Back on the Wagon

Writing Books  I have not written much nor published anything new in the last couple of weeks. I have been consumed by work and worry. I should instead be happy, enjoying my life and of course writing. I have “fallen off the wagon” of writing daily. How do I get back on that wagon?

A writer friend of mine, that I also work with, stopped by my office the other day and gave me a nudge. Thank you Todd!!

My dad called the other day and also gave me a poke! Thank you Dad!

I have gotten some of my favorite writers advise books out and am getting inspired.

I am swinging my leg back up on that wagon tonight, look for something new this weekend!

How do you reignite your passion when the flame has flickered?

 

 

 

Inspiration Interrupted

Inspiration interrupted by the work that I must do.

My imagination dashed and now I’m in a stew.

Creativity quashed before the takeoff of its flight.

Will I ever get time to write or is a job my continued plight?

I try to steal away for a minute, an hour or a day;

but working to earn money is always in my way.

Am I too self-indulgent and devoted to my own cause?

If I don’t look out for myself, who will, Rudolph and Santa Claus?

At times no energy, no hope, nor motivation.

I just exist with a hatred of my current vocation.

I need some time to write without interruption.

A little time is all I ask for my sanity’s salvation.

 

 

Who is Charles Wright?

Did you know a new Poet Laureate was just name by the Library of Congress?

What is a poet laureate? Wikipedia describes the United States Library of Congress Poet Laureate, formerly the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress duties and remuneration;

“Laureates receive a US$35,000 stipend and are given the responsibility of overseeing an ongoing series of poetry readings and lectures at the library, and a charge to promote poetry. No other duties are specified, and laureates are not required to compose for government events or in praise of government officials. However, after the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001, the then Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, was asked to write a poem to be read in front of a special joint session of Congress. Collins wrote “The Names” which he read on September 6, 2002, which is available in streaming audio and video..<..> When the $35,000 stipend was instituted, the amount was quite large and was intended to allow the poet laureate to abandon worries about earning a living and devote his or her time entirely to writing poetry. That amount has remained the same, so the intent of making it a nice living for a poet is no longer being fulfilled. Now it functions as a bonus for a poet who usually is teaching at a university and earns the bulk of his or her living that way.”

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Charles Wright (Photo from the Poetry Foundation website)

The newly minted American Poet Laureate is Charles Wright from the state of Tennessee. He and previous laureates are described in a New York Times article;

“Mr. Wright, who was born in Pickwick Dam, Tenn., not far from the Civil War battlefield at Shiloh, succeeds another Southerner, Natasha Trethewey. But Mr. Wright’s work — oblique meditations on “language, landscape and the idea of God,” as he once summed up his themes — could not be more different from Ms. Trethewey’s evocations of the forgotten African-American lives, or from the Whitmanesque poems about working-class Detroit by the previous laureate, Philip Levine.”

“Mr. Wright, 78, a retired professor at the University of Virginia, has already won just about every other honor in the poetry world, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Bollingen Prize and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.”

Until now I’ve never read Mr. Wright’s poetry nor to be honest heard of his work, which given his prolific writing and obvious success is sad. But now that I am writing a few poems and rhymes I feel compelled to seek some of his writing out along with that of the previous poet laureate’s. I like that our government is supporting this type of artist, even if it is very modestly in this age of big paychecks. I wish him luck and hope that he inspires a few more poets to start on their writing path.

Do you have a favorite poet?

The Fear Effect

Fear is a familiar friend,

it sucks my life without end.

Fear of what I don’t always know,

it’s always there, a common foe.

 

As I write these words I have my doubts.

Don’t write, it’s crap. Will fear win out?

Is fear my excuse or why I fail

or why I don’t make the attempt and chase my tail?

 

Everyone gets scared at times, of this I’m fairly certain,

but the ones who win the game are those who show fear a hurtin!

 

Awhile back I wrote a post about my Nagging Omission with my husband. Well recently I pulled off that bandage, faced my fear and went all in with a quick rip. First I showed my blog to my husband, letting him read several of the stories. And then I emailed most of my family about my writing and gave them a link to my site.

The good news is my world did not crash in, my husband didn’t ask for a divorce and now knows I do not have an internet lover. I haven’t had any irate calls from family or friends, yet. My husband has shown a tentative curiosity about what I’ve been writing and said he admired my ability to express myself and tell a story, but at first didn’t realize that my blog was open to anyone to see. That part I don’t think he is completely comfortable with and has some fears of his own that we will have to work through.

The only other person to comment about my blog has been my dad(technically my step-dad to those who read my blog and are confused) and he commented on a few of the posts and recited a couple of the poems he has written that are very good. He has one about fishing that is amazing and he has sold some copies of it, but he recited two others I didn’t remember. Maybe we will write a father-daughter poetry book some day.

But now that my husband and my family are aware of this blog and some of my writing; I find that a different type of fear is at work now; I am self-censoring and self-conscience about what I am writing.  Because if there are any people I “people-please” for its these people.  This is going to be tough!

Do you share your writing with your friends and family? Is there anything you keep just for your self for just this reason?

 

Self Criticism and Some Instructions on Life

I recently started reading Anne Lamott’s, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life and coincidentally one of my favorite blogs, BrainPickings posted an article, The Definitive Manifesto for Handling Haters: Anne Lamott on Priorities and How We Keep Ourselves Small by People-Pleasing. The article calls out items from the book and some commentary from Ms. Lamott’s Facebook page.

What makes Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (public library) so timelessly rewarding and one of the greatest books on writing of all time is that besides her wisdom on the craft, Lamott extends enormous sensitivity to and consolation for the general pathologies of the human condition — our insecurities, our social anxieties, our inner turmoils. Among her most powerful and memorable meditations in the book is that on how our perfectionism kills the creative spirit — something she revisited recently in a short essay on her Facebook page, spurred by a surge in negative comments and vicious troll attacks.

I just finished reading the chapter on “Perfectionism” and I certainly recognized my self as I read those pages. My perfectionism has kept me from doing and trying so many things in my life; if I don’t think I can do something well or know how it works ahead of time I just don’t attempt it. I hate that about myself and want to jump in and try things that I never have and experience things that I have been too driven by the perfectionist tendencies; worrying about making mistakes, failing, looking foolish and so on, to get out there and just do them.

And another quote the article pulled from Ms. Lamott’s Facebook Page really struck this people pleaser.

 “Do you mind even a little that you are still addicted to people-pleasing, and are still putting everyone else’s needs and laundry and career ahead of your creative, spiritual life? Giving all your life force away, to “help” and impress. Well, your help is not helpful, and falls short.

People pleasing and perfectionism go hand-in-hand and I know began at an early age for me. As the first-born your every moment is watched, recorded, critiqued, praised or scorned and corrected.  There is a little note in my baby book (see below) written by my mother that I came across awhile ago and this illustrates nicely how early my perfectionism and self criticisms started.

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Self criticism started early.

Since my mother’s last entry in the book was around age three or just when I turned 4 after my brother was born; this “amusing saying” likely occurred around age 3. I spilled my coffee and milk (more on why my mother was giving a three-year old coffee in another post) and said to my self; “Christ sakes Shari” (more salty language). And I have certainly improved over the last 40 years, never really giving myself a break on anything.

I am going to get that “shitty first draft written“, keep writing and posting here and not let those voices in my head that are telling me I’m not good enough win.

I plan on releasing my copy of “Bird by Bird” on BookCrossing when I am finished, because I’m sure there is another aspiring writer or perfectionist that could use the help.

Do you suffer from perfectionist tendencies?

 

 

The Unchosen Companions

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Fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers,

the unchosen companions not available to others.

Love and laughter, disappointment and tears,

still driving you nuts after all these years.

 

They know us at our worst and at our best,

and so often put our patience to the test.

Sometimes we hate, yell and can’t relate,

and always regret that wretched date.

 

The for better or worse choice was mine,

still it came with a judgment and a diatribe.

We all can get lost in lovers, jobs and friends,

but with luck and love they will be there at the end.

 

Shared memories and momentous fights,

often taken for granted and at times a blight.

Affections tested and a trust that can not abate,

a bond that if not tended sometimes breaks.

 

Quickly forgiven, but never forgotten,

we gode and complain and sometimes are rotten.

We defend with a vengeance and chide and deride,

those unchosen companions on lifes crazy ride.

 

A Wasted Day, What Can I Say

A wasted day, what can I say,

to be productive was not my way.

A rest, a stop, a nap, a talk,

a glance at the clock, but no where to walk.

 

A wasted day, what can I say,

with no energy, no not even to play.

A drift to the kitchen for a cup of tea

and a glance out the window to see.

 

A wasted day, what can I say,

I’m ready to go, but just want to stay.

Up, then down, and around and around,

to and fro and no where to go.

 

A wasted day, what can I say,

I am feeling so sad, but wish to be gay.

A sigh, a slump and a shrug,

but still there’s no one to hug.

 

A wasted day, what can I say,

my mood it just can’t be swayed.

But if I’m lucky, tomorrow will come

and my wasted day will be all done.