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Archive for the ‘Poetry and Writing’ Category

I moved into a new house. One bedroom by the sea. I thought I would feel free. I don’t. Every night when I get home, it’s just me. I thought I would like that. I don’t. There is no one to bug me, but no one to talk to me either. Maybe being bugged is the price we pay for not being alone. Sometimes I just want someone to listen to me tell them some boring office story from out of the quiet measured chaos of my day, want someone to share with me their thoughts on what we should have for tea. Sometimes I just want someone to bug me, but instead I just listen to the sea. The sea moves in a regular, unrelenting rhythm, it pays no heed and will not be interrupted. Sometimes (not often) I turn on the TV. Sometimes I sing.

I work in an office as a typist. Easy, flexible, hassle free. Sometimes I want someone to come and hassle me. My left wrist gets sore. Doctors drone their intelligence and boredom into my ear. I think some of them care – it’s hard to tell. I don’t. I just type. My eyes glaze over but my fingers keep moving. Autopilot. If a world exists, it’s contained within the four black corners of my computer screen. Tab, control-v, control-c, enter, type. I know all the shortcuts. No road less travelled for me. I thought I would feel free. I don’t.

I meditate. I try to find God. I pay good money for someone to teach me yoga. Maybe somewhere, between a bended knee and arched back, I will find God there waiting for me. I wonder if he lives in the sea, so I sit and watch it. I feel the smooth rounded wood of prayer beads beneath my fingers – japa mala – I speak to a foreign god. Om namah Shivaya – my fingers are already searching out the next bead, Shiva becomes a habit. I watch my thoughts and mostly they’re wondering if we’re done yet. I read books in solitude and write a few pretty words, and feel that I know myself. I interact with others and find myself in conversation, and I wonder who this person is that wears my body like a tight jacket and uses my mouth around her speech.

My soul aches for communion, my skin for touch, my life for meaning and purpose. I dwell within a solitude of choice and long to grow beyond it. I have lived a seeking life. I have craved a spiritual life. I have sought after passion as if it were a pair of lost keys. I have spent so many years with half a foot in quicksand, knowing that just a small wriggle and !PLOP! I would be free, have longed for a helping hand, someone to help me see, have known that the strength to shift would have to come from me.

The only thing I can think to do is something I haven’t done before. I’ve lived as a rider on a rotating carousel, lamenting at each repetition of the circle, not knowing how to jump free. I am jumping now – but really, I know not whether I will land on the grass or just the next white horse ahead of me, galloping forever after my own tail. I am jumping now because it’s the only thing I can think of to do – jumping off the balcony.

I am basically turning my life inside out, like looking at the negative of a photo you are tired of, and realizing that it was the negative you had been holding the whole time and missing the clarity of colour and shape in the true photograph. I live in New Zealand, so I am moving to the opposite hemisphere on the opposite side of the world – to England. I work as a typist, earn good money and talk to no one all day – so I am going to work in a pub, earn minimum wage, and fill my day with people and talking. I live an easy life in a familiar city – so I am moving to somewhere I have never been to do something I have never done. I’m learning to look at life sideways.

I hope that by living a life in opposite, I will somehow see a way to move forward into the space between, that secret place between the extremes – the true life, the life undefined and yet the very definition of life, the life where all the contradictions of my self can reconcile and live side by side.

I hope, I want, I’m learning to… I catch myself looking for life, living it all the while in the looking and yet oblivious, and every time hoping that in the next step, the next choice, the next version or action or minute, I will be able to dwell as fully in the life of right now as I do in the life of later. I ache for connection as if I weren’t already connected, I run after life as if I weren’t already living it, I long for freedom as if I weren’t already free. I try to learn how to be me, as if there were anything else I have ever been or could ever possibly be. I want to fly like a butterfly on the wind, I want to nest like a bird in a tall tree, I want to swim like a fish in the deep ocean, I want to be surrounded by the life that lives within me until the borders drawn in skin begin to blur.

But seeing as I’m here, on this Earth, in this body, held by gravity, then I intend to experience every inch of it, nosy out all the nooks and crannies this life and this world have to offer, to smell and taste and touch and hear and see all that this earth can assault my senses with… and to feel – oh yes, of all things, to feel! – to feel all there possibly is to feel, without judgment, filling myself up with love and carving myself out with pain, that there may be more room for love to fill. Oh, to live and love and die and feel and cry and drink tea – if there is any purpose beyond this, may I learn to live with the fact of its mystery and not look beyond the soft warm zing of lips on scalding tea.

Cup of Tea by ~sibuki on deviantART

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Recently, I came across a post written by a fellow blogger who I have never met before, and yet through her writing I often find myself expressed (take this post, for example, on being like a river, which describes me and my life better than I think even I could).  In this new post, the author discusses how she is going through a process of rereading all her old blog posts, sorting through them, reworking and discarding.  Of the pieces she has come across which she arguably defines as “crap”, she says:

The writing served a purpose, an outlet, a therapeutic way of finding linearity in the mindfield of living out loud.

This post made me feel better about my own writing and my own blogging process.  I have always lived my life out loud, but how many times have I reworked or culled old blog posts, trying to make it tidier, more polished – to make my life seem more polished, less chaotic, trying to cull out all the bits that don’t make sense to the outside world, all the rants and details and enthusatic rambles that I reneg on the day later.

But when I read of this author doing the same thing, my first thought was – don’t do it!  Don’t edit it, don’t censor your life – leave it raw, leave it imperfect.  I like it raw and imperfect – because I am raw and imperfect!  Reading it makes me feel like it’s ok to be who I am.  Inconsistent, philosophical, chaotic, spiritual, enthusastic, thoughtful, lost and yet touched by the mystery.

So often I don’t write a post on here for weeks – months! – because I want it to be perfect, perfectly structured and worded, with perfect content.  I want to wait until I have something poignant to say, or until my life makes sense and I have something whole and complete to offer, something tidy and linear.  Well, yet again I realise that the beauty is rather in the imperfection.  Life is not whole and complete and tidy.  Life is raw and imperfect.  And that is what is so amazing, so exciting, so beautiful about it.  Life is real, it is not a story or a dress rehearsal.  We make it up as we go along and we stumble and we fumble, but it is all its own form of perfection in a way, and it is all fabulous.

So I will continue to live my life out loud, unashamedly.  Sometimes my life doesn’t make sense to anyone else – often, in fact.  That’s ok.  I love it!  I love my ecclectic, heartfelt quirkiness.  And maybe, just maybe, by letting my own light shine uncensored and unblinkered, I will give someone else the courage to bravely shine their own out into the world without fear.

If I can pay that forward, then maybe my crazy little place in life makes some kind of sense after all.

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds…Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said to-day.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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I want my life to be a piece of poetry.

Some times poetry is happy.  Sometimes poetry is sad or angry.

Sometimes poetry is stupid and frivoulous and funny.  Sometimes poetry is deep and poignant.

Sometimes poetry flows like a river off your tongue and through your soul.  Sometimes poetry is choppy, out of rhythm, staccato, syncopated.

Sometimes poetry is about love and passion.  Sometimes poetry is about hate.  And passion.

Sometimes poetry is happy and sometimes it’s not.

But it is always beautiful.

I want my life to be a piece of poetry, and yet but a stanza in the soul of the world.

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There is a kind of post-modern irony in writing a blog post about blogging.

After having a little experiment with various forms, I have moved my whole blog network over to WordPress.  I have also merged my new Yes blog with a lot of my old posts from Emily’s Quest.

Because, surely, to embrace the present, is also to embrace all the parts of your past that made you who you currently are.  After all, a huge part of what I am learning is the benefit of sticking with the foundation you have already built, rather than flitting around starting one thing after another and never building something solid.

Besides, I kinda like some of my old, confused, convoluted writing 😛  It has been quite a journey and I love it all.

A couple of thoughts on blog platforms: I had a hard time deciding between Blogger and WordPress.  Blogger kind of feels more friendly and welcoming to look at.  It also has quite a good community aspect with the ‘following’ option.  But there is something about it that also feels more… amateurish.  In my humble opinion.

WordPress is can be a bit vast and cold and impersonal – but then it also feels more polished, and has lots of great features, a good interface and preferable usability.

Actually, it just occured to me that Blogger is kind of like the Bebo of blogs, whereas WordPress is the Facebook.

Having matured beyond a brief Bebo phase a long time ago, I think WordPress also lends a maturity that is well reflective of what I am trying to do here.

There is definitely something self-indulgent about blogging.  It’s like assuming that everyone would want to read your diary.  In fact, that’s exactly what it is for bloggers like me, who display their deepest thoughts and feelings for all and sundry.  But as I was saying to someone the other day – there is something cathartic and encouraging about knowing that your deepest thoughts and ponderings are not just falling into the black hole of Microsoft Word or a notebook you’ll probably lose in two years, but are in fact a) falling on listening ears (perhaps I should say ‘reading eyes’) who can engage with it, perhaps understand and indentify with it, perhaps even give you a different perspective on it, and b) being recorded in a more permanent form that isn’t going to slip down the back of a couch never to return or be lost forever when your harddrive dies.

Especially for those with writerly inclinations/aspirations, there is nothing more gratifying than feeling your words will be read and engaged with.

So, welcome to The World of Yes on WordPress!  I promise not all posts will be quite as geeky as this one, but thanks for letting me indulge 😛

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There are always days like these.

Days when you feel so shit you just have to revel in it.  Days when demotivation is like a cloak you curl up in, a familiar blanket, a snuggle rug.  Days when you wonder who you are and why and most importantly, how?  How how how?  How do you know, how do you find out, how do you live yourself each day and not lose yourself and still love yourself and not give yourself over to the darkness under the blanket, under the thick, warm, familiar blanket?

Days when you just have to swear out loud, SWEAR in capital letters, even if only in an e-mail, days when you are grateful to have a friend who has shit days too, who swears back, who laughs when you laugh because laughing is the only option left aside from despair and I would choose laughing any day.

Days when all you can do is wrap yourself in musical words, in the thoughts you had that other people wrote but better, in the melody of lyric and verse.  Days when all you can do is drink wine and toast to the darkening sky and be here now because later is too much to contemplate, later is in the too hard basket, later is like the dishes in the sink that you leave for tomorrow morning (when they’ll be so much muckier).

If you’re going to give yourself fully to the good days, why not give yourself fully to the shit ones?  This, too, is life.  This, too, is living.

There will always be days like these.  Today is one too.

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In Other Words

For some reason, I’m a little bit in love with this poem.  Would love your feedback.

Me, In Other Words

In other words,
an Other’s words
can show more self than
self in silence –
a thousand sepia memories fade
in face of single sequin couplet
from agéd pen of men long dead but
more alive on faded page
than I in vital flesh that finds
blood on quill and morphine rhyme
and ink in choking veins.

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Four days until that pinnacle of writing madness begins once again, that literary Everest, the writer’s marathon: NaNoWriMo.  An endearing if slightly geeky sounding little nickname for National Novel Writing Month – which is now actually an international phenomenon. 

The idea is this: you have the month of November.  You have an itching yearning to write but are somehow always blocked.  Solution: NaNoWriMo.  You must write an entire novel in the month of November – at least 50,000 words between November 1st and November 30th.  This novel can be the most utter trash anyone’s ever read or written in their entire lives.  It’s not about quality.  It’s about quantity.  Write any crap, as long as you’re writing, and writing a lot. 

50,000 words in 30 days means you need to average at least 1,667 words per day, or 12550 words per week.  Hark back to your student days and consider writing an entire undergrad essay every single day for a month.  This is a lot more fun though, because presumably your undergrad essays couldn’t include pirates, dragons, The Archangel of Doom, or whatever else your imagination cares to throw in that day.

If you’ve ever had the secret yearning to write, this is a great way to unblock your creative juices and let them flow.  It doesn’t matter if its crap and no one ever has to read it – you can just let go and write, write, write.  The website www.nanowrimo.org has an active community, where you can create a profile, update your daily word count, and connect with real live people in your city.  They even hold real life write-ins.  Picture a handful of crazed and sleep deprived wannabe writers sitting around with laptops and coffee, spurring each other on to just write that next 100 words, and then the next, and the next.  Crazy writing literary madness!

I will be partaking in my first ever NaNoWriMo this year, and it is both terrifying and exciting.  Given that I have a basic plot idea (although I don’t know how it ends) and a handful of characters with juicy secrets and private yearnings, I seem to be doing better than most participants, who dive in headfirst without the inkling of an idea.  Still, 50,000 words is a lot of words, and 30 days is not a very long time…

Stay tuned!  And even better – join me!

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