragmented lights;

Educational Resources:

The article 25 Great Youtube Channels for Blended Learning contains a plethora of amazing Youtube channels and playlists for learning everything from astronomy to literature to history...and just about anything in between.  Although the article seems directed as an easier approach for learning for college students, millions of people benefit from online learning via free websites and quality youtube videos.  I think the internet may just be the formal education of the future.'s mostly free as I believe all education should be.

At the very least, these channels make learning fun and could give you a much needed study break that is more enlightening than watching the latest cute cat video.