What is Precious, is Never to Forget.

I’ve finally gotten a structure figured out for this blog:

On Mondays, I’ll be posting something that I find inspiring, whether as a writer, an artist, or a Carpe Annumer. Yes, that is a thing now. I just made it a thing.

On Wednesdays, I will post something pertaining to my learning curve as a writer.

On Fridays, as I mentioned in the last post, I will post an excerpt from my writing output of the week.

So, without further ado, I present to you this weeks inspiration!


The Truly Great

BY STEPHEN SPENDER

I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul’s history
Through corridors of light, where the hours are suns,
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the Spirit, clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the Spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.
What is precious, is never to forget
The essential delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth.
Never to deny its pleasure in the morning simple light
Nor its grave evening demand for love.
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog, the flowering of the spirit.
Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields,
See how these names are fêted by the waving grass
And by the streamers of white cloud
And whispers of wind in the listening sky.
The names of those who in their lives fought for life,
Who wore at their hearts the fire’s centre.
Born of the sun, they travelled a short while toward the sun
And left the vivid air signed with their honour.

And if that isn’t inspiring, I don’t know what is.

Any thoughts? I’d love to hear them!
Update: Wow. There are supposed to be stanza breaks, but they don’t show. Apologies. The breaks should come after “The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms” and “With noise and fog, the flowering of the spirit.”

The Existence of Kites and Souls.

I have decided that I will share a portion of each week’s writing on Fridays, in order to spur me on to actually write something worth reading. Well, I suppose you readers will be the judge of what is worth reading in the end, but that’s another whole kettle of fish.

So this is a little piece that I wrote as I sat halfway down the stairs to the beach yesterday morning, in all its unedited glory. The prompt for the day was to write a piece in which three objects exist at the beginning and only one at the end. Keep in mind that I had barely slept the night before, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. I actually found my hand writing words that I never intended, and had nothing to do with the subject, such as writing “foe” when I meant “dwelling place.” Bizarre the way our minds (mal)function, isn’t it?

So anyway, here we go:


Kite in the mist.

I thought I had a photo of the kite that inspired this piece. Apparently I don’t. You’ll have to make due with this one for a while. 🙂

A boy flies his kite at the edge of the ocean. The wind pulls the kite string out of his hand and tosses the kite end over end until a tree catches it and holds it fast, tattering the sails and snarling the string. The boy will go home and say that the kite is gone.

Someday, too, the boy will be gone. Maybe he will grow old and die in his sleep. Maybe he will grow up, cut his shaggy hair, and put on a uniform, only to be tossed end over end in tatters when he takes a false step. Maybe as he watches his kite fly away from him, a rogue wave will catch him and pull him out to sea.

Then you might say only the ocean remains. Only the ocean, with its continuous waves and infinite horizon, comes to no end.

Yet, does anything truly cease to exist? The boy may say his kite is gone, but in reality it still hangs from the tree. The wind batters it, and the sun and rain leach most of the color, but it is still the same kite, only in a different state.

When the boy dies, will he cease to exist? His body will be eaten by worms or beasts, will leach into the soil, the water, and the air, but the molecules of him will still be there. His soul will depart, but only to find its eternal and irrevocable dwelling place. He will not be gone, any more than his kite is gone. He will only be out of reach, and in a different state.

And so it is with all things.


Again, I was half asleep when I wrote this. At least half asleep. I haven’t edited it, and I don’t believe it is profound. I just thought it was an interesting thing to think about.

I Brought my Muse on Vacation.

And boy, is she loving it! (Actually, I’m not sure my muse is a she… muses shouldn’t be limited by gender in this enlightened age, now should they? I bet my muse is a Shakespeare-quoting British Hottie–ahem!–Gentleman.)

Ocean and Trees

Anyways, he/she is obviously fond of these surroundings, because the ideas are seriously flowing.

 

The inspiration has come from all sorts of random places today. I decided to write about an awkward family vacation, because, awkward or otherwise, I’m on vacation right now with my parents and my older brother, and that’s always good food for conflict.

Whenever I’m standing at the edge of the ocean, I get this wild urge to run and dive and swim out as far as I can, and hang the consequences. I don’t do it, of course, because this is after all the ocean, and I can barely dog paddle. But I thought that that would make a nice starting point.

From there, I got out my trusty little Pocket Muse.

Pocket Muse

This is an absolutely beautiful little book that I picked up about a month ago, which is filled with beautiful photos, quotes, prompts, and pep talks. This time, I flipped it open at random, and the prompt was to use a figurative phrase as the basis of whatever I would write. I Googled common figurative phrases, and found “to take the bit in one’s teeth.”

I immediately heard an overly friendly middle-aged man saying “Yes sir, she really knows how to take the bit in her teeth,” to an older couple who are not really interested.

Kaboom.

Story idea.

Isn’t it interesting how so many separate little instances, situations, and feelings can come together into one work of art, whatever it may be? I guess that’s why it is so important to be an observer of your own life. To let everything in, to revel in the happenings, be they big or small, exiting or mundane, painful or exhilarating.

As Derek Walcott says, “Feast on your life.”

The Beauty of All Literature.

That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.

— F. Scott Fitzgerald

I discovered this quote on good old Tumblr (You can find me here, if you’re interested), and I couldn’t restrain myself from whisper-shouting, “YES!!!”

All of us, at some point in our lives, have felt disconnected. Like there was nobody out there who could understand our thoughts, our actions, our inner lives… and there was absolutely no way we could verbalize them. And then along would come a book, be it a novel, a memoir, a biography, or even a scientific journal, that reached out and grabbed us by the shoulder, looked into our eyes, and said, “You’re not alone.”

For me, Mark Haddon’s incredible novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time does it every time. Not because I struggle with autism, or even with a broken family, but simply because it is about a human triumphing over circumstances they have difficulty understanding, and then simply getting on with life, because that’s what you have to do.

Another author that encourages me in this way is P.G. Wodehouse, because he saw the silliness of the world, and delighted in it.

It makes me so grateful to the authors who struggled to put their own longings and loneliness into words, or were observant enough to translate them for other people.

Maybe that is part of the reason why we write. To put into words the things that are so hard to express. To reach out to another person, even hundreds of years after our time, and find a connection with them.

What books, authors, or even songs or movies, have made you feel like you weren’t alone?

Yulin “Festival” of Brutality.

Dogs in a cage

These dogs are either farmed for their meat, or are family pets that were stolen for the festival.

I know this has nothing to do with writing, but it’s a subject that is very nearly tearing my heart out, and I would like to spread the word:

On the 21st of June, China will begin celebrating the Yulin Dog Meat Eating Festival. While that in and of itself is rather horrible, the brutality and barbarism goes far beyond this…

Dog burned alive

It is believed that the more pain and fear the dog experiences, the better the meat will taste, due to the amount of adrenaline surging through their bodies.

Dog boiled alive.

These dogs are being boiled alive. Can we as humans allow this to go on?

To celebrate this “Festival,” thousands of dogs will be beaten to death, or skinned, boiled, or burned alive.

If you believe that this kind of “Festival” has no place in humanity, please add your voice to this petition.

I apologize if anybody found this post disturbing, but honestly, you SHOULD be disturbed. How can we allow this kind of inhumanity to continue?

*All of the images in this post are from Google. Just do a quick search, go ahead. I didn’t even include some of the worst photos.

A Change of Scene.

 

The writing has not been going well this week. I tried to handle my short-circuiting brain by barricading myself in my room, saying, “You can’t do anything fun until your characters do something interesting.”

I ended up with two wasted days, and a lot of wasted paper.

Today I said, “Well, heck, I’m doing awful work anyway, might as well be doing it somewhere nice.”

So I took my notebook down to the lake. (A quick, two-block walk from my house, lucky, lucky me!)

IMG_20150527_135858[1]

This was my desk today.

Guess what? I got three pages of halfway decent material, because I decided to take my characters out on a lake as well. Sometimes all it takes to get your brain functioning again is a change of scene.

Have you invisible Blogland people ever benefited from a change of scene? I want to hear your story!

Carpe Annum.

On May 25th, I turned twenty-four years old.

I also got myself a motto for the year: Carpe Annum. If you have never watched Dead Poet’s Society, there is something wrong with you. Go watch it.

What? Did I just type that? I meant to type, If you have never watched Dead Poet’s Society, I’m riffing off the famous catchphrase, “Carpe Diem,” or “Seize the Day.” Only my version means “Seize the Year.”

So why did I choose this to be my motto for the year? Quite simply, I realized that next year I will hit the quarter-century mark, and I don’t want to be in the same place then as I am now. I want to be able to say that I’ve done something. I want to make this a year where I don’t let opportunities slip by.

I suppose it all started at the end of last October, when (late at night) I decided, “What the heck, I’m gonna do NaNoWriMo this year. Probably won’t make it past the first week, but I’m gonna give it a go.”

I won it. I figured out, by golly, I could be a writer.

Beginning early in January, I decided that I would  be a writer.

And at the beginning of May, I declared myself publicly to BE a writer.

Okay, I declared it to the lady who was cutting my hair. I’m sure she was just being polite, and thinking more about my strands than my words, and had no idea that my heart rate went through the roof and I got little tingles in my wrists as I said it. But it was a big deal to me.

And ever since then, I’ve felt God grinning, and saying “Go for it. I’ve got your back.”

He’s been telling me He thinks my motto is cool in so many different ways, from verses in my personal Bible study times, to people speaking to me (both friends and strangers), to the things I read, and the music I hear.

This bit of loveliness is one of the ways:

I love that.

The biggest way I’ve stepped out so far is to actually submit one of my short pieces of fiction to a new writer’s contest. I can’t wait to receive my very first rejection letter. Really, truly. Because the mark of a real writer is getting rejected, right? I mean, you can’t get rejected until you’ve put yourself out there, can you?

Of course, I wouldn’t be disappointed if I won, either.

What is one way that you’ve Seized the Year? I’d love to hear about it. Leave me a comment, or post in your own blog and tag me somehow. 

Hello.

My name is Elisabeth, and I’m currently becoming a writer. I will now extend my hand in a socially inept manner through cyberspace, because I’m the type of person who never figured out that shaking hands just isn’t cool, and people of my generation simply don’t do it anymore.

I’m starting this blog because I’ve heard that it’s good for writers to have a blog, but also because I’ve always wanted to start one, and never found a good excuse. So I’m excited. Also, it’s 10:27 at night, and I’m exhausted, which is when I’m always at my most brave. Or perhaps I’m simply beyond caring. Either way, I’ve discovered that nighttime is a great time to jump off cliffs.

Having never blogged before, I don’t really know how this will end up, but at the moment my loose plan is to write weekly posts about my writer’s learning curve, and throw in some random things that I find inspiring, whether they be books, songs, poems, or gloriously artsy music videos.

Sound good? Okay.