Part Two – A Confessional: I Write Imperfect Poetry and Prose

Fave Chicken Pic (This is part two of a two-part post. Part One may be read here. You may consider reading it first. Thank you for being here for my imperfect poetry and prose. Grateful to have you here.) And so I write. Today is Monday and I want to write as honestly as I strived to on Sunday. This is not about false humility or humbled low-bowing for the sake of, well, humble low-bowing in and of itself. Let’s admit it: Writers humbling themselves can be a spectator sport on the interwebs. And often it is difficult to discern  the writer’s spirit. The authenticity. (Now that’s an over-used word.)

I know in my deep places that my craft, my art, my writing, well, they need time to ripen and mature. I need to read more poetry, write more poetry and listen to the wisdom of beautifully gifted writers. I need to pay better attention. Read more excellent fiction. Sit in the wake of the backdraft of the giants.

And yet, I am still Elizabeth. There is no changing that. I am still the woman who burns with passion for seeing the world in a beautiful, grace-laced way. I am the writer who hears God wooing me into a world of words, with His own. I am a long-processor and so I need to write. Everything that I see, hear and experience needs to run back through the sieve of the pen. But it doesn’t. One cannot sustain quite that level of writing. Or I can’t. But I understand an event a bit better after I write. Most writers do. This is not unique to my writing life.

It is important for me to continue to remind myself and others that I was not always bound to the pen or bent on paying close attention. I have missed a million small moments. Beauty has gone unnoticed. Miracles of creation, tucked into the intricate places have been seen by the attentive ones. But not by me.

I am awake now. I am paying attention. Going digging. Searching for mystery, miracle and wonder. Sharing it with others. And savoring a thousand intricately nuanced moments. Looking for the hidden. And writing toward a more perfectly crafted poem. Bending in to learn to show you in more eloquently written prose.

And so I write.

Expectantly. Honestly. Awake.

I am writing my poetry. My prose.

For us.

Advertisements

Extravagance

provider-mcclellanville

Extravagance

These are the days of extravagance
Want and wanting, desire and desiring
Dim in a rearview mirror, malfunctioning
Objects of desire may appear smaller than they once were
Plenty erupts into abundance
Do not misread the meaning
(Grab and consult Webster if you must, Google it)

For I have looked the giver in her eyes
And touched her coal black skin, said no
And thank you a million times
Refused the gift to a fault
Desire to give out of what she had, burned between our hands
And history rewrote itself

The force with which she gave was mighty
And I was weakened by her might
Turnips and sweet potatoes, an olive branch
Apples for the pie ( she told me to bake)
My no’s were extravagant
Her yeses like steel

Church on the sidewalk
History in the remaking
A sliver of time which doesn’t make sense
Extravagant generosity of a stranger
Left me forever changed

She wore frailty as a badge of her living
My life of never-needing, never-wanting
Rose up like a geyser of guilt
Oh how rich the gift of a giver who has little

Blessed are the poor
Extravagance is a turnip the size of her heart

I walk with a limp, burdened by a heavy load
Shame of a hoarder
Heavy-ladened by the richness of
The gift
Restless
In search of the needy
Schooled on the side of the road by the one who
Knew
She the Samaritan
I, the ditch dweller

Apples woven, again
Into a story of love

The Gift Of Words – Guest Post: Charity Singleton Craig

wpid-20141127_112830.jpg

Charity Singleton Craig has been and continues to be a gift to me and to my life as a writer. What joy and delight to discover her words here include a reference to an online workshop (which she lead with Ann Kroeker. Those twelve women and twelve weeks significantly impacted my writing life. Welcome my friend, Charity. She is a jewel. And so are her words and her newly published book (order it on Amazon for the writer friends in your life.)

++++++++++++++

As I held a copy of On Being A Writer in my hands for the first time, I thought about all the years of hard work that culminated in this book. The stories told, the lessons learned, even the words on the page: these were born out of struggle and perserverance. Books aren’t born easily, I’ve learned. Just as lives aren’t lived easily, either.

But as I ran my fingers over the smooth cover and flipped through the tight, crisp pages my prevailing thought turned on this one word: gratitude. On Being A Writer is a gift.

Not in the logistical sense, of course. This book began with a contract and has become a commodity, something you can buy on Amazon, a product we sell at events. Publishers, editors, printers, bookstores, authors: we will all recognize some small profit from these words on the page.

But the process of seeing an idea come to life, the investment of friends and colleagues nurturing a project that began with a “what if?” in an email: that is a gift.

The twelve women in twelve weeks who workshopped together over the book’s central themes and in the process helped form it: that is a gift.

The excitement of family and friends, readers and colleagues celebrating the launch of this singular book into a world already full of ideas: that is a gift.

Working with a co-author whose experience and perspective turned vague ideas into specific stories with practical application for readers: that is a gift.

The support of a husband who joined his story to my story that ended up as our story on the printed page: that is a gift.

The remarkable thing about this book, however, is that the gift didn’t end at publication. When people buy the book and read it, that is a gift, too, of course. But even the conversations that result from talking with people about their writing lives, from engaging writers of all levels about a life of words, that, too, is the gift this book keeps on giving, even if the transaction is less financial and more relational.

As we enter the gift-giving season, what gifts of words can you give? How can your words become the gift that keeps on giving?

When you pay your restaurant bill, leave a big tip and write a big compliment right on the check.

When you head to a holiday party, wrap a note of appreciation around that bottle of wine you present to the hostess.

When you check off your children’s wish list, write your own Christmas list of the hopes you wish for them.

When you mail out your Christmas cards, write blessings and poems and knock knock jokes along with your name.

And when you are shopping for something to wrap and place under the tree, think books, magazine and newspaper subscriptions, and bookstore gift cards.

Because though words can hurt and maim and paralyze, words can also bring healing and hope and life. And I want my words – the ones spoken as well as the ones written – to be a gift to those who hear and read.

+++++

wpid-wp-1418042800191.png

Charity Singleton Craig is a writer, bringing words to life through essays, stories, blog posts, and books. She is the coauthor of On Being A Writer  (T.S. Poetry Press, October 2014), and she has contributed essays to three books, including Letters to Me: Conversations with a Younger Self. She is regularly published at various venues, including The Curator, where she is a staff writer; The High Calling, where she is a content and copy editor; and TweetSpeak Poetry, where she is a contributing writrs. She lives with her husband and three step-sons in central Indiana. You can find her online at charitysingletoncraig.com, on Twitter @charityscraig and on Facebook.

++++++++++

Joining Laura today.

Sunday Poetry – Through My Lens In Prose

If you are here every now and then, or have ever visited my space  here, or perhaps read my page with a bio. Back  when I had a page with a bio, and not an underconstruction about the writer or  author page, well you’d know the ratio of poetry to prose. ( I have an aversion to bios and struggle to write them.)

For a longish while the ratio has been heavy on  poetry.

wpid-IMG_20140203_110600.jpg

But I find that I  am moving into a period of prose.

Did you leave? Or did you return? I find that humor helps calm the beating heart. And  helps to hold back the flood of tears. Because I come writing today with an overflowing heart. One filled with raw emotion. Maybe even writing about poetry makes me feel vulnerable and exposed. That is different, right, from writing poetry. Right?

Sundays always seem filled with poetry. Maybe it is there Monday through Saturday but the eyes can’t see. Or maybe the holiness of Sunday causes the soul to feel ever single poetic thing. Maybe Sunday created by Creator God to be an eyes wide open to beauty day.

I just know that  yesterday there was an abundance in every turn and fold, step and dash. And I think hard these days of why poetry. For me. In my life. Why is there a passion in me to write it and find it. To unearth it and not miss it. To seek it out and name all that seems poetic in my days.

Because there are those days I truly wonder why. Wrestle hard. Question long. Think deep. And they are more frequent, raising  their heads and shining light, looking for an answer.My wandering and weird journey to poetry continues in tandem with a questioning spirit. Why  do I  feel fire in my belly to write it and explore the poetry of everything. It would be rhetorical to ask, so for now I am living into the call to write and earnestly hope that my art blesses.

wpid-IMG_20140202_173932.jpg

There was poetry for the uncovering everywhere in my yesterday. And while some I captured with my camera lens, some I simply cupped my hands and caught there in the moment, drinking from the vessel of the day. When I see how alive poetry causes me to be, I question less the draw to it. For if God unveiled poetry as a gift for my receiving, then I say thank you, truly and turn it back, release it out and beyond myself.

I can question and create in the same breath. He makes room for both. This is the Grace shown to the artist. And in the revealing of each small beautiful poetic offering in my days, I feel more like one who is undeserving. So much beauty and nuance. Lilting and singing. Swaying and flowing. Wooing and whispering. Calling to come see. To taste. And savor.

In life’s poetry.

wpid-IMG_20140202_174259.jpg

Each verse of scripture read by our Vicar carried me off and out of church on the wings of words. Yesterday. Lost in the lines of the living Word.

Browns and creams, smoothed by years of refining salt and sand, held my gaze for minutes and more. And I simply was stuck in a beauty pause carried in from the sea. Gifts my husband brought home. Porcelain-like. Perfect. Deposits from wave on wave of glory. Now sitting in my home. A reminder of love and beauty.

At dusk, the dolphin danced on the calm waters of Jeremy Creek and I was there in the moment. Because I answered the whisper to go stand by the water at the just right time.  Dipping up, breaking the water, his stage. And I on the banks alone. Breathing in poetry.

I rested my head on my husbands shoulder, smelling the salt the aroma of him whom I love. And  lost my breath. He had captured with his own lens, the swan preening, like a marble sculpture, frozen in time. And the mink stuck in the crab trap. But oh the story of its release told in his soothing voice. And the Oyster Catcher. The oysters and the sea.

And as I tell, I tell myself. It is a gift.

This life. This poetry.

wpid-IMG_20140202_165512.jpg

On Mondays I love to join my friend Laura Boggess. I am there today with other writers. Come visit?