Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Coming Storm



Sometimes the storm, it's just coming.
No matter what you do.
And you can see it coming.
The skies darkening. 
The storm clouds gathering.
The change in the winds.
And you can feel it coming.
In your knees.
In your gut.
A twitch that won't go away, deep down inside.
It's like depression.
When you can see all the signs.
When you can literally feel it closing around you.
And you still can't do a damned thing about it.
And then, it is upon you.
The darkness crackles and burns.
The skies open up, releasing a pounding cold soaking rain.
The winds roar around and through you.
Then. Quiet?
The clouds fall away.
A ray of sunshine tentatively peaks.
Then another.
You unfurl from your protective crouch.
And stretch out your arms to the sky.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

It Happened.

It was my fault. 

I shouldn't have smiled that way.

But if I just don't talk about it, I can make it not be true.

* * * 

It's just. 
I can't stop thinking about it.

The teapot is whistling. My mind wanders. And there he is again.

I feel him. Pressing against me. Testing then advancing. 

I close my eyes. I wish myself away from there.

* * * 

It's just. 
I can't stop thinking about it.

On the subway. I feel someone's hand brush against me and jump sky high.

But it was nothing. Except there I am again. 

In the small room. My room. Bright pink. My dolls hiding scared in the corner.

* * * 

It's a good thing I'm strong now. 

I can store away the bad stuff into porcelain container. Seal it up tight.

I can keep him away from me now.

If I just don't talk about it, I can make it not be true.

It's just. 
I can't stop thinking about it.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Gerunding While Poeming

"Do you mind my asking you?

              I have a writing question.

              It's about the parts of speech."

"In the composing of a poem, what of I-N-G'ing the verb? You know, do you ever noun-ify it?

"Well. The truth is, it's hard to get away with a gerund," he said, with a tinge of wistfulness.

He looked up and paused. Imparting this small teaching made him smile.

Was this the issuing of a challenge? Or a warning?

But my questioning found no mark. I didn't speak it.

I just dutifully recorded his comment, my day's workshopping now complete.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Advice To Young Writers by Andrew Solomon in The New Yorker

"We have equal things to teach each other. Life is most transfixing when you are awake to diversity, not only of ethnicity, ability, gender, belief, and sexuality but also of age and experience. The worst mistake anyone can make is to perceive anyone else as lesser. The deeper you look into other souls—and writing is primarily an exercise in doing just that—the clearer people’s inherent dignity becomes…

Despite every advancement, language remains the defining nexus of our humanity; it is where our knowledge and hope lie. It is the precondition of human tenderness, mightier than the sword but also infinitely more subtle and ultimately more urgent. Remember that writing things down makes them real; that it is nearly impossible to hate anyone whose story you know; and, most of all, that even in our post-postmodern era, writing has a moral purpose. With twenty-six shapes arranged in varying patterns, we can tell every story known to mankind, and make up all the new ones—indeed, we can do so in most of the world’s known tongues. If you can give language to experiences previously starved for it, you can make the world a better place." 

- Andrew Solomon, Advice For Young Writers


Advice To Young Writers by Andrew Solomon in The New Yorker

"We have equal things to teach each other. Life is most transfixing when you are awake to diversity, not only of ethnicity, ability, gender, belief, and sexuality but also of age and experience. The worst mistake anyone can make is to perceive anyone else as lesser. The deeper you look into other souls—and writing is primarily an exercise in doing just that—the clearer people’s inherent dignity becomes." 

- Andrew Solomon, Advice For Young Writers


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Writing Workshop: Writing Prompt --> "She wore a raspberry beret, the kind you find at a second-hand store."

She walked into the vintage record store, behind a gaggle of chatty teenage girls.



She stood out in her aloneness, but also in her dress.



Her aloneness, because while the others all seemed to meld together into one organism, she was calmly set part.


Her dress, because she wore a raspberry beret, the kind you find at a second-hand store.


Oh yes. This one was different.  A challenge.


She wasn't there for the latest Pop Charts teenybopper.  It would not be Arianna Grande or Katy Perry for her.  No.  She seemed more . . . like . . . jazzy. Something jazz.  But what, I thought, tracking her as she fingered through a stack of CDs a few rows from the counter.

Something old school?  Ella or Billie? 


I like to say that I can tell these things right off the bat when I eye someone coming into Permanent Records. That it's my gift.  That may be overstating it a little bit, but the truth is I'm pretty good at it.  This game of predicting what record each customer is going to walk out with. 


Divining just what it is people are searching for, what they're pining for.  Musically.  You have to look right into their soul.


She walked back towards one of the other girls, said something, and smiled.  But it was a little bit of a sad smile.


Maybe not jazz.  But definitely something older than her years. 


Something classic.  Something Gravelly.  That was clear.  Early Dylan?


Yes!  Totally. That's it.  When it comes to me, when I know, it's like a tongue fitting into a groove. Snug certainty.  Bob Dylan. 


("Is that your....final answer?"  Why yes. Yes it is.)


And just in the nick of time.  Because right then, Raspberry Beret was standing in front of me ready to check-out.  She handed me the record.

"Did you find everything you were looking for today?," I mumbled.  My standard line.


"Yes, thanks," she said automatically. The required customer response.


She handed me the record, and I looked down at the cover.


Selena Gomez.  Her new album. Revival.


Seriously. 


Ugh.


"This is what you came in looking for?"


"Totally. Like, I love her.  I follow her on Insta. She is like, my life."


"Right.  Of course you do. Well.  OK."


"Cool hat, by the way."


"Oh.  Thank you! I thought it was super-cute.  Serena wears one just like it in her Hands To Myself video.  I had to have it."


"Right.  Thought I recognized it."


"Laters!"  And she was gone.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Fiction = Humanity

"Fiction's about what it is to be a human being." 

- David Foster Wallace

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Writing Workshop: Writing Prompt --> “aluminium siding will be it”

“‘Aluminium siding’ will be it.”

“Be what?”

“The death of us all.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

 “What I’m talking about, my friend, is the continued wanton perversion of the English language, and your leading role in it. I’m telling you. Remember when we used to say “nuclear?” No more. Now it’s “nucular.” I mean, people say “for all intensive purposes,” on television. I swear it. We are getting dumber by the day. It’s ridiculous. I mean, the word “literally” now can be used to mean “figuratively. Literally the silliest thing ever. And I do mean it literally. Under the old meaning.”

 “Christ, I meant ‘aluminum.’ Can you ease up a bit with the grammar police drama? I was just looking for your thoughts on whether to go with aluminum or vinyl on the house. Not an English lesson.”

“Irregardless, my point, nonetheless, was that it’s a slippery slope. Once you begin accepting these small shifts, they gain acceptance. It’s insidious. But that’s how it happens, you know.”

“Wait. Did you seriously just say ‘irregardless.’ That’s not even a word.”

“Yes. Well. Yes – of course – it is. Anyway, back to the point of the matter, I’d go with the vinyl.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

"I Believe..." (In The Style of Crash Davis and Neil Gaiman)

I believe in premarital sex. And in waiting until you're married.

I believe in the X Files and in vast government conspiracies to cover up alien invasions. I believe in Gillian Anderson, Mr. T, and Bryce Harper. I believe baseball should be fun and we should hold fast to old school traditions.

I believe in books being made into epic movies. And I also believe that you shouldn't make books into movies... because the book is always (always) better. 


I believe in saying inherently contradictory things in the same sentence. Or in two sentences that are right next to each other. I believe it's a literary device and I also believe it's truth. And I can believe that truth is stranger than fiction, but that fiction contains life's truths....

And I believe I forgot what I was going to say next...

Stories Are Essential and Choosing The Stories We Tell is Power

"Stories are essential. Don’t believe me? In a year where politicians traffic in anti-immigrant rhetoric, there is also a Broadway musical reminding us that a broke, orphan immigrant from the West indies built our financial system, a story that reminds us that since the beginning of the great unfinished symphony that is our American experiment, time and time again immigrants get the job done. My dear terrified graduates, you are about to enter the most uncertain and thrilling period of your lives. The stories you are about to live are the ones you will be telling your children, and grandchildren, and therapists.” 


-  Lin-Manuel Miranda (Commencement Speech at University of Pennsylvania, 2016)