A day late and a dollar short, ha! Story of my life. Well, better to show up than not at all and here it is Tuesday but as promised, with my take on this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge theme which is ‘Object’. So many thoughts about this, so much to ponder. Can an object in this context mean just about anything?
Last week, being completely bereft without my laptop and I am not ashamed to admit it, (blog post coming up about technology addiction!) I became reacquainted with the ancient art of handwriting as with a pen, on paper. Not a bad thing as it turned out and with surprising and therapeutic results. I needed to be productive during my ‘offline’ time and so, after I got over my self-pity I decided to revisit my fiction assignment for the writing course I started three years ago and have until October to finish.
I was very inspired by my good pal Dylan’s excellent post over at Suffolk Scribblings where he shares how he came about his ideas for his recently published book, ‘Second Chance’. Congratulations once again Dylan!
I have no problem in writing about my experiences, past and present in a non-fiction, and of course, memoir capacity, but fiction? That’s another thing altogether. I have this mental block about being able to use my experiences and turn them into characters and plots for a novel. I just can’t seem to visualise a character or an idea. Usually when I write I know the ending first. Sometimes just a simple few words. That’s all I need.
So I sat down and started to jot down some ideas. Before I knew it I had come up with a (very) bare-bones plot outline and four characters, as per the assignment requirement. As I wrote, I began to see that indeed, my characters began to take shape and form and I got quite excited about this! For the first time in my life I began to believe that perhaps one day I might actually write a novel. Taking the time out to hand-write these ideas helped greatly.
This revelation led to another one: I realised that I have always hand-written my poems. Even when, as a teenager, I had an old typewriter (I taught myself to touch type on my mum’s old manual typewriter, took all my RSA typewriting exams on one and thought I had died and gone to heaven when I sat down at my desk in my job as a PA working for a lawyer in Los Angeles when I was given my very own electric typewriter!) I always hand-wrote everything.
In fact, when I was at school we had cursive handwriting classes using fountain pens with a flourish! Needless to say, my writing looks nothing like the writing I produced in those classes.
Perhaps in the very act of writing down our thoughts and our ideas by hand and so recording them in this more personal way we are able to discover more easily what is really churning around deep inside our hearts.
Moving on then to the theme of this post, and I do admit that a heaviness bears down on me as it has for a little while. That old black dog stops by for a visit and likes to sit at my feet from time to time. He is strangely familiar and perversely comforting, yet I hope he doesn’t stay too long.
So doing what I try to do at such times in search of a cure, he and I took a walk together to try to clear away the cobwebs.
This beautiful tree, felled by the recent storms and lying motionless on its side, broken, never to rise again. Black mud, not frost-hard as it should be in winter but soft and deep, emerging from its flooded, watery grave. A tractor has driven through the mud, somebody has seen this tree but has left it where it lies.
This broken tree has had its day, with nothing but the still of winter’s air to mourn it.
Yet see the deep, blue sky? This could almost be California. At a stretch. Life and death underneath the wide-open expanse. We all have our day. It is good to reach high while we still can and put down strong, deep roots to keep us firm in the day of our storm.
Why are we all so ‘busy’ to the point that we fill our lives with so many distractions just so that we don’t have to stop and be forced to listen to the clamoring sounds of silence? Yet, as writers, this is just what we have to do.
In the cold light of day we come face to face with our limitations, our failures, our worries and, of course, our fears. Yet it is here, in the very silence, where we meet our deepest expression. Maybe it is here that we also find our healing, our hope and ultimately our deliverance.
This is a poem I wrote last week, out of my silence. Dark though it may be, the blue-sky beckons. Always.
Havoc In The Peace
Wipe that gash of a smile off your
sick, plastic gaze, toying as it creeps up
into the no-doubt-about-it
lines leaching out from the
Death around your eyes.
Reach up into the cruel expanse
of purpose-built lies
As you grasp and seek havoc
Where the lonely dove sighs.
Oh to wonder in the meadow-green
with the cornflour-blue
and the Red-River seen
pure and driven, carcass-riven
In the deep of the unclean.
Reach up into the cruel expanse
of purpose-built lies
Where they seek havoc in the peace
while a little boy cries.
And when the end comes
As surely as it must of any
craven-filled dearth, spluttered
out and kicked to Christ
Where then, in a touch of breeze;
Just give it to me now, then
Turn into a whisper, caught unheeded
singing sweetly, spoken lightly on the air:
‘Keep your charm, for I deliver,
casting lots for my despair.’
Reach up then, into the cruel expanse
and embrace your dark lies,
As they reek of havoc in the peace
Where my broken heart dies.
‘The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’